Belfast Telegraph

What's on in Northern Ireland on May Day Bank Holiday Weekend 2018

Merry May Day in Holywood, Co Down (
Merry May Day in Holywood, Co Down (

May Day Bank Holiday Weekend is upon us and not only are we in for some good weather (finally!) but there's plenty on across Northern Ireland for the whole family to enjoy.

Take a look through our list of highlights to help you decide what to do with you glorious days off.

1. Belfast Marathon

Date: 7 May 2018

Time: 9am – 3pm

Picture By: Arthur Allison: Pacemaker.

Bring the family along to help cheers on the runners at this year's marathon as thousands take on the gruelling 26.2 mile course.

Now in its 37th year, starting at City Hall it traverses the city before finishing at Ormeau Park, Belfast

For more information, visit

2. Rare Breeds Show, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh

Date: May 5-7

Rare Breeds II (1).jpg
J. R. Blair with one of his families Belted Galloway cattle at the Rare Breeds event.

The living history museum will be alive with bleats, grunts and lows as rare and minority breeds of sheep, pigs and cattle make the museum home for the Bank Holiday weekend.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust Sperrin’s & Lakeland Support Group will be on hand to answer any questions.

Visitors can encounter a variety of interesting animals and prize breeds including Dexter cattle, Herdwick sheep, Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs and many prize poultry breeds.

For more information, visit

3. Fast & Furious Live, SSE Arena, Belfast

Date: May 4-6

Fast Furious 3.jpg
Fast & Furious Live

The Fast & Furious Live show will transport fans straight into the world of Fast & Furious recreating the most awe-inspiring moments from the movies along with new stunts and story.

The adrenaline-fueled, two-hour show is set to be the most spectacular live arena production ever produced, featuring precision performance driving and newly created physics-defying stunts.

For more information, visit

4. Maritime May, Titanic Belfast

Date: May 5-7

All month long Titanic Belfast and SS Nomadic will be hosting 'Maritime May' celebrations showcasing Belfast’s maritime heritage for #LocalHistoryMonth.

Meet the mascots, enjoy a period letter writing workshop and follow the Explorer Trail which enables children to experience the shipyard, walk the decks, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic for lots of Bank Holiday family fun.

For more information, visit

5. Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra

Date: May 5-7

May Day in Ireland was a festival to welcome summer and to protect the family and livelihood of the farm from supernatural forces. It was a festival celebrated with flowers, fires, music and dancing and had strong links to the event celebrated throughout Northern Europe.

Visit the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum for a day of fun and festivities - enjoy listening to traditional music, sample traditional foods and see traditional crafts such as basket making, pole lathe turning, weaving and even take part in traditional street games.

For more information, visit

5. May Day Madness at Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry

Date: May 5-7

Exploris Aquarium.

Celebrate your May Day at Northern Ireland's only aquarium and seal sanctuary.

Enjoy one of many wildlife talks and feeding demonstrations as well as lots more May Day activities for all of the family to enjoy.

To book your tickets online, please visit

6. Dino Snappers at W5, Belfast

Date: May 5-7

Travel back in time and create your very own prehistoric predator at W5.

Visitors can get creative as you make your own ‘Dino Snapper’ to take home with you.

Pop out, build and then take home your paper craft creation and have lots of fantastic fun.

This event is running every weekend during April & May from 2-4pm and is free with admission to W5.

For more information, visit

7. The Victorians at Castle Espie, Newtownards

Date: May 7

Time: 1-4pm


Children of all ages can discover Castle Espie's Victorian past.

Make your very own clay brick to take home and customise with special stamps (small fee applies), all under the watchful gaze of Castle Espie's resident Victorian.

The Limekiln Observatory sits on top of a site once used by the Victorians to make clay bricks during the Industrial Revolution. This event forms part of our 'History Series', which highlights Castle Espie's unique past.

Cost is included with admission.

For more information, visit

8. Merry May Day, Holywood

Date: May 7

Time: 10am-4pm

Merry May Day in Holywood, Co Down (

This popular annual event features traditional May Day dancing by local school children, a selection of market stalls and other family fun.

Full event listing below:

  • 10am-4pm: Food and Charity stalls
  • 10.30am-11am: Bonny Baby Competition
  • 10.45am-11am: Crowning of the May Queen
  • 11am-11.45am: Children's Maypole Dancing
  • 12noon-12.30pm: Performance by McElhinney School of Irish Dance / Punch and Judy Puppet Show
  • 12noon-4pm: Jump, Jiggle and Jive interactive dance fun
  • 12noon-4pm: Living History of Holywood at The Priory
  • 12.30pm-1pm: Fancy Dress Competition (Theme: Kings and Queens, Super Heroes or My Favourite Storybook Character)
  • 1pm-1.45pm: Maypole Dancing
  • 1.30pm-2pm: Punch and Judy Puppet Show
  • 2pm-2.30pm: Watoto African Children's Choir
  • 3pm-3.30pm: Punch and Judy Puppet Show

9. Festival of Fools, Belfast

Date: May 4-7

Festival of Fools.jpg

The Festival of Fools brings a jam-packed programme of circus performances, featuring breathtaking acrobatics, gut-busting comedy and jaw-dropping juggling to the streets of the city centre.

For full programme, visit

10. Gary Barlow at the Waterfont, Belfast

Date: May 7

Gary Barlow 2018.jpg
Pictured: Gary Barlow

The Take That star kicks off two nights in the city as part of his latest UK an Ireland tour.

Gary is also one of Britain’s most successful songwriters, having written 14 Number One singles as well as being a six-time recipient of an Ivor Novello Award.

For more information, visit

11. Van Morrison at the Millennium Forum, Derry

Date: May 6-7

Van Morrison

The legendary Belfast singer will take to the stage at the Millennium Forum as part of the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.

Van will be showcasing songs from his most recent studio albums Roll with the Punches and Versatile – as well as dipping into some of his greatest and best known hits from undoubtedly one of the most revered back catalogues in music history.

For more information, visit

12. Iron Throne at Connswater Shopping Centre, Belfast

Date: May 5-7

Iron Throne.jpg
Daenerys Targaryen (by Emily Bennett) sitting on the Game of Thrones iconic Iron Throne Experience.

Game of Thrones Fans can take their seat on the iconic Iron Throne of the Kingdom of West-erns exclusively at Connswater Shopping Centre, this May Bank Holiday weekend.

HBO commissioned Game of Thrones life-size prop replica measures over 7’2” in height, 5'11" in depth and 5'5" in width.

Also on display and available for posing with are the Game of Thrones Crown of Joffrey Bar-atheon, and swords Ice, Longclaw, Needle, Oathkeeper and Jaime Lannister, and Dragon eggs prop replicas.

Tickets available at the event and online priority tickets at

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