What's On: Portaferry Gala Festival, Armagh walking tours, Big Dog Forest trail

Jacqueline McGonigle shares her pick of family friendly events taking place across Northern Ireland this year

Saint Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh – walking tours of Ireland's ecclesiastical capital start on Wednesday July 11
Jacqueline McGonigle


The 51st annual Portaferry Gala Festival (July 14-20), has something for everyone. Activities include farming-community events, music, sailing, football and GAA, with the highlight being a float and band parade on Friday July 20.


Enjoy a guided walking tour exploring the rich history of Armagh city. From pre-historic Ireland to an unmatched Georgian architecture, modern-day Armagh is built against a rich backdrop of history, clearly visible through its historic buildings and open spaces. Every Wednesday-Saturday from tomorrow until Friday August 31, at 11am and 1pm, departing Armagh Visitor Information Centre.


On the trail of Finn Mac Cool – Exploring Big Dog Forest, July 14. Big Dog Forest takes its name after two very distinctive small rounded hills known as Big Dog and Little Dog. But, how have they formed? Legend tells us one way and science another – come along and see which you believe. Booking essential, not suitable for children under eight.


Join Lola’s at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh on Friday July 13 for live entertainment by the talented John McNicholl. Doors open from 9.15pm (DJ 9.15-11pm), with John McNicholl live on stage from 11pm-1am. £12pp, pay on the door. Jive & Dine In! £35pp 4 Course Dinner & Country Night ticket. Keep It Country accommodation offers from £60pp. B&B, 4 Course Dinner & Ticket.


Calling all runners. On Thursday July 12 Aspire Health is hosting its second Annual 5k charity fun run/walk. Starts at Polepatrick Park, Magherafelt, at 9.30am. Registration on the day from 9am, with donations being collected for the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group. Medals for the first 100 finishers.


Brighter Nights Sports Special takes place this Friday July 13 at the Lilian Bland Community Park, Glengormley. Please note this is mostly an outdoor event so please come prepared for the weather. Activities include a bouncy castle, bungee trampoline, archery, BMX bikes session, adventure play bus, sports coaching, arts and crafts, face painting, tennis coaching in the tennis court and health tests.


Celebrate the July Bank Holiday Weekend at Titanic Belfast. Say hello to the Titanic Mascots and challenge the kids with the Explorer Trail before stopping off for a bite to eat with Kids Meal Deals in Bistro 401. Book Your Titanic Experience Tickets at! Adult £18.50, child £8.

:: For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

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