News From The North - November 2010
Welcome to Belfast
Hello and welcome one and all from a beautiful sunny autumn day in Belfast. First I would like to update you on the latest news from the McCool Family. Evie (our first grandchild) was born on Friday 15th October at 3.37a.m. Evie weighed 5 pounds 13.5 ounces and she is beautiful.
Rochelle and Paul got married on Saturday 23rd October 2010. The happy couple got married in St.Comgall's Church Antrim (situated 18.5 miles from Belfast). The morning started off grey and wet, but as we drove into Antrim the sun started to shine and continued to shine.
The reception was held at the Dunadry four star Hotel, (which is built on the site of an ancient fort and once home to both paper and linen mills). It is situated in the heart of County Antrim, with beautiful landscaped lawns and the naturally beautiful grounds are really quite special. It is a truly impressive venue for weddings, conferences and banqueting. The name Dunadry the name means the middle fort (Dun-Eddery) and it is so called because of its position as the middle one of three forts on the road, which ran from Tara to Dunseverick. The six-mile river flows through the grounds and century old mill. The Six-Mile river or as it used to be called in Irish, The Owenavau (River of the Rushes) is a good trout river and it also enjoys a late season of Lough Neagh salmon. Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in the U.K. and the third biggest lake in Europe measuring 300 square kilometers. It contains over 800 billion gallons of water, enough to fill 700 million swimming pools. Five of the Province’s six counties touch its shores. Legend has it that Lough Neagh was created by the Irish Giant Finn McCool.
Course Fishing Lough Neagh
Oxford Island Lough Neagh
The Dunadry Hotel is located just 10 minutes drive from Belfast International Airport, and just 15 minutes from Belfast City Centre.
The happy couple went on honeymoon to America.
November in Belfast sees the Belfast Beer and Cider Festival in the Ulster Hall, which opened in 1862. The festival returns to create the biggest bar in Ireland, with traditional pub games and live music.Culturlann McAdam Ó Fiaich have there monthly céili. A céili for both beginners and those more experienced dancers.
The 1st Annual Castle Ward (National Trust Property) Turkey Trot is a fun run to celebrate the American Thanksgiving tradition.
We have two pantomimes: Jack and the Beanstalk on in the Belfast Waterfront with loads of fun, magic and singing. Snow White and the Seven dwarfs in the Grand Opera House, which is a beautiful old building opened in 1895.
The inside of the Ulster Hall
The Grand Opera House
Northern Ireland Festival of Racing at the Down Royal Racecourse is also in November.
Aer Lingus Belfast Giants Ice Hockey Enjoy an action packed night of entertainment as the Belfast Giants battle it out on the ice with their competitors, from 13th November through to the end of December.
Belfast Zoo has a variety of festive events. Meet Santa, help the staff wrap presents for the animals and take a winter tour. This event begins in November.
The Festive Session is just around the corner and, Belfast, like most towns around the world are getting ready to celebrate. The festival of Christmas begins with a great family event at the Belfast City Hall when the Lord Major of Belfast, plus some children's favourite television characters, will switch on the Christmas lights on Saturday 20th November. Also the Christmas Continental Market will once more be in the grounds of the City Hall from 20th November - 19th December. The grounds will come alive with dozens of market stalls offering a vast range of goods from across Europe, and beyond. A truly magical sight. Similar events are taking place throughout Northern Ireland in Derry, Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart. Yuletide Market in Rowallane Gardens Co. Down (A National Trust Property) the original Christmas Market with craft stalls and food to suit all the family. Mulled wine, Christmas trees, wreaths and floral art to decorate your home are for sale.
In Belfast we have Christmas all wrapped up. The Christmas Fair at St. George's Market will be on at the beginning of December. This popular fair and market returns with a wide range of Gourmet foods and festive crafts. It is a short walking distance from the City Hall. The main shopping venues in Belfast are Victoria Square, House of Fraser, Westfield Castlecourt, Donegall Place, Royal Avenue, Fountain street and Queens arcade, to name but a few.
Belfast Castle has a festive tour on different dates in December from the 4th to the 21st December enjoy a tour of the Castle, while relaxing with tea, coffee and mince pies.
The Ulster Orchestra at Belfast Waterfront will be hosting The Snowman, a jolly festive of music for a family audience suitable for young children from the age of three, and an opportunity for the whole family to share the experience of an orchestra in full flow.
Santa's House at Castle Ward, Santa welcomes young and old to Castle Ward. After a lovely visit to the Elves workshop Santa gives each child a beautiful gift.
The Ulster American Folk Park and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum are taking a step back in time to experience the magic of a traditional Christmas. Also, taking place at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, is The Music Box "A Christmas Extravaganza" rediscover the wonder of Christmas past and present, in a magical location, with this spectacular on music, song, dance and much more.
Winter Walking Tours
Many of our parks and landscapes look their most inviting with a touch of frost or even snow. You can have a lovely walk through Belfast's Pretty Botanic Gardens with its 19th century Palm House designed by architectural giant Charles Lanyon. Botanic Gardens is beside Queens University.
The Ghost Walk Belfast explores the shadows and alleyways of haunted Belfast. Discover Belfast's lesser known darker past, the hangings of Cormarket, the tale if the body snatcher, plus much more.
At Blackstaff Way there are walks were you visit the oldest bridge in Belfast, find out about the "Black Man" and the mystery stone from Belfast Castle.
As you can see Belfast and beyond will be a busy time for everyone this year because we have so many events. My Christmas is always busy as I will have all the family on Christmas Day for dinner. This year I have an extra special wee visitor who will be celebrating her first Christmas at Granny and Grandad's house.
I would like to wish you all Season's Greetings.
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