Any week that begins with a bank holiday is off to a good start, but this is a very special week, beginning with the Belfast City Marathon and finishing with the Big Start of the Giro d’Italia 2014. Loads more on besides, and don’t forget the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival continues this week, as well as other ongoing festivals – check the What’s On Calendar.
Remember, you can get in touch if you spot an event or festival I should be including here.
Monday 5 May (bank holiday)
Belfast City Marathon, City Hall – Ormeau Park, Beginning at City Hall 9am
Over 18,000 runners take to the road on Monday, pitting their bodies and minds against the 26-odd miles ahead of them. They’ll run from the city centre to the east, the west, the north and then the south of the city, with a fun day in Ormeau Park awaiting them and their supporterscial. Event organisers are keen for spectators to come and cheer on the runners and have created a list of locations and prediction times to see runners pass. Check the website for more information.
Merry May Day – town centre, 10am – 4pm.
The town’s popular annual May Day celebrations are back, with stalls, fancy dress competitions, and winners of BBC 2 Folk Awards ‘The Demon Barbers’ will be performing their XL show for the first time in Northern Ireland. But of course this event wouldn’t be complete without the children’s traditional Maypole dancing For more, visit Bangor Visitor Information Centre, or phone 9127 0069.
Vintage fête – Springhill, 12 – 5pm
This Plantation house, owned by The National Trust, opens its doors for day two of its vintage fête. There will be music from The Swing Girls, vintage and handmade produce stalls and nostalgic attractions. Usual entry fees apply, National Trust members go free.
Tuesday 6 May
From Process to Pattern – Atelier Design, Wellingon Place, 1 – 31 May
A recently-discovered exhibition that began last Thursday and runs until the end of the month. From the eponymous brains behind abigail*ryan homewares, it explores the design process involved in making their fabrics and wallpapers, from concept to realisation. Exhibition host The Atelier Design Studio is open Wed to Sat from 10.30am to 5.30pm and Thurs until 7pm.
Wednesday 7 May
The Little Mermaid – Theatre at the Mill, 7.45 – 10pm
The heartbreaking story of the mermaid that falls in love with a prince is one we all know well. Ballet Theatre UK have created a stunning version of the tale for the stage, which is touring the UK and Ireland this Spring. Tickets range from £20 down to a discounted £14 group rate. Visit the website for details and booking.
Thursday 8 May
On The Square Auctions Launch – Albert Square, 6pm
In a bid (geddit?) to offer the bargain-hunters of Belfast something new, On The Square Auctions launches this evening with its official opening auction. Selling vintage, retro, industrial and pre-loved furniture, it’s sure to be a big hit with upcyclers and antiquers alike. Visit the Facebook page or view the catalogue of items online.
Ponies Don’t Play Football, The MAC, 8 – 10 May
Irreverent local dance group Ponydance are back with another run of this witty and wonderful show. One example of their choreographic genius is below, and they return to The MAC after a sell-out run of Ponies Don’t Play Football last year. Tickets are £15, visit the website for booking and more info.
Friday 9 May
Giro d’Italia Stage 1, Beginning Titanic Belfast,
The day NI has been waiting for, the big start of the Giro d’Italia finally gets underway after weeks of pinktastic build-up! The practise session begins at 10am at Titanic Quarter, with the caravan leaving TQ at 4.30pm, with cyclists making their way to Stormont and on to City Hall via Newtownards Road, Stranmillis, University Road and Great Victoria Street. Visit the website for any more details you need.
Saturday 10 May
Giro d’Italia Stage 2, Belfast – North Coast
The second day is a mammoth 218km journey for the cyclists, with stops along the way in Glengormley, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Bushmills, Ballycastle, Larne and Carrickfergus. The caravan leaves Titanic Quarter at 9am with the race beginning at 10.30am. Check the website to see where you need to be and when to catch the action.
Mayor’s Carnival Parade, Island Arts Centre – Wallace Park, 1pm
10,000 people are expected to come into Lisburn for the colourful spectacle that is the annual Mayor’s Parade. The theme this year is classic fairytales, and the parade departs the Island Arts Centre at 1pm and flows through Lisburn City Centre, via Queen’s Road, Linenhall Street, Smithfield Street, Market Place, Market Street, Bachelors Walk to Wallace Park. Here there will be a family fun day with fairground attractions, a vintage car display, sporting fun and lots of tasty food and drink, before the parade returns to the Island Arts Centre.
Sunday 11 May
Giro d’Italia Stage 3, Armagh – Dublin
A mere 187km today for the cyclists (!) The caravan leaves Shambles Market Area in Armagh at 9.40am and the race begins at 11.20am. There are stops in Richill and Newtownhamilton en route to the Irish capital. Check the website for times and locations.