What's on: Portavogie Seafood Festival, dinosaurs at Slieve Gullion, poetry in Heaney country

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

Paul Rankin and fellow TV chef Nick Nairn will be in Portavogie this weekend
Jacqueline McGonigle


The annual Portavogie Seafood Festival takes place on Saturday August 11, 12 noon-5pm. Ards and North Down Borough Council is providing the free return shuttle-bus service from Newtownards bus station to Portavogie Harbour. There will be three departures; for a timetable see Family events, cooking demos hosted by celebrity chefs Paul Rankin and Nick Nairn, fish market and artisan food stalls.


Dinosaurs are coming alive at Slieve Gullion! A T-Rex has been spotted prowling around the Walled Garden. Are you brave enough to track him down? Come along to the Geotastic Extravaganza this Saturday to learn about dinomite dinosaurs, vicious volcanoes, earth-shattering earthquakes and other wonders of our planet.


Tully Castle – Castle Capers Community Festival including Living History takes place this Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. The men of the castle patrol the walls and make ready their weapons to defend this fortified house; see the firing muskets, feel the heft of swords and pikes, try on the armour and helmets of the early 17th century. Admission free.


Sink Or Slim... a classic Sam Cree comedy set in a health farm in the 1960s is coming to the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, this Saturday. A merry-go-round of crazy craic and lots of laughs.


This Saturday join Seamus Heaney HomePlace for an afternoon of poetry and music as it hosts The Poetry Brunch in the landscape that inspired Seamus Heaney's work. The audience will be transported to a secret location in the landscape surrounding HomePlace for an afternoon of poetry readings by Alice Lyons, Iggy McGovern and Kerrie O'Brien. Featuring harp music performed by Maria McGowan, this promises to be a very special afternoon.


Voiceworks youth company are delighted to be bringing the family friendly musical Hairspray to the braid Arts Centre, Ballymena, this Saturday. Two shows; matinee and evening.


Running Blind is back. Due to the generosity of sponsors Heartsine, all proceeds from this event will go directly to Aaron's Army, a charity providing running buggies to families across the north. Join in at Stormont on Saturday and run, jog or walk either 5k or 10k, either blindfolded with a partner, or on your own. The aim is to raise awareness of and encourage visually impaired running, while raising very much needed funds.

:: 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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