Model Railway Day Rides Into Town

On Saturday 10thNovember, Friends of Cultra hosted a day for families and rail enthusiasts of all ages to view over forty exclusive layouts, models and associated displays.  Visitors saw familiar faces and places such as Thomas The Tank Engine and Northern Ireland rail layouts all located in the unique setting of the full-scale locomotives and carriages in the Transport Museum’s Rail Gallery.

Mark Kennedy, Senior Curator of History at National Museums NI said, “National Museums NI is delighted to be working with Friends of Cultra to develop this ever-popular one day event that will excite the young and young at heart.”

Key highlights for younger visitors at this year’s event included a replica model of the Thomas the Tank Engine branch line, ‘Ffarquhar’, from the famous stories of Thomas and his Friends.

Other model train designs and layouts featured included the memorable cartoon characters Road Runner, and Postman Pat’s ‘Greendale Rocket.’ There was also a chance for kids to ride on a miniature train.

Model lovers had the chance to see a one of a kind model of Lisburn Train Station built entirely from Lego, complete with models of NI Railways trains.  For fans of vintage railways, there were layouts based on Irish prototypes, including Castlederg, which closed 85 years ago in 1933, and Stanfording which features O gauge models of Irish trains.


Ballygowan Girl Becomes Youngest Ever Adult World Champion Drum Major

A Civic Reception hosted by Councillor Richard Smart, the Mayor of Ards and North Down Council, was held in Bangor Castle in honour of local girl Emma Barr. The nineteen year old from Ballygowan has been announced as the youngest ever Adult Champion Drum Major.

She started her drum major skills at just four years old under the tuition of the 2011 Adult World Champion Drum Major, Alicia Dickson. From eight years of age until the present day, Emma has been trained by three-times Adult World Champion Drum Major Brian Wilson MBE.

Some of Emma’s previous achievements include being a two-time World Champion Drum Major, and winning the Junior World Champion title in 2010 when she was a member of Ravara Pipe Band (the year the band were crowned Grade 2 World Champions). She won the Adult World Champion title in 2018 when she was a member of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band (the year the band were crowned Grade 1 World Champions for the twelfth time).

Speaking of the civic reception event to recognise her successes, Emma said, “I feel honoured to have been given this civic reception by the Mayor of Ards and North Down Council”.

Carryduff Colts FC Scores Big with Charles Hurst

Charles Hurst Car Retailer have announced their second season of sponsorship with Carryduff Colts Football Club’s 09 Boys Squad.

The company will be working in partnership with the club for their 2018/19 season and will be providing vital funding for the football team, helping to buy kits and support tournament participation such as the Foyle Cup which takes place in July each year.

Carryduff Colts originated in 2003 as a single cross community football team and is now one of the fastest growing clubs in South Belfast. The club has more underage teams than any other club in the South Belfast league.

Some of the members of Carryduff Colts FC 09 Squad for the 2018/2019 Season.
Now into its second season of support, the Charles Hurst partnership will provide vital funding for the football team.

Andrew Gilmore, Aftersales Director of Charles Hurst Belfast, said;

“We are delighted to provide sponsorship to Colts Football Club again this season. We hope that by maintaining this level of support, we can play our part in developing the future players of football in Northern Ireland.

“Charles Hurst are dedicated to supporting grassroots sport within local communities, whether at a regional or national level. The provision of education and training in sport and fitness is vital to the health and wellbeing of future generations and we are very proud to be supporting Carryduff.”

Stephen Harte from Colts Football Club said of the sponsorship:

“The Charles Hurst partnership is crucial for the club. Thanks to their support we are in a position to provide first-class facilities and equipment to coach all our teams across the board. We are extremely proud of all our players across the teams, abilities and age groups that come to use and enjoy our facilities.

“Charles Hurst’s generosity has helped to support the club and in turn the entire community. It’s not only a place for all ages to develop sporting skills but it’s a social hub also.”

Culture Night Belfast: It’s Turning 10!

The biggest evening in Belfast’s cultural calendar is set to celebrate its tenth birthday in super-psychedelic lovin’ style!

The programme for the 10th Culture Night Belfast boasts over 230 family friendly, free events which are set to take place on Friday 21st September across the spaces and places of the city centre and beyond.

Last year, over 100,000 people flocked to attend Culture Night Belfast and this year a similar figure is expected.

The theme of this year’s Culture Night  is “Love”, with the evening falling upon the UN International Day of Peace.

From Street Countdown and the Camper Van of Dreams to the Culture Night PWU Wrestling Championships, the city is set to come alive for an evening of exploration and adventure.

This year, Culture Night promises two world stages, a tap-dancing world record attempt, culture bites galore,  live music, children’s activities and so much more.

From The Big Fish to City Hall and Royal Avenue to St Anne’s Cathedral, those attending are told to expect “something new and surprising around every corner”.

This year also sees the launch of the first ever Culture Night Belfast App, with goodies, extras and a brand new Culture Night Belfast planner, to design your very own personalised Culture Night experience!

Culture Night Belfast takes place on Friday 21 September from 1-10pm. Full programme is available at

Claire Leonard, Kerry Rooney and Ruby O’Rourke.

Belfast Actor Ciarán Hinds Honoured At This Year’s Ulster Tatler Awards

ONE of Northern Ireland’s finest and most successful actors Ciarán Hinds has been awarded with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement accolade at the Ulster Tatler Awards in association with Optilase Eye Clinic, which took place on Thursday in Belfast’s iconic City Hall.

The Game Of Thrones star flew into town to pick up the award which in the past has been won by a host of local legends including Dame Mary Peters, James Galway, Brian Friel, Phil Coulter, Gloria Hunniford, Michael Longley, Gerry Armstrong, Barry McGuigan, Terri Hooley and Marie Jones.

Ciarán Hinds won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ulster Tatler Awards at Belfast City Hall. The Belfast-born actor was honoured for his impressive Hollywood and Theatrical career which is recognised all across the world. Northern Ireland’s longest-running glossy magazine, Ulster Tatler, is celebrating over 50 years on the shelves of NI, and its eleventh annual awards recognise the people and businesses of Northern Ireland that have lit up its pages since 1966.

Hinds is no stranger to being recognised for his talents in drama, having picked up The Theatre World New York Award for best debut in Closer in 1999, as well as picking up Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009.  In 2014 he also returned to Queens University to pick up an honorary degree for his services to film and drama.

With a career that extends over three decades, his film appearances have included some of the most prevalent films of our time, including Harry Potter, Frozen, Justice League, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, There Will Be Blood, Road to Perdition,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Sum of all Fears, In Bruges, to name but a few.

He has just finished playing the part of charismatic school master Hugh, in the National Theatre’s revival of Translations, which was written by 2009 Ulster Tatler Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, the late Brian Friel.

Ulster Tater editor Chris Sherry said that Hinds was an extremely worthy winner of the evening’s pivotal award. “I have huge admiration for Ciarán as a Belfast-bred Hollywood success,” said Chris.  “He is one of the most respected stage and screen actors in the business, and the list of films that he has starred in, along with the actors and directors that he has worked with, reflects a truly extraordinary career.

“Importantly, Ciarán is also a marvellous ambassador for Northern Ireland and someone who, in every way, represents the essence of what our Lifetime Achievement Award is all about,” he added.

Other big winners on the night included World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea, who was named Sportsperson of the Year in a hotly-contested category that also included boxing champion Carl Frampton, gymnast Rhys McClenaghan and Ulster and Ireland rugby aces Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale.

Ulster, Ireland and British Lions legend Tommy Bowe was awarded The Bank of Ireland Special Merit Award on the night for his services to rugby for both Ulster and Ireland.

Jonathan Rea, Sportsperson of the Year, Celebrity of the year Pamela Ballantine and Special Merit Award winner Tommy Bowe pictured at the Ulster Tatler Awards.

The Celebrity of the Year award was won by much-loved local star Pamela Ballantine who was also the glamourous host on the night.

“This year’s awards were particularly difficult to judge as the standard of local talent in Northern Ireland seems to get higher every year and every single category was bursting with worthy nominees,” said Ulster Tatler editor Chris Sherry.

“I want to extend huge congratulations to the winners from each category and all those shortlisted, who should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved within their businesses throughout the last year.  I also want to personally thank everyone for their support.”

Winners in other categories included Radiance Beauty and Day Spa which lifted Beauty Salon / Spa of the Year and Titanic Hotel which received the award for Hotel of the Year; Lily Rose Boutique which was presented with Fashion Boutique of the Year; Donna Monteith of Monteith Interiors who was named Interior Designer of the YearKillinchy House took the award for House of the Year, Weir Travel was awarded with Independent Travel Agent of the Year; Shauna McAuley Hair which was named Hairdressing Salon of the Year; The Ivory was awarded Restaurant of the Year; who took the award for Website of the Year; The House Bar which snapped up the title of Pub of the Year, Conor Cole of Cole Groundwork who earned himself Business Man of the Year and Roisin McFeely of Amazing Brains who was named Business Woman of the Year.

Look out for our special Ulster Tatler Awards 48 page supplement in our October issue!



Johnson’s Coffee Powers up Action Cancer

Lisburn based coffee shop, Johnsons Coffee have announced a year long partnership with Action Cancer.

In conjunction with Action Cancer, the coffee shop will be raising awareness and funds for the charity’s range of cancer prevention, early detection and support services.

Johnsons Coffee have already donated a state of the art Jura Coffee Machine to Action Cancer’s new premises on Windsor Avenue in Belfast.

Philip Mills, Group Sales Director at Johnsons Coffee said, “We are delighted to be once again supporting Action Cancer. As a family run, local company, we are proud to be associated with Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity and supporting them to save lives and support people affected by cancer in the community.”

Lucy McCusker, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Action Cancer said, “This is our fourth year in partnership with Johnsons Coffee. To date the company has helped us to raise a phenomenal £210,000 through our Paint The Town Pink Campaign for our life saving services. Thank you to Johnsons for your continued support, we value everything that you do for Action Cancer.”

Throughout the year, Johnsons Coffee will be supporting Action Cancer through a variety of fundraising initiatives including; Paint The Town Pink and the Cappuccino Club. These specific campaigns raise funds and awareness for the charity’s unique breast screening service for women aged 40-49 and 70+ (outside of the NHS screening age range).

Every year Action Cancer screens 10,000 women for breast cancer. For every 1,000 screenings, 5 or 6 women have their cancer detected by Action Cancer when it may have gone unnoticed, with peace of mind being provided to the majority of women. Ladies who fall into this age category can book a free mammogram at or call 028 9080 3344.


Armagh’s iconic 7 Hills Blues Fest returns for an eighth summer, bringing world-class talent to more than 20 venues and locations across the celebrated Cathedral City. Firmly established as one of the great blues and roots music events in the UK and Ireland, this year’s line-up promises another unmissable weekend of music and entertainment for all ages.

From the 9th– 10thAugust the Market Arts Theatre will play host to two of Ireland’s most prolific blues/ soul musicians, Don Baker and Rob Strong. The legendary Rob Strong and the ‘Winner in You’ singer, Don Baker have collaborated to record a brand new album, kicking off their 2018 tour with three sold out performances in Dublin.

Tickets for the performance are priced £15 each.

The festival will also feature a free performance from The Pat McManus Band, a powerful three-piece blues rock trio, headed up by the former ‘Mama’s Boys’ and ‘Celtus’ guitarist and violinist virtuoso Pat McManus.

So get out and about and let’s get some blistering summer blues: best served chilled!

These events can be booked online at through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821.

And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


Life’s a beach at St. George’s Market

Summertime is here and St George’s Market is entering into the spirit with its beach themed twilight market at the end of this month.

A little sand, shade, good food, something to drink and party tunes will all be on offer at the family friendly event beginning on Tuesday, 31st July.

More than 100 unique traders will be operating and there will be the opportunity to experience food demonstrations, cocktail master classes and sample local cuisine from some of Belfast’s top chefs.

Councillor Aileen Graham, Deputy Chair of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “The earlier part of the day is family friendly events and entertainment, with the latter part of the evening being aimed at over 18s.”

“It’s a chance to see, taste and listen in a very relaxed atmosphere. The beach theme is because it is summer and who doesn’t love to enjoy the sights and sounds of summer?” added the councillor.

The event is running Tuesday 31stJuly and Wednesday 1stAugust from 4pm-11pm each day.

Entry to the event is free and more information is available at:


The Big Listen

Having noticed the rise in people sleeping rough in the surrounding area who are in need of support,  St Anne’s Cathedral have decided to  donate any money they receive on Tuesday 24th July to the Samaritans. For many of the people sleeping on the streets of Belfast the need for mental health support is a crucial as ever. However with the current lack of government and funding for mental health this has become a bigger problem.

The 24th July marks the Samaritans UK-wide Big Listen event. The Cathedral normally has a £5pp admission fee which they will be happy to donate to the charity for the day and encourages anyone who just wants to pop in and donate any amount big or small, all money received will be donated to the Samaritans at the end of the day.

St. Anne’s Cathedral is encouraging as many people and local businesses as possible to get involved and spread the word for this very important cause. Even just by popping in to make a donation, bringing buns, not bringing buns but eating buns or pointing people in their direction it will help make a difference.

Staff and volunteers have started attaching ‘Messages of Hope’ along the railings of the Cathedral, similar to those that run along the Foyle Bridge and are asking people to drop in their messages or attach them to the railings as a show of support. Some of the Samaritan volunteer Belfast team will be in the Cathedral on Tuesday 24th July if anyone needs to talk to someone. Every little will help!

Find more information on there Facebook page:


Big Surprise’ for Northern Ireland National Lottery Funded Hero

Antrim’s Jason Kennedy of Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club honoured by The National Lottery on UTV primetime TV.

 The National Lottery’s ‘Big Surprise’ – which honours individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding – will next weekend (14 July) make a dream come true for County Antrim man Jason Kennedy, Head Coach and Chairman of the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club.

The ‘Big Surprise’ is a 90-second weekly slot during the ad break of Saturday night primetime UTV/ITV shows – meaning local hero, Jason, is set to get national recognition with around 5 million people expected to tune in across the ITV network. The Knights were founded in 1990 to help give disabled people the opportunity to get involved in team sport. Jason originally came to coach a single session but 18 years later he’s still volunteering at the club and his list of responsibilities has grown to include Head Coach, Club Chairman, fundraising organiser and ever-reliable taxi driver.

The club now has over 50 players from across Northern Ireland taking part with ages ranging from as young as seven right up to players in their forties. Head Coach Jason and The Knights travel across the UK and further afield to compete in various wheelchair basketball leagues, with a recent success story being local star, James McSorley, who last year won an under-23 world championship with the GB Wheelchair Basketball Team.

For Jason’s ‘Big Surprise’, The National Lottery arranged for him to meet his favourite team, The Harlem Globetrotters, at a recent game at the Bournemouth International Centre. Jason enjoyed a special meet and greet with the team who presented him with a signed ball and even asked him to do the honorary ‘tip off’ at the beginning of the game. The National Lottery filmed the heart-warming results which will air at 7.58pm during the ad break on UTV and is the third of 17 short films which will be shown throughout the year, during ITV’s primetime Saturday night TV schedule, that will celebrate and showcase National Lottery funded heroes across the UK.The all-important Saturday night Lotto results will also continue to be delivered during the weekly slot.

The Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club was awarded over £29,000 of National Lottery funding to help them provide opportunities for disabled people to get involved in team sport and continue to promote a healthy lifestyle for disabled people and encourage more social inclusion. The Knights have around 20 volunteers who give up their own time to support the club and help out at weekly training sessions at their two main training venues at Antrim Forum Sports Centre in Antrim and The Hammer Youth Centre in Belfast.

For more information on Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club please visit:

Chris Henry Testimonial

Chris Henry has been awarded a testimonial season for his service to Ulster and Irish rugby. The launch recently took place at Titanic Hotel with guests including rugby players, fans and local business owners and celebrities. See the August Ulster Tatler for full coverage.

Harvey Norman raises over £5,000 for Shelter NI

Harvey Norman teamed up with Shelter NI to raise awareness of the homeless crisis in Northern Ireland, helping those who are suffering from homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. Harvey Norman staff across stores, warehouses and offices in Northern Ireland fundraised and together with their customers, they’ve raised over £5,000 for Shelter NI in a one month period. Shelter NI reported that there were almost 12,000 households officially declared homeless during 2017 and currently estimates that around 5000 men, women and children in Northern Ireland are living in emergency accommodation right now. Shelter NI was founded in 1980 and is a charity whose mission is to promote and facilitate the provision of sufficient, decent and affordable homes to end long term homelessness and eliminate poor housing.

Director of Shelter NI, Tony McQuillan, said “With record numbers of people affected by homelessness or at risk of homelessness, there needs to be a significant review of the housing strategy here and an increase in public investment in new housing supply, if we are to eliminate long term homelessness.

Harvey Norman Ireland & Northern Ireland CEO, Blaine Callard said “We’ve been searching for ways to give more back to the communities we are in. Harvey Norman has been making homes in Northern Ireland for 15 years – it’s what we do best. Our teams are so excited to be able to give back in this way”.