10 Things to do in Northern Ireland: 20-26th February

If you love getting out and about as much as I do, here is Tourism Northern Ireland’s pick of the Top 10 things to do next week! (w/c 20th February)

  • Celtic Mindfulness, Navan Centre & Fort, Co. Armagh, February 25 – 26. Celtic Mindfulness is a unique healing experience of the land and energy. Music, myth and mediation will be used to awaken your Celtic Soul, creating focus positivity and stillness for the mind. Featuring workshops from Sandra Nelson and Kate Fitzpatrick.

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  • Mid Term Fun, Titanic Belfast, Belfast, until February 21. Challenge the kids with the Explorer Trail throughout the Titanic Experience, meet the Titanic Mascots and try out the new family interactive guide, before stopping off for a bite to eat with the ‘Kids Eat Free’ meal deals this mid-term holiday.

mid-term-fun

  • Ards and North Down – A Postcard View of the Past, Newtownards / Ards Visitor Centre, Co. Down, until February 25. Do you remember the age of steam trains, pony rides on the beach, Bangor seafront activities, the Ballywalter lightship, or the Whale’s Jawbone Arch near Portaferry? Step back into the past via the medium of old picture postcards and see the towns and villages of Ards and North Down going back over the 20th century to days when the pace of life was much more sedate.

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  • Winter Wooly Walk, Saint Columb’s Park, Derry~Londonderry, February 25. It’s time to kick off those winter blues. Rally your kids, friends and family, and join the big Winter Woolly Walk in St Columb’s Park, Derry~Londonderry. Starting at 10:30, the 3 mile walk starts at St Columb’s Park House and takes in the beautiful surroundings of Ebrington Square and the iconic Peace bridge. Afterwards there will be plenty of warming refreshments and family fun.

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  • Glasgow Girls, MAC, Belfast, February 21 – 25. Glasgow Girls is a potent political drama, with uplifting songs, music, dance and humour to tell the tale of the most powerful asylum campaigns in recent history. A show with universal appeal – a massive hit at Edinburgh Fringe 2016, selling more tickets than any other theatre show in the festival.

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  • Ulster Orchestra, Ardhowen Theatre, Co. Fermanagh, February 25. Join the Ulster Orchestra and its sensational young Music Director, Rafael Payare, in a concert that celebrates its fifty years as Northern Ireland’s world-class symphony orchestra and that will evoke, ‘the awakening of happy feelings on arriving in the countryside.’

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  • Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, Riverside Theatre, Coleraine, Derry~Londonderry, February 22. Dyad Productions presents ‘Jane Eyre’, Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, dramatized on stage and starring Rebecca Vaughan. Struggling to live, think and love beyond the stifling expectations of duty, class and convention, governess Jane Eyre and Master Edward Rochester take a dark journey towards sensual and intellectual liberation.

jane-eyre

  • William McKinley by Alex Blair, Ballymoney Town Hall, Co. Antrim, February 22. William McKinley was one of many Scotch-Irish presidents with Ulster links. His links lay in Conagher and the talk will untangle the family lineage which links Conagher to The White House. He will tell of the 25th President’s progress to the highest office in the U.S.A. and how his presidency ended tragically in assassination.

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  • Let the Dance Begin, Alley Cat Theatre, Co. Tyrone, February 23. Inspired by The Pushkin Trust’s theme of Floodtide in the Heart – Seamus Heaney, Let the Dance Begin aims to bring many different people together through Creative Arts within the community of Strabane through a display of dance, drumming poetry and more.

the-alley

  • A Taste of Flavour SenseNation, Black Box, Belfast, February 25. This exciting interactive event will take your taste buds on a roller-coaster ride through the senses. It will challenge your sensory skills, your taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing, to see how they react with each other when different sounds, smells and textures are thrown into the mix. This is no ordinary experience; you will sample the ‘fifth taste’, test your smelling memory skills, trick your taste buds and sample some very weird foods.

flavour-sensenation

 

 

The day i became Mrs Sarah McCurdy

So I have been married for 3 whole weeks today! On 25 July I tied the knot with Barry and became Mrs Sarah McCurdy!

Everything was perfect, from the gorgeous weather and beautiful food to the amazing band and a handsome new husband! haha!

Big thanks to La Mon hotel for the reception, Blackstaff for the music, Divinity Bridal for the beautiful bride and bridesmaid dresses and Chris Huston for the photography!

My Week in Pictures- Going green, Ambition, jogging and Usher, Usher!

As you’ll see from my previous post, we spent the evening of St Patrick’s Day at the Grand Opera House for the Father Ted& Co show. Once the show was finished, we headed to the Dirty Onion bar for a quick drink to round up the evening. Walking to the bar, we stopped to look at the City Hall as it had been light up green to mark the occasion. It looked great!

On Wednesday it was back to work where I spent most of my day planning one of our client events at St Georges Market. Once a year, the Northern Ireland Science Park, through its Generation Innovation programme, host a ‘Night of Ambition’. It’s for young people aged 16/17 to get them excited about a career in tech/STEM etc. It was a big surprise but we had none other than will.i.am record a special message for the night! It was great to see everyone’s faces when he came on the screen!

Last week I completed my first Parkrun after doing the Couch to 5K programme around the Waterworks in Belfast. I was happy with the 37.41 time, as I’m never going to be the fastest runner! At the end of the blog, I said I was hoping to shave a few seconds off and get a Personal Best…well, the times are in and I got 36.40 minutes! A whole 1 minute and 1 second off! It helped that it was such a beautiful morning yesterday; the sun was splitting the trees!

Finally on Saturday night, myself and my sister Deborah went to the Odyssey Arena to see Usher. I’ve been a big fan since he first released ‘U make we wanna’ way back in 1997 when I was the grand old age of 13! It was great that he played all the old classics, rather than album tracks that a lot of people wouldn’t be familiar with! Nico and Vinz were the support act, with a massive cheer for them when they played’ Am I wrong?’ After booking our honeymoon and picking our wedding rings that  afternoon, it was a great way to round up a brill day for me!

Father Ted & Co The Dinner show

Barry is a massive fan of Father Ted so for Christmas, his sister Clara bought us tickets to see a Father Ted & Co show at the Grand Opera House. I’d never been to a dinner at the Opera House so I wasn’t sure how it would work, particularly because of the interactive nature of the show.

So, off we went on St Patricks Day to experience the parody dining experience! When we arrived we were treated to a wine reception in the bar before we heard lots of shouting and commotion. I turned round to see none other than “Father Ted” and “Mrs Doyle” walking around the crowd, joking, taking the mickey out of people and of course, offering cups of tea! From that moment on, I knew this would be no ordinary show!

It was then time to be called into the auditorium, where we spotted the body of “Father Jack” lying in the middle of the room. Suddenly I was chosen as one of the ladies who were made to sit beside and ‘mind’ the body! I had no idea what was going on, but for about ten minutes five of us sat in mourning, and were scolded by Mrs Doyle if we let out a giggle! I think this really set the theme for the night!

So it was back to my seat for dinner- a three course meal was on the cards. For starters we had home-made butternut squash soup, for mains we got chicken wrapped in bacon served on a bed of mash with green beans, and for dessert we were treated to white chocolate cheesecake. The meal was lovely, particularly the cheesecake, but I think you were constantly aware that you could have been pulled away from your dinner at any time (and really, for any reason!)

In between courses, there were things like a singing competition, Irish dancing and a raffle, as well as the performers interacting with each table. At one point I turned round and Barry was being lifted up on the air by Father Dougal! Why? I honestly have no idea!

It was funny, it was wild and it was a bit mad! I think if you let yourself go with the flow, you came away entertained and baffled in equal measures!

The body of Father Jack

Father Ted

Father Dougal and Mrs Doyle

Father Jack and Barry

Barry and Father Dougal

Eoin and the priests!

 

T’was the week before Christmas!

It’s just a few days before Christmas so I think it might be time to write some Christmas cards and buy some wrapping paper! Still have time, right?!

I do have an excuse for being slow though- going out too much!

As a quick roundup of the past week, on Thursday night I went to see The Coronas concert at Mandela Hall. The Dublin line-up are one of my favourite bands, having seen them a mere SEVEN times in concert now! (Five in Belfast, one in Dublin and one in Sydney.) I went with my friend Emma Fitzpatrick from Cool FM who had just interviewed them that day, so we were able to go backstage after to say hello! Great gig as always!

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The Coronas at Mandela Hall

On Friday lunchtime the PR team in work headed out for Christmas lunch to Il Pirata Italian restaurant on the Upper Newtownards Road. It’s the same guys who own Coppi and Barking Dog (amongst others) so I knew it would be nice! For lunch I had Pork Fillet, Gnocchi, Roast Chestnut and Sage Butter, while others in my party had either the Prawn Gigli, the Tagliatelle Carbonara or the Spiced Pork and Fennel Sausage Ragu. I really love Gnocchi so it didn’t disappoint! A lovely way to spend our last day as a full PR team before Christmas!

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 Il Pirata Christmas Lunch

As if the lunch wasn’t enough to delight the tastebuds, our office staff do was that night in Ramada Encore in Belfast. We’d booked into one of the party nights, which was a three course meal, live band during the dinner and a DJ for the after-party. There was 12 in our group, but the room had about 100 people from other companies. For starter I chose the Creamy Mushroom Bruschetta, Pesto and Parmesan. For mains I had my first Christmas dinner of the season- Northern Irish Turkey & Honey Glazed Ham, Traditional Sage & Onion Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets and Homemade Turkey Gravy. Finally for dessert I had the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake, but could only manage a few bits at this point! The live band was a lovely accompaniment to the meal, while the DJ got everyone up dancing with the old Christmas hits!

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Ramada Encore, Sasha and I at Christmas Dinner

Finally on Sunday, we headed to Belfast Zoo  for one of their “Magical Christmas” Days. Visitors were treated to activities such as wrapping presents for the animals and decorating the elephants’ Christmas trees!  Barry’s nieces are 6 and 1-years-old so they really enjoyed taking part, and of course, meeting Santa!

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/fbf/63540852/files/2014/12/img_4917-0.jpgChristmas at Belfast Zoo

I think now is a good time to relax in the evenings and do some wrapping! Merry Christmas everyone!

 

August- the month for concerts!

These past few weeks have been extremely busy so I haven’t got on here as much as I would have liked! The highlights for me were the same as every August- CONCERTS! The month when Belfast is treated to Belsonic and Tennent’s Vital! I got along to both this year and spent four evenings at concerts in just over one week! And what a week it was!

On Friday evening I headed to the Example gig at Belsonic, followed by Chic & Nile Rodgers on Tuesday! I really love Belsonic as it’s such an intimate venue with a great vibe! The Chic concert was incredible- everyone was dancing and the crowd really got going to the old classics!! It definitely was my favourite concert of the four!

On Thursday then we headed over to Boucher Road to see Bastille and The Killers, followed lastly by David Guetta on Sunday! I think, if I’m honest, the David Guetta gig was a little ‘young’ for me! Really felt A LOT older than most people there! Didn’t get a chance to check out any of the other gigs (I think four was enough!) but heard great reports! What a week for music lovers!

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Example at Belsonic

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Chic and Nile Rodgers at Belsonic

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The Killers at Tennent’s Vital