10 things to do in Northern Ireland
Here are ten exciting things to do 18-24 December
1. Creative Christmas Ceramics, Millise, County Down, 17-22 December. Come along to Eden Pottery and unleash your creative side! Use hand cut festive sponge shapes to create your own singular design on some handmade pottery. This is the perfect long lasting Christmas gift for a loved one! Sessions last around 90 minutes so there isplenty of time to create something truly unique and enjoy some tasty treats in the onsite café.
2. Brownlow House and Lurgan Park, Lurgan, County Armagh. This large urban parkland is steeped in history dating back to the late 1700’s and was the former Demesne of Brownlow House. The scenery is magnificent, spanning over 250 acres, including landscaped walkways, a super play park, a lake, and a cast iron Jubilee fountain. Stroll through the stunning historic oak lined avenue and take inthe sheer scale of the trees which are both awe inspiring and beautiful.
3. Main Street Christmas Market, Omagh, County Tyrone, 17-22 December. Step into this enchanting space in the town centre and get enveloped in the magic of the season! There’s Santa’s Grotto, a must for little people, live music and a fantastic selection of market stalls offering unique gifts. Savour the sounds and smells of Christmas and try some of the delicious food and drinks on offer.
4. Belfast Zoo, Belfast, County Antrim. Want to see how the animals are bedding in for Christmas? Explore these 55 acres, with lovely views across the city and see the elephants Dhunja and Yhetto. Say hello one of the zoo's oldest residents, and the UK's oldest gorilla Deliah, who turned 60 earlier this year! Belfast Zoo has been her home for over thirty years. She is one of many great characters among the animal residents. This is a memorable festive day out for all the family. Last admission is 2.30pm
5. Coalisland Canal Walk, Coalisland, County Tyrone.This is an important industrial heritage site as well as being a beautiful place to stroll and enjoy the area’s diverse fauna, even in Winter! The Canal was opened in 1789 to bring coal from Coalisland to Dublin via the River Blackwater, Lough Neagh, and the Newry Canal. Explore a lovely route beginning at the Cornmill in Coalisland town centre, taking you to Derrytresk, where the canal joins the River Blackwater(6.5km).
6. Linen Hall Library, Belfast, County Antrim. If you have walked past this wonderful building right in the heart of the city, maybe it’s time to take a look inside! Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast renowned for its Irish History collection with the definitive archive of the recent troubles. It also has a unique collection of books by and about CS Lewis. Even if you have no wish to browse the books, there is a restful café offering a great selection of soups, stews, and sweet treats.
7. Coloured Thoughts by Mavis Thomson SRUA, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, throughout December. This exhibition at Enniskillen Castle celebrates the found and discarded. Omagh native, Mavis Thomson’s vibrant works of art are complemented by an accompanying verse by the artist, explaining the stories and inspirations associated with the work. Powerful and moving as well as sometimes playful and humorous, the art on display is both thought provoking and uplifting.
8. Santa's Little House Cake, Bellaghy, CountyLondonderry, 19 December. Join Bronagh in the Bakehouse in this fun class for the over 10’s. Work on your own 6” cake and learn a range of skills that will last a lifetime! From working with fondant icing, how to make buttercream, to crumb coating the cake and basic sugar work, Bronagh will teach you everything you need to knowabout cake decorating. Light refreshments will be served.
9. Christmas Baking at Tracey's Farmhouse Kitchen, Killinchy, County Down, 22 December. Join Tracey in her farmhouse kitchen for a festive cookery session! You'll enjoy a feast of seasonal delights – savoury and sweet. You can try everything from crumble and cake, to savouring your very own homemade Christmas breads includingGuinness Wheaten or a choice of Bannock. Make sure to bring your appetite and festive cheer!
10. Ness Country Park, Killaloo, County Londonderry. Enjoy the beauty of open parkland and the mixed woodland which extends along both sides of the Burntollet River. There are over 7km of stunning woodland and riverside paths to explore, including a magnificent waterfall walk in Ness Woods. This can lay claim to be the highest waterfall in Northern Ireland, so well worth a look! The river has created wonderful, gorges, portholes and rapids which are a lovely feature of these woods.
For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/