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Dalriada Festival at Glenarm, Co. Antrim

Bank Holiday Entertainment in Northern Ireland

There is plenty going on around Northern Ireland this Bank Holiday weekend to keep the whole family entertained.  Here are just some of our top picks.

Twelfth of JulyHead along to one of the Twelfth of July Festivities and Parades, where the Orange Order gather to march and celebrate their culture.  The City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge will host a Flagship event this year, where historical characters will create a unique atmosphere in the city associated with the famous siege of 1688 - 1699.

Taking place the following day, 13 July, the Scarva Sham Fight in County Down is an annual re-enactment of the battle of the Boyne of 1690, and is a colourful and memorable day out for all the family.  Come along and watch the annual clash between King William and King James and the massive procession through the picturesque village. 

Along the Newry CanalWhile you're there why not enjoy a stroll along the Newry Canal Way and stop for a light bite at Scarva Visitor Centre




Belfast City centre will come alive on 12 July with the return of Festival in an Afternoon, courtesy of Festival of Fools.  Kids and grown-ups will be treated to four hours of free, non-stop street theatre, with a host of hilarious characters.  There will also be cookery demonstrations and a food market on the lawns of City Hall.  Shops and eateries in the city centre will open as normal too, so there's every reason to head into town this Friday.

Castle Ward, Co. DownFor a fun day out for the kids, head to the Pirates' Picnic at Castle Ward, Strangford, also on 12 July.  Come in your best pirate costume and join the treasure hunt, play Tug o' War on the front lawn, or have a go at making your own Jolly Roger .  Also at Castle Ward, the Couples' Aventure Day run by Clearsky Adventure Centre on Saturday 13 July is a great chance for you and your partner to try out some exciting new activities, such as archery, canoeing and orienteering.

On the other side of Strangford Lough, the annual Portaferry Gala Week (13 - 19 July) begins over the weekend with plenty going on for all the family.  Activities include children's entertainment, a scavenger hunt, vintage tractor gathering, fishing competition, paper boat race and live music.

Also kicking off for the weekend is the ever popular Lady of the Lake Festival in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh (11 - 21 July).  Attractions include a live BBC Radio Ulster broadcast with Hugo Duncan and top Irish country artists, a streety party featuring train rides around the town on the Drumhoney Flyer and a Water Extravaganza Fun Day at nearby Castle Archdale.

Carrickfergus Castle, Co. AntrimHistory lovers and families alike should head along to Carrickfergus for the Siege of Carrickfergus Re-enactment on 13 July.  Soldiers in period costume will bring to life this famous episode in Irish history, followed by a pageantry parade to meet King William upon his landing.


Alternatively, head up the coast to the Dalriada Festival in the shadow of Glenarm Castle (13 - 20 July).  Over the Bank Holiday weekend there will be the spectacle of the ever-popular Highland Games plus fine foods,, arts and crafts in the Walled Garden, vintage displays, children's entertainment, live music and dancing, helicopter pleasure flights and much more.

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