Armagh is gearing up for summer with a brand new assortment of exhibitions, events and entertainment to keep you and the whole family entertained – and with a new Armagh Shuttle Bus service direct from Belfast which combines a special itinerary of all the top highlights, there has never been a better time to go, or an easier way to get there.
Departing from the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre at 10am on Fridays and Saturdays, the ‘Armagh Shuttle’ will have you back by 5:30pm after the full day Armagh experience, taking in its world class attractions, award-winning restaurants and hospitality, culture, Georgian splendour and heritage. Or, if you can’t fit everything you discover into one day, the return ticket is still valid to get you back to Belfast on the Saturday!
Here are some of the early summer highlights which should be on your horizon. For more details, even more things to do, how to book and get there, visit www.armagh.co.uk.
Pay homage to John Hewitt at the International Summer School
This global festival success returns to The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre for a five-day run starting Monday 27th July and will feature a packed programme of readings, talks, discussions and debates as well as celebrating visual art, music and theatre. A truly unique musical performance that’s unlikely ever to happen again includes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon strapping on a guitar to join a star-studded band that includes Paddy Goodwin’s Holy Ghosts with Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart and Johnny Fean of Horslips, with special guest Paul Brady.
Victorian Tea at The Argory
It’s the last Sunday of the month, so why not transport yourself back to 1847 with the family and staff of The Argory with a unique Victorian tea party. Be waited upon by the maids of the house as you enjoy the sounds of the piano and the array of delicious treats, scones and sandwiches served with loose-leaf tea. Taking place on the last Sunday of each month until September, this is already a hugely popular event. Three sittings available for £15 per person, includes estate entry and tour.
Tip in and enjoy Ireland’s bowling finale
Known as a ‘bullet’ in Armagh, road bowls is the much-loved sport which has a cast-iron sphere thrown, or ‘driven’, along a pre-determined course. The all-island final takes place on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August.
Enjoy a guided walking tour of Armagh
With so much to explore, the new guided walking tour is a must for those wanting to learn as much about Ireland’s Ecclesiastical capital as possible. Delve into the city’s rich history with stories and anecdotes about the area, its renowned Georgian architecture and the many gems hidden along its distinct cobbled streets. Every Wednesday – Saturday until the end of August from the Information Centre.
Build and launch a rocket at the Armagh Planetarium
Blast off a fun-filled trip to Armagh City with a visit to Armagh Planetarium to get on board a virtual visit to the international space station and outwards to Mars. During your trip, accept the challenge to design, build and blast your own rocket, a favourite activity for the thousands of children who have visited the Planetarium. You also get to experience a full 3D testing of its latest state-of-the-art technology.
Do you know the Wickerman?
The annual Wickerman Gathering on August 1st will bring fire, storytelling, dance and music to celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Lunasa which honours the sun god Lu to bring good weather for the crops. The Navan Centre and Fort will come alive with music, traditional dance lessons, a Ceili, and, no doubt, plenty of humour. When you get hungry, there will be a Celtic BBQ or why not bring your own picnic to enjoy in the grounds? The highlight of the evening will be the burning of a 30ft Wickerman in a fire ceremony led by the resident Celtic characters. From 6:30pm – 10:00pm with last admission at 8:30pm. Tickets available at www.armagh.co.uk/wickerman.
Marvel at the mystery of Navan Fort
Learn about the myths, the legends and the folklore at one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful sites as living history characters bring the story of the Celts to life. As one of Irelands most famous and important archaeological sites, the legendary Emain Macha, home of the famous Red Branch Knights is a place where myth and reality meets. The Centre offers visitors a unique appreciation of the history of the area.
Banish the blues at the 7 Hills Blues Festival
Already an established event success on the Blues calendar, this annual musical extravaganza takes place this year from August 6th to August 9th and is musical therapy for all ages. Local bands take their place amongst top-class international acts from across Europe, USA and further afield. Fringe events add an artistic and family-oriented buzz to the Festival, with eateries and shops getting involved to bring a real blues feel to the entire city.
Test your skills at Lurgaboy
Ideal for families looking for a fun afternoon in the great outdoors, take part in raft building, archery, a high levels rope course and a 375m zip wire at Lurgaboy Adventure Centre. Everything takes place at its spectacular 35-acre countryside venue in Armagh, allowing kids to enjoy the great outdoors in a safe environment and with no time wasted travelling between fun-filled activities.
It’s Tayto Time!
Located in the 500 year old Tandragee Castle, experience the magic of Tayto with a guided tour and demonstration which shows how the globally-famous ‘Tayto’ crisps and other snacks are lovingly made. You will also get to meet some of the crisps fresh off the production line and meet the brand mascot, Mr Tayto. A must-see for all the family! Yum!
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