Northern Ireland Musicians Showcased At Major Music Gathering In Canada

Two of Northern Ireland’s top emerging artists, Steve Scullion of Malojian and singer-songwriter, Brigid O’Neill recently took part in Folk Alliance International- the world’s largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. 

The five-day event took place in Montreal and offered musicians who are at critical stages of their careers the chance to promote their work through showcasing performances and networking with industry leaders. 

Vanessa Reed, CEO at PRS Foundation said, “We’re delighted to partner with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI in extending our vital career development and international showcasing opportunities to talented music creators in Northern Ireland. It’s fantastic news that the whole of the UK is now eligible to apply to this important fund which has a significant impact on music creators’ careers and continues to promote the strength of UK music worldwide.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added, ISF, is open to artists in Northern Ireland who wish to travel to and perform at music industry facing showcase events including, SXSW, WOMEX, Folk Alliance, Classical:NEXT, Eurosonic, JazzAhead, Reeperbahn Festival and Canadian Music Week.  ISF can support costs for international travel, accommodation and visas for those artists invited to perform at an industry event in a territory that will be beneficial to their career development. 

The International Showcase Fund is currently open for applications.  Visit for details.

Joanne Wright, Brigid O’Neill, Stevie Scullion and Lyndon Stephens.


Show-stopping line-up announced for Gradam Ceoil 2019

A world-class line-up of top trad talent has been announced for Gradam Ceoil TG4 2019. Known as ‘the Oscars of traditional music’, the live concert and awards show, which returns to Belfast for the second year, will take place at the Waterfront Hall on Sunday 17thFebruary,promising a night offoot-stomping entertainment right in the heart of Belfast.

Legendary traditional Irish band, Four Men & A Dog will headline the bill. All-Ireland céili band champions, The Thatch Céili Band, pivotal members of the Irish diaspora in London, will also perform on the night.

Past winners pictured: Conor Connolly, Anne McAuliffe, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Thomas McCarthy,  Catherine McEvoy, Nicky McAuliffe and Brendan Mulkere


A dedicated Gradam Fringe Festival will also set the tone for the evening, with a host of free music events and workshops taking place throughout Belfast in the days building up to the main event. Running between Friday 15thand Sunday 17thFebruary, this year’s Gradam Fringe Programme promises a packed line-up of free music events, workshops and talks taking place throughout the city. Full details of the Gradam Fringe programme can be found at

Tickets for TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards 2019are available from +44(0) 2890 334455

Ulster Museum says goodbye to Dippy the dinosaur

After its phenomenal success, National Museums NI has officially handed over the Dippy on Tour exhibition to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.

The 292-bone structure welcomed over 132,000visitors in just over three months and had the busiest day on record for an exhibition at the Museum.

Dippy will be dismantled and packed into 16 crates to be transported in a specially-prepared vehicle to travel to Scotland by road and ferry.

Glasgow is the fourth stop for Dippy, who is on an eight venue tour designed to spark the next generation of scientists and encourage families to explore nature on their doorstep.

The natural science exhibition at the Ulster Museum, which sat alongside Dippy, explored the uniqueness of our natural world and biodiversity in this part of the island of Ireland.

Chief Executive of National Museums NI, Kathryn Thomson, said: “National Museums NI has been so pleased to have been a part of a nationwide tour to display this iconic dinosaur. It has allowed us the opportunity to showcase some of our own amazing natural science collections to existing and new audiences to the Ulster Museum. The excitement of the children that have come to see Dippy has been brilliant to witness and the visitor figures have been astounding.

“It has also been very encouraging to learn how the exhibition has also inspired tens of thousands of visitors of all ages to explore,discover and find out how they can get involved and protect the nature on their doorstep.”

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventurewas brought about by the Natural History Museum London in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Dippy has enjoyed such an impactful stay at Ulster Museum and has inspired visitors to consider the wonders of our natural world. We hope this success continues as he ventures to Scotland where, like in Ireland and across the United Kingdom, we look to forge partnerships with inspiring charities.”

For further information on other exhibitions and events at the Ulster Museum visit For information on Dippy on Tourvisit

Rockport Ladies’ Lunch

The Annual Rockport Ladies’ Lunch was held at the Merchant Hotel on Friday 7th December. A lovely festive afternoon was spent with carols from the Rockport Junior Choir and prizes up for grabs. Proceeds raised were in aid of Wellbeing of Women.

For further coverage of this event see our January issue, now on sale.

Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir Getting Into The Festive Spirit

Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir got Lisburn into the festive spirit on Wednesday 5thof December as a part of the several events taking place during the month of December for the Lisburn Light Festival. The evening of Christmas Carols and great family entertainment is one of the several events including music and entertainment, fire jugglers and much more, all taking place in Market Square, Lisburn.

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.