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The ultimate Northern Ireland bucket list for 2018

Another year, another calendar full of possibilities across Northern Ireland.

By Claire McKeever

Before throwing yourself into 2018, it is worth seeing if there is something different, unique and fun that can be added to your diary this year.

Why not develop a new skill, take yourself to an event, or spend a few days in a part of Northern Ireland you have not visited before.

Festivals and Events

Northern Ireland seems to be getting better and better at putting on unique and culture-filled events.

Take for instance Culture Night ( in Belfast, now a firm date in many people’s diaries and an event that seems to be getting busier every year.

This year Culture Night will take place on Friday, September 21, so why not pencil it in your diary and even take a day off work so you can soak up the event in all its entirety.


Coming up even sooner is the Science Festival from February 15-25 ( and if you have not been to this event yet then you are in for a treat.

From discovering the physics of gin to an exploration of self-drive vehicles, the event looks to bring out the scientist in all of us.

Science Festival.jpg
Image courtesy of NI Science Festival.

If you are needing cheered up during these dark nights, then Sunday Improv Nights at The Accidental Theatre Company ( and Blick Studios Stand-Up Comedy ( course will have you laughing through the winter months. Possibly one of the best ways to start any year.

When it comes to festival highlights, the folks at Hilden Brewery (, Sunflower Fest (, Stendhal ( and Open House ( will no doubt be looking forward to pulling off more memorable events this summer. With the best of arts and music and a wonderful atmosphere at each, it is possible you may want to tick off all four of them. 

Workshops and Classes

If this is the year you are wanting to cease the day and fulfil that lifelong passion, then there are endless classes and workshops right across Northern Ireland that you really should make the most out of.

At The Helicon in Bellaghy ( there is a list of impressive classes and events for 2018 that theatre and literary enthusiasts will be all over.

In Belfast, The Duncairn ( and Crescent Arts Centre ( have an endless list of classes including beginner’s guitar, language lessons, set dancing and photography, to name a few. Then there is Queen’s University’s Open Learning ( programme for accredited classes and even more options.

At the Playhouse in Derry ( a programme of accredited courses such as Creative Writing, Digital Photography and Performance can be undertaken for a small fee.

Places to Visit

If we are honest, a lot of us do not make the most of Northern Ireland’s beautiful locations and places to get away from it all (or is that just me?)

From the Cuilcagh Mountains in Co Fermanagh to the deepest parts of The Mournes in Co Down, there are a wide spread of places to lay low and enjoy some of the most stunning parts of Northern Ireland.

Image courtesy of Failte Ireland

As spring hits, have a least one place on your staycation list that you have not visited before, or make it your mission to discover your home town or city one weekend.  

Check out Expedia’s Ultimate Irish Travel Bucket List for inspiration as you plan your travel this year.

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