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Laichtown: History in miniature outside Coleraine in episode two, April 26.
Laichtown: History in miniature outside Coleraine in episode two, April 26.

Hidden NI: Check out some of the places to be revealed in new series

A new series starting on UTV on Easter Tuesday uncovers some of Northern Ireland’s less well-known spaces and places.

By Valerie Martin
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 12:45 pm

‘Hidden NI’ is presented by UTV’s Sara O’Kane who travels across Northern Ireland - and sometimes a little bit further - celebrating our hidden gems, and finding out about places most people never knew existed as well as exploring places we don’t normally get to see. 

The six half-hour programmes have it all, kicking off with Sara heading 450 metres underground to the salt mines outside Carrickfergus.

She explorers the vast labyrinth, and the work that goes on deep under the surface to keep motorists safe on the roads.

From deep underground in Carrickfergus, her next stop is scaling the heights in Belfast, finding out about what makes the Albert Clock tick.

Viewers will find out how this iconic landmark was restored to halt the progression of its famous tilt and, after a steep climb, get to see the inner workings of the clock. Then after a climb up yet another ladder, Sara shows everyone the faces of the clock from the inside.

The latter part of the first episode sees Sara hop just south of the border to Co Louth where she steps into history in a house in Williamstown where nothing has been touched in 20 years since the last owner passed away. She finds out what the family has planned for this living museum as she tours round.  

In following episodes we’ll see Sara’s fitness tested to its limits in a training session with the Northern Ireland Ladies’ football team; heading down a massive plug hole in the Silent Valley; exploring a tiny village built by one Coleraine farmer; getting a bird’s eye view from the cockpit of vintage aircraft; getting into a tight spot exploring Fermanagh’s Caves; unearthing historical artefacts and documents in Linenhall Library and the Ulster Folk Museum; going deep under the Lagan River; and much much more.

Sarah said: “This series was the perfect opportunity for my more adventurous side to come to the fore! Hard hats and hi-vis gear was my uniform on several of the days’ filming. It was just brilliant getting out and about meeting different people and visiting all these places you hear about and some you don’t.   “Thanks to all the contributors who allowed us access to these hidden gems - we had great fun filming and we hope everyone enjoys watching.” 

UTV programme producer Alison Fleming said, “UTV has a long history of highlighting the extraordinary in the ordinary through its news and programmes and we hope the viewers come away from watching this new series feeling not only entertained by Sara’s adventures, but also educated, knowing that little but more about our rich surroundings here.”

The episodes will be:

Episode 1 (April 19): Carrickfergus salt mines, the Albert Clock, abandoned house in Co Louth.

Episode 2: (Aprl 26): Miniature village outside Coleraine, Lyric Theatre, Craigavon House.

Episode 3: The Silent Valley, NI Ladies Football team, time capsule house in Co Tyrone.

Episode 4: Galboly near Carnlough, the Lagan Weir, Transport Museum.

Episodes 5 and 6 (May 17): Fermanagh caves, Linenhall Library / Folk Museum, Grand Central Hotel, Ulster Aviation Society, Whispering Gallery – Belfast City Hall.

The series is a UTV Production and is sponsored by Further Space. The first episode is on Tuesday, April 19 at 8.30pm on UTV and on catch up on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes

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