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Otter Mayhem From 28 May To 29 May in Portaferry

Otter Over There !!

Portaferry, To celebrate World Otter day, Spring Bank Holiday and Ards and North Down Puppet festival we our combining the three events into one big Otter Mayhem 2-day Event, taking place on Sunday 28th and Monday 29th May.

The fun begins at the Front of House where you’ll be given your welcome pack full of all the fishy goings on what’s happening that day, it will also include a Quiz like no “Otter” so pens and pencils at the ready.

As you begin your journey you’ll swim through our Viking Shores to the Tropical Beaches, flowing into our pirate’s cave for an underwater viewing experience on your exciting aquatic learning experience where you will meet our fin-tastic Exploris entertainer who will be roaming around the Aquarium.
On Sunday 29th Little Gem Puppets Production of the Three Little Pigs will be showing at 12pm and 2pm. An interactive, fun show that engages all audiences – You otter not miss it!!

Travel through to the outdoor seal sanctuary, where you’ll learn about our successful seal rehabilitation program.

(*Please note all seal have been successfully be released at this time- keep an eye on our social media pages for updates on rescues.)

Float on down to meet our stars of the event; our Small-Clawed Asian otter family where you’ll learn lots of interesting Otter facts (Otter quiz tip) Check-in to our social Media accounts for a 360 view and live stream of inside our otter holt. Otter feeding times are not to be missed! Drifting upstairs to get up close and personal with our reptilian friends. Our constrictor pals will be out on display during set times throughout the day. Get as close as you can get without getting wet with our native animals during our open pool demonstration throughout the day.

Throughout the day get messy in our Crabby Crafts Club with themed Otter puppet arts and crafts and make the day memorable with our mer-mazing face painter.

Fish-ally relax after a fun filled day and enjoy the amazing food and beverages in the Craken Café.

It will be an event like no Otter!

Exploris, Northern Ireland’s only Aquarium and seal sanctuary re-opened in August 2016 and to date we have welcomed an amazing 100,000+ visitors from home and abroad but we are continuing to develop and enhance our visitor experience with the opening of our new soft play area to an extensive Craken Café menu, for breakfast, lunch, coffees and treats with lots of goodies for the kids to eat!

Performance Times – 10:00 – 18:00

#LoveExplorisNI #worldotterday

Biggerféis Ardglass 26 – 29 May 2017

View of Ardglass

Ardglass, Downpatrick, Friday 26th:

The festival opens with a speech and piper at Jordan’s Castle at 7pm. This will recreate the opening of the castle in 1911. Followed by a guest talk on Francis Joseph Bigger and his revolutionary friends and connections to the Howth Gun Runners at Ardglass Golf Club at 7:30pm (cost £2). The evening rounds off with traditional musical entertainment in The Old Commercial Bar.

Saturday 27th:

On Saturday morning at 11am, a clifftop folklore walk leaves Curran’s Bar and will travel through a landscape loved by Bigger. This includes a lunch of local specialities (Tickets are £20). In the afternoon, a free talk will take place on the history of Ardglass with a local historian at 4pm. At Ardglass Golf Club in the evening a guest talk will be given by Roger Dixon from National Museums NI at 7:30pm. The topic will be the contribution of Francis Joseph Bigger to the heritage of Ulster, including many sites on the Saint Patrick’s Trail (cost £2). Evening entertainment will follow at Curran’s Bar from 10pm.

Sunday 28th:

On Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm tours of Ardglass will be available with the Harbourmaster and historian. Leaving from the Saint Nicholas’ Church in Kildare Stree, this includes many who called Ardglass home (cost £10). This is followed at 4pm by a bi-lingual talk in Jordan’s Castle given by BBC reporter Kevin Magee.

Monday 29th:

Monday will see Jordan’s Castle open to the public from 1:30. The final event is a luxurious coach tour which will leave from Ardglass at 3pm and explore the sites restored by Bigger. The sites included are Saint Patrick’s Grave, Down County Museum, Raholp Church, Chapeltown, and Ardtole Church. This returns to Ardglass for a meal of local delicacies at 6pm in Doyle’s Bistro (Tickets cost £20). Book at: https://

Contact Details: Ardglass Development Association
Duane Fitzsimons

Tel: 0783544193

Visit Strangford

Activities such as kayaking, fishing and sailing are popular on the Lough, and for the more adventurous the sea safari or canoe trails are a real treat. Activities on land include walking and cycle trails, golf, bird watching and horse riding.

There are also many fascinating attractions to be explored and enjoyed. Spend an afternoon at one of the two National Trust properties in the area, Mount Stewart House and Gardens or Castle Ward, which has mountain bike trails in its grounds. Stately homes and stunning gardens are prominent in the area, largely due to the sub-tropical micro-climate around the Strangford Lough area.

Delamont Country Park offers waymarked walks, a miniature railway and the Millennium or Strangford Stone – the largest megalith in Ireland and Britain – while the large collection of native and exotic water birds and wildlife at the tranquil Castle Espie Wetland Centre offers an amazing outdoor learning experience.

Inch Abbey (Game of Thrones fame)

is steeped in Christian heritage sites, the area forms part of the Saint Patrick’s driving trail – indeed the area to the south east of the Lough around Downpatrick is commonly known as Saint Patrick’s Country due to is close links with the saint and is known the world over as the burial place of Saint Patrick.

With over 150 attractions of all kinds in the area, Strangford Lough is just waiting to be explored.

Why not discover Strangford along with a weekend or a mid-week break at Number 42 Strangford visit for availability and rates.

Winter at Winterfell

Winterfell has Dark Hedges too!
Winterfell has Dark Hedges too!

Castle Ward, County Down, and its lands were home to House Stark before the Boltons’ seige. Here, you’ll find the crenelated 16th century ruin that doubled as Winterfell and its courtyard. Not far away is Audley’s Field on the shore of Strangford Lough. This is exactly where Jaime was captured – and released.

Enjoying the Winterfell sunshine are visitors from Austria on a Game Of Thrones location tour – nice outfit guys!!

Visitors from Austria at Winterfell (AKA Castleward Strangford)
Visitors from Austria at Winterfell (AKA Castleward Strangford)

Happy Halloween from Number 42 Self Catering at Strangford

There’s something strange happening at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway this Halloween. There’s ghosts on the platforms and ghouls on the train, it can only be the return of the Phantom Flyer for the railway’s Halloween Ghost Trains!
There’s something strange happening at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway this Halloween. There’s ghosts on the platforms and ghouls on the train, it can only be the return of the Phantom Flyer for the railway’s Halloween Ghost Trains!

Bake off........check out Claire's hand work!1
Bake off……..check out Claire’s hand work!1

National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship

The National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship Octet is made up of outstanding choral singers between the ages of 22 and 25. Each year, eight singers selected at audition learn advanced performance, teaching and mentoring skills through a series of performances, tours, recording sessions, workshops, masterclasses and residencies. As part of an autumn tour of Northern Ireland, including the Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, the ensemble perform a superb varied programme of music from the 16th century to brand new music, including selections by Irish composers. Don’t miss your chance to hear the next generation of professional choristers, directors and conductors.
Opening times

20:00 (bar available from 19:00)

£12 / £10 concession

Peninsula Food Showcase – Loaves and Fishes

The Ards Peninsula takes centre stage as part of the NI Year of Food and Drink this summer and autumn, when the Peninsula Food Showcase rolls into five towns and villages. Come along for:

-Chef demonstrations
-Artisan food producers
-Food-themed family fun!

Ballywalter Park, the ancestral home of Lord and Lady Dunleath, is the venue for the Loaves and Fishes, a programme of masterclasses in local seafood cuisine and traditional breadmaking delivered by chefs of international repute. Part of the Seafood Week 2016, this unique event is aimed at catering professionals and the public.
Opening times

12:00 – 17:00