10 great things to do in Northern Ireland in the week ahead

Here are ten great things for you to enjoy with family or friends from January 29 to February 4.
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Join the experts at the Castle Espie Wetlands Centre on the banks of Strangford Lough. You will have the chance to take a closer look at the wonderful variety of birds across the reserve, which is home to the largest collection of ducks, geese and swans on the island of Ireland. Everyone is welcome to join, no prior birdwatching knowledge required.

The Sperrin Sculpture Trail - just one of a number of great places to explore in the week ahead. Picture: Tourism NIThe Sperrin Sculpture Trail - just one of a number of great places to explore in the week ahead. Picture: Tourism NI
The Sperrin Sculpture Trail - just one of a number of great places to explore in the week ahead. Picture: Tourism NI

This performance serves up an exciting mixture of music, song, poetry, storytelling and drama. Founded in the 1970’s, the rhymers hark back to ancient traditions where the kitchen floor was the stage. Their fabulous costumes and woven headdresses evoke the folklore of old Ireland. A fun day for the whole family.

Enjoy a seasonal walk amidst the splendour of the Lagan Valley Regional Park. These walks give you the opportunity for an informal but informative walk with the park’s rangers to learn about the wildlife and history of the area.

Follow the shoreline of this serene lake. Wonderful flora and fauna abound, and gravel paths make this a very pleasant 2k stroll. Keep your eyes peeled for a flash of electric blue, it could well be a kingfisher or just admire the swans and wild geese that visit.

This day retreat with Judith Greene and Karen Smyth celebrates the ancient Celtic festival which marks the beginning of Spring, falling at the halfway point between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. Historically, this festival was in honour of the pagan goddess, Brigid, who was adopted as a Christian saint. Connect with nature as it awakens from its winter slumber and get ready to welcome spring, refreshed and renewed.

Learn about the history, culture and architecture of Belfast in a fun way. Tour the city on comfortable, easy to pedal bikes taking in everything from the café culture vibe of the Cathedral Quarter to the street art, and peace walls. Visit the Titanic slipways and see why everyone is kissing the Big Fish. Two tours available daily, seven days a week. Includes helmet hire.

This multi-sensory experience will take your yoga practice to a place it has never been, surrounded by the sights and sounds of mother earth, deep in the heart of the show cave, 50 metres underground! A unique way to unwind and relax body and mind in an hour experience that is suitable for all levels. The yoga space will be lit with lanterns creating a warm and inviting feeling. There are 154 steps to enter the cave, so dress in flat shoes and warm clothing and bring along your own yoga mat.

Want to make the sparks fly? Well look no further than this wonderful historic forge to learn the traditional skills of blacksmithing. Located on the Newry Canal just outside Portadown, this beautiful location has classes to suit all abilities from the novice to the more advanced metalworker. Or you can visit our canal-themed museum next door in the Lockhouse, named after the Moneypenny family who looked after the lock from the early 1800s until its closure in the mid-20th century. Class sizes are small so check the website for booking.

Behold the three giant sculptures by artist Thomas Dambo on the Sperrins Sculpture Trail, which showcase the geology, archaeology and heritage of the Sperrins. The giants represent the past, present and future. You will evoke the mystical, ancient history and beauty of the region. You will find Ceoldán, the Stargazer, at Davagh Forest kneeling on a newly constructed timber boardwalk. He is trying to capture the brilliance of the night sky, ‘The Seven Sisters’, in his spiral. You can also find Nowanois, translated as the storytellers at Glenelly Valley near Cranagh and Darach, the Guardian at Mullaghcarn Mountain.

Fancy trying your hand at spinning or want to watch one of the experts do it? Come along to this centre which celebrates Northern Ireland’s historic role as the world leader in the manufacturer of linen. You can see the cloth being woven in daily demonstrations with one of the onsite weavers. There are also fabulous exhibits on display such as a fragment of linen from Tutankhamun’s tomb, and a pair of stockings embroidered for Queen Victoria. Entry is free and there’s accessible parking beside the building, there’s also a range of lovely linen to buy in the shop.

For more information on what’s on or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit https://discovernorthernireland.com/

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