Belfast Telegraph

On the grapevine - December 8


Sacred and secular song for christmas

Concert goers can enjoy an evening of scared and secular song when The Phoenix Choir performs in Newtownards next week (Friday, December 17).

The sound of the mixed choir, with its varied voices and repertoire, will bring a festive feel to Ards Arts Centre for its annual Christmas concert, with mulled wine and mince pies also on offer.

Originally formed in 1936 and known as the Ormiston Choir until the death of its founder in 1988, the current choir may have changed its name to represent new beginnings, but has continued to flourish under the talented leadership of new musical director Dr Emma Gibbins. Emma is also director of music at St George’s, works as a piano and organ tutor at a number of Belfast schools and as a piano accompanist at Queen's University.


Story and song for the glens

Bangor Carnegie Storytellers welcomes Feargal Lynn to Bangor Carnegie Library on Thursday, December 16, at 8pm.

Feargal is a traditional storyteller from Cushendall and has been singing songs and sharing stories old and new from the Glens of Antrim and beyond for over 20 years.

Feargal has been a guest on Downtown Radio’s Country Ceile as well as contributing to The John Kelly Show on BBC Radio Ulster in the Nineties. He took part in the Sperrins Storytelling Festival in 2006.

Feargal will entertain his audience with an evening of stories and songs from his native Glens of Antrim. Everyone is welcome. Admission is £5 and booking is advisable.

Contact Bangor Carnegie Library, tel: 029 9127 0591 or email:


Care to join a networking group set up by Bangor artists and creatives to share your ideas, opportunities and have a bit of banter? Anyone can join, all are welcome and you don’t need to live in Bangor, (though it does help for the monthly meets.)

The group try to meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays (hence firsty) of the month for a pint, or a coffee, or a pint of coffee at The Rabbit Rooms in Bangor — whatever tickles your fancy.

It's up to members to organise themselves, using their Facebook group

There's a monthly emailed newsletter, written by a different member each issue. It's about being friendly and getting us all out of the house!

So welcome. Join in. Have fun. And be nice. To join the Facebook group type in ‘Firsty?’ into your Facebook search engine. |


Streamvale christmas

STREAMVALE Farm’s Christmas Experience is a huge hit every year, with Santa drawing great crowds to his cosy cottage.

The fun starts with a ride in the big Tractor and Trailer, where an elf tells an exciting story about Santa and Rudolph.

Then head off for a walk through the trees to find deer and past the life-sized nativity scene and round the farmyard with its Christmas animals. Next, go into the Santa Barn to make reindeer food to take home for Christmas Eve and then pop in to see Santa and get your pressie.

It’s a fully guided tour and lasts one hour. You need to wrap up warm and don’t forget to bring your camera for lots of wonderful memories.

Streamvale Farm, at 38 Ballyhanwood Road, Dundonald, is open from December 1 to 23 for groups and parties. Family bookings are the first two weekends and then from December to 23 from 2pm to 7pm. Adults £6, children £9. For details call 9048 3244.


Free christmas gift for cat owners

Attention all Belfast cat owners, give your cat the gift of neutering this Christmas — for free

From Wednesday, December 1, Cats Protection, the UK’s leading feline welfare charity is offering all Belfast cat owners the unique opportunity to have their cat neutered completely free of charge. The offer is open to all residents living within the BT1-BT16 postcode region and will run for a limited time only — so it’s ‘first come, first served’ if you want to take full advantage of the charity’s yuletide generosity.

Northern Ireland campaigns manager for Cats Protection, Janice Watt, said “Last year alone, our small adoption centre received approximately 1,000 calls a week requesting assistance with unwanted cats and kittens — this is a totally unmanageable and the only solution is to neuter.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for cat owners to get their cats neutered during these difficult times, especially in the run up to Christmas. It’s the kindest gift a cat owner can give to their cat as it has so many practical and physical benefits for them.”

For more info, contact their Neutering Hotline on 08458 734780 or visit their website

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph