The family of Seamus Heaney today performed the official opening of the new arts and literary centre dedicated to the life and literature of the late poet and Nobel Laureate.
The Heaney family were in his native Bellaghy to officially open the Seamus Heaney HomePlace at a special event in the presence of 200 guests. Today’s official ceremony will be followed by the admission of the first public visitors tomorrow (Friday 30 September) and a weekend of special events as part of the opening programme.
Developed by Mid Ulster District Council, the Seamus Heaney Man and Boy exhibition is arranged over two floors and filled with personal stories, artefacts, dozens of family photographs, video recordings from friends, neighbours, world leaders and cultural figures.
Dedicated foodies Shay Mullan and Hugh Cushnan are creating the delicious flavours of the Mediterranean in Broughshane for shoppers across Northern Ireland. And the enterprising duo has plans to bring their tasty products to the Republic of Ireland as soon as practicable.
Together they run Tom & Ollie at Raceview Mill business centre in the picturesque Co Antrim village just a few miles from Ballymena. As well as the production unit in Broughshane, they have opened a deli there featuring their products and those from other local artisans.
And they are reinvesting in expanding the business by means of an online delivery service and the introduction of gourmet food hampers. The planned online delivery service will have over 300 products available for next day delivery in Ireland. There will be an unrivalled selection of the best of Irish and European foods, from olives and cheese to honey and hummus.
Tourism Northern Ireland recently provided a platform for 27 local businesses to showcase their products and services at Ireland’s largest business tourism showcase, Connect 16. The one-day event took place on 28th September with a designated Northern Ireland region exhibit allowing local suppliers to foster new relationships with national, European and international event planners.
A range of suppliers including hoteliers, accommodation providers, tour operators and leading attractions were involved in the business-to-business selling opportunity including Hastings Hotels, Visit Derry and Bespoke Northern Ireland.
John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI commented, “Business tourism has become an important driver for the economy in Northern Ireland and Tourism NI’s Northern Ireland exhibit at Connect 16 gave local industry partners the platform to engage in face-to-face meetings with over 1,200 key tourism industry buyers and influencers, demonstrating their unique business offering, promoting their products, services and Northern Ireland in a bid to increase visitor numbers and drive business tourism revenue.”
Foodie enthusiasts flocked to Enniskillen Castle last weekend to enjoy the second year of Festival Lough Erne. This year, visitors to the event also had the opportunity to explore the newly refurbished Enniskillen Castle Museums site which provided the perfect backdrop for the Festival.
The two-day event attracted both locals and visitors to the area and offered a full programme of activities, including a Food Hall offering a range of delights from balsamics to bacon and cheese and chocolate to name but a few. In addition, local chefs including Noel McMeel from Lough Erne Resort and Joe Kelly from the Belle Isle School of Cookery, imparted their extensive knowledge and this year were joined by chocolatier and pastry chef Stephen McFarland along with chefs from the Killyhevlin Hotel, Westville Hotel and Tap House who all gave wonderful demonstrations. Local broadcaster Bryan Gallagher compered the event.
Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has invited visitors from the Republic of Ireland to ‘Say Hello to More in Northern Ireland’ as he launched Tourism Northern Ireland’s Autumn advertising campaign.
The Autumn campaign which will run until November, highlights Northern Ireland’s most unique experiences which can all be packaged into a short break.
Speaking at the launch event in Dublin, Simon Hamilton said: “From Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, the Walled City of Derry~Londonderry, the Mournes and the Fermanagh Lakelands, to top class hotels, a remarkable food and drink offering, excellent golf, mountain biking, screen tourism and many other outstanding visitor experiences, Northern Ireland now has a sophisticated and vibrant tourism product.
Fermanagh diners have been wowed this week by the fantastic range of events happening in local eateries and attractions as part of the county’s first Restaurant Week. The initiative, which has been organised by Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism in conjunction with the tourism trade, saw a ten day celebration of local food and drink inspired by the 2016 Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.
The ‘Week’ started off on Friday 16th September with a tapas night at Tullymill Restaurant in Florence Court which, after selling out, ran a second night the following week off the back of its success. Many local restaurants ran specials throughout the week to give discerning diners something they wouldn't normally see on their menus. Cafe Merlot ran Game of Thrones menus to highlight the presence of the Game of Thrones door in the Blakes of the Hollow complex while the Killyhevlin ran a 'Taste of Killyhevlin' menu for a number of nights. Pat O'Doherty's Black Pudding Festival finale took place in Magee’s and was a wonderful night for all involved.
An opportunity for front-line staff to participate in a tailored food and customer service programme is being offered by Ards and North Down Borough Council in association with Tourism NI.
The WorldHost Food Ambassador programme will take place on Tuesday, 18 October between 10am and 2.30pm at the Poacher’s Pocket in Lisbane.
The WorldHost Food Ambassador Programme gives staff and volunteers the skills to deliver a warm and friendly welcome to customers and visitors, and is particularly focused on their role as an ambassador for their local area. WorldHost Food Ambassador is a recognised and accredited training programme tailored specifically for Northern Ireland’s acclaimed food and drink industry.
By Michele Shirlow - Chief Executive of Food NI
We could scarcely have imagined that Year of Food and Drink 2016 would see the most important accolade in the European food and drink industry return to Northern Ireland. At the start of September the Supreme Champion title in the highly influential Great Taste Awards was won by a Northern Ireland company, Hannan Meats of Moira.
This inspirational company, headed by dedicated foodie Peter Hannan, is now the first business ever to win the industry’s top award for the second time. This meant competing against 10,000 entries to reach pole position. Much has already been written about this small company’s extraordinary success. Thanks to Ulster Bank who supported the awards, I was privileged to be in the audience at the award ceremony for the first time. The awards followed a spectacular dinner, including Abernethy smoked butter, which also represented Northern Ireland in the final top 18 products.
Tourism NI has launched the Tourism Event Funding Programme to support the local event industry. The programme which opens today aims to increase visitor numbers and spend in the local economy, as well as raise the international profile of Northern Ireland.
Derry City and Strabane District Council has pledged to build on Derry’s successes as a rising food tourism destination after narrowly missing out to Boyne Valley as Ireland’s top Foodie Destination 2016.
For the second year in a row, Derry was announced as the Foodie Destinations runner-up, proving themselves again to be one of the top foodie destinations in Ireland. The Council-led ‘LegenDerry and Local’ bid was one of the ten top finalists shortlisted in this year’s search by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
Derry was the only Northern Ireland contender for the hotly-pursued award, with the other nine finalists including last year’s winner, The Burren in Co Clare, who claimed second runner-up in this year’s competition, Boyne Valley, Cong, Sligo, Leitrim, Monaghan, The Loop Peninsula, Kilkenny and Dublin Coastal Villages (Dublin, Malahide & Skerries).
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