Literature, upcycling, history, surfing, music and craft – just a few of the fabulous things you can experience in Northern Ireland this week. Not to mention Easter! Bear in mind the Easter opening hours come into play for pubs and clubs this weekend – bars will stop serving alcohol at midnight on Thursday and Saturday, are only allowed to serve alcohol between 5pm and 11pm on Friday and can only serve alcohol on Sunday up to 10pm.
Forewarned is forearmed – don’t be giving the hardworking bar staff of NI a hard time (spot the former bartender!) and certainly don’t let it stop you having fun. Get out and enjoy everything that’s on this week!
Monday 14 April
Holy Trinity College Junk Kouture Exhibition – The Burnavon Theatre (1 April – 30 April)
The Quill has just discovered this excellent exhibition of trash-to-fashion creations, which opened at the beginning of the month. The Junk Kouture initiative invites second level students in Ireland and NI to upcycle everyday rubbish into high-end wearable outfits. The Holy Trinity College have enjoyed great success in the competition and this year, 10 of their 28 entries have made it through to the Ulster finals. Visit the website for more details on the exhibition.
Tuesday 15 April
Anniversary of the Belfast Blitz – Northern Ireland War Memorial, Talbot Street, 12.30 – 1.30pm
Today is the 73rd anniversary of the beginning of the Belfast Blitz, German airstrikes during World War 2 that killed 900, injured 1,500 and destroyed around half of Belfast’s homes. The Northern Ireland War Memorial is holding an event to mark the anniversary – the full programme for the day is available here. They are also hosting a temporary display from the scrapbooks of John Potter, a schoolboy travelling through Belfast in 1941.
Wednesday 16 April
Launch of new direction for Craft NI’s exhibition space – Craft NI @ Cotton Court, 12pm
Craft NI have announced an open invitation to their launch of new plans for the exhibition space at Cotton Court. As well as displaying works from the Arts Council collection, the space will also now offer a resource to designer-makers and the public alike, with magazines, journals and exhibition catalogues being made available for reading and research. The launch is free to attend, with no booking required.
Literary Lunchtime with Lucy Caldwell – Ulster Hall, 1pm
The last in this year’s series of Literary Lunchtimes sees Belfast-born novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell reading to an audience in the Group Space at the Ulster Hall. Caldwell has published three novels, the latest of which – All The Beggars Riding – was the focus of last year’s One City One Book initiative in Belfast and Derry.
Lawrence Street Workshops Film Night (The House I Live In), 8.30pm
The House I Live In is described as “a penetrating look inside America’s criminal justice system”, exploring the human rights implications of the USA’s drug policy and presenting the country’s ‘war on drugs’ as a tool of money-making and social control. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.
Thursday 17 April
Circuit of Ireland Rally – beginning 9am Ulster Folk & Transport Museum (continues until Sat 19 April)
Following the Qualifying Stage on Thursday at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, the ceremonial start begins from 6pm outside Belfast City Hall. The stages take place on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with Downpatrick, Hillsborough Castle and Banbridge regroups, plus visits to the service park in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. There are also two street stages in Lisburn and Newtownards. For further race and event details, see the website.
Friday 18 April
Opening of Armagh Photographic Competition and Exhibition – Armagh County Museum, 10am – 5pm (exhibition continues until Sat 14 June)
Today marks the opening of entries for this year’s competition, as well as the exhibition of last year’s winning entries. You can enter photographs in a range of categories, including colour, black and white and under 18, and entries close on Saturday 29 March. Sponsored by Bennett’s Photoshop, winners will receive Bennetts vouchers, with the overall winner presented with the Bennetts Cup. Find out more, including opening times, on the website.
Lisnagarvey Art Society Exhibition – Malone House, continues until Sat 4 May.
The Lisnagarvey Art Society is a collective of talented amateur artists with a 30-year history. The Lisburn-based group are currently showing a collection of member paintings in the Higgin Gallery in Malone House. With a wide range of styles and mediums, this is an eclectic exhibition which will appeal to all art lovers. Opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 12 – 4.30pm on Sunday.
Saturday 19 April
Easter Celebrations – Ulster American Folk Park, 10am – 5pm (Sat 19 to Mon 21)
Walking down the Park’s Shipbuoy Street this weekend, you will be transported back to a typical Spring Fair of 1914. Chat to the stallholders, shopkeepers, travelling journeymen and entertainers, try some traditional crafts or help feed the spring lambs and young chicks. There will be storytelling sessions for all the family, and energetic visitors can enjoy a spring-time hoe-down in the Pennsylvania Barn. Find out more, including admission prices, on the website.
By Any Means 5th Birthday Show – The Limelight 2, 5pm
Belfast-based hardcore band By Any Means are blowing out five candles on the cake today, and The Distortion Project is hosting this epic show to help them celebrate. With support from Cursed Sun and All The Kings Ashes, it’s one not to miss for NI’s metal and hardcore fans. Admission is only £5 and there will be drinks promos on the night.
Causeway Coast Surf Festival – West Strand, Portrush, 9am (continuing through Saturday and Sunday)
The highlight of this two-day festival is undoubtedly the independent Portrush Open Surf Contest, with seven different competition categories. Registration opens at 9am, with first heats in the water beginning at 10am. Alongside the surfing, you can enjoy music, art, film and photography in the festival marquee and a host of activities and sights, including a climbing/abseiling wall, a surfers’ marketplace, beach volleyball, surf lessons and loads more. Find out more on the website.