Sunday, 26 June 2016

Vermillion tunes and Folktown fun


I am back with more tales of local shenanigans in Norn Iron and would like to recommend a new live music night in Lisburn's most rocking eaterie - Café Vermillion.

Friday 24th was the inaugural Vermillion Nights live music night at the quirky Castle street coffee spot - a laid-back affair with a BYOB policy, complimentary chips upon arrival (almost took me back to the heady glory days of The Venue!) and plenty of local talent, ably hosted by comedian Donny Kingston.

Local musicians Jamie Mehaffy, Matthew and Jordan AKA the newly christened Identity Crisis, the absurdly talented Amy Montgomery (some pipes on her! You can catch her performing at Sunflowerfest in August 🌻) and the atmospheric Black Mono treated us to a mix of original songs and a range of covers from artists as diverse as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, T-Rex, Johnny Cash and Nirvana

The assorted attendees were a young and enthusiastic bunch and hopefully as word spreads of this initiative in the otherwise quiet spot of Lisburn (which tends to resemble a ghost town at night) it will attract more and more music lovers in search of new sounds!

Searching for the new sound..

The next Vermillion Nights event takes place on 15th July so support your local scene and check it out ( I also highly recommend their afternoon tea if you are in the area before then!) 🍰☕🍵

On a different note, if you are free this Friday (1st July) and haven't yet made it along to Belfast's Folktown Market in Bank Square (outside Kelly's Cellars) then this is the perfect opportunity as they will be celebrating Canada Day with live hockey, music and a variety of stalls including Canadian delicacy Poutine.

Why not pop along and see what it is all aboot eh? (sorry, had to be done!)
The market this Friday runs from 5pm - 9pm so is a perfect start to the weekend.

Check back soon, when I will have a run down from my upcoming trip to Rathlin Island and info on some more summer festivities! 🌞

Kirsty Woo x

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Food, forests, films and fundraisers!

Hello again,

I am back with news of some more Northern Irish events coming up soon which have grabbed my attention - maybe they will be of interest to you too :)

As part of the N.I Year of Food & Drink Queens University will be holding QUB Food Markets, open to all, with the next date falling on Friday 17th June.
Pop along at lunchtime to sample a variety of cuisines including crepes, pizza, Tapas and coffee, yum! The market takes place outside Elmwood Hall.

Next - on more of an Eco-Warrior note, I am sure most of you have by now heard about the controversial Infrastrata drill taking place near Woodburn Reservoir and the community resistance against the environmental impact this will cause.
Peaceful protesters have organised Water Pressure: Stop the Drill weekend which takes place on Sat 18th and Sun 19th June.
A family-friendly event to gather together, spread the word and appreciate the beauty of Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus, with music and fun for the kids.
More details are available here

Also taking place on Sunday 19th, Seventh Heaven Yoga will be celebrating the Summer Solstice with Tessa Greer of the Sound Healing Spa, with a *free* guided meditation to welcome in the sun in the stunning surroundings of Minnowburn Terrace Garden near the Giants Ring - a powerful spot! 
To book your free spot and receive further details click here

Fans of Studio Ghibli will rejoice at the range of films being shown this month by Queens Film Theatre, including new release When Marnie was there.
Classics Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are being shown on the 19th and 26th respectively - the perfect Sunday treat!
Tickets are just four measly pounds so what are you waiting for?

If you read my previous post about The Big Lunch with regards to Wildflower Alley, you will know it is a movement all about community and another of my favourite haunts - Giro's Café at the Warzone Centre - is getting in on the action with their own Big Lunch event on Wednesday 22nd June.

The original Giro's was founded back in the 80's as a shared space for veggie food/rehearsal space/all-ages live venue and I spent a sizeable portion of my misspent youth at gigs and club nights in the 90's incarnation of the centre near the Art College.

In more recent times the centre returned, in a revamped format, on Bruce Street in Belfast (or to those of a certain vintage "behind where The Venue once was") and thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers it has been serving up delicious and creative food - all vegan and including plenty of cakes - on a pay what you can basis.
Well worth checking out - the photo below is from my most recent excursion there and it was followed by toasted pitta bread and plenty of delicious cakes :)

Not vegan or veggie? No worries! Despite popular stereotypes nobody will try to harass or convert you, you may just discover some tasty meat-free DIY recipes to try out or adapt for your own tastes at home.

You will certainly be made to feel welcome and your donations will keep the this not-for-profit social centre running.
For more info on the Big Lunch event on the 22nd, keep up-to-date here.

I was excited to hear that another of my favourite independent eateries Vermillon Café in Lisburn - purveyors of classic tunes and enormous afternoon teas, see below for proof - are starting up a live music night as of 24th June - watch this space for more details!

Finally - animal lovers will want to support the Summer Fair at The Donkey Sanctuary in Templepatrick on Saturday 2nd July!
The event runs from 10am - 2pm and will feature craft stalls, a bouncy castle and a chance to meet and support the four legged rescued residents <3
The sanctuary can be found on Ballymartin road, BT39 0BS.

Until next time - nanu nanu! Kirsty Woo x

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Adventures in the Urban Jungle

I wanted to share with you today my experience of visiting Wildflower Alley in South Belfast, as part of the annual Big Lunch celebrations.

The Big Lunch is a simple idea, founded by The Eden Project in 2009, to encourage communities to come together and share food, drink and a bit of Craic!

Their mission is to connect people and many groups and venues across the UK braved the rain this weekend to do just that - with local events including a Steampunk picnic at Belfast City Hall and get together at Ballyeamon Barn hostel in Cushendall.

My friend Susan alerted me to the fact that the residents of Wildflower Alley were holding such a gathering and I jumped at the chance to attend!

Wildflower Alley refers to a communal alley in the Holylands area of South Belfast that was revamped last year by a group of residents who wanted to create something beautiful and foster a sense of pride and community.

Usually access to this magical place is for residents only so it was a wonderful opportunity to pop along and get a sense of the place.

When we arrived I was not disappointed - bright colours and friendly faces welcomed us to a street party, with salads, cakes and pots of tea galore!

Everywhere I turned something happy caught my eye - inspiring murals, colourful (and importantly non-tribal!) bunting criss-crossing the path,  handmade mobiles and upcycled materials surrounded by herbs and flowers.

All manner of items are now home to plants, including wellies, cups, wooden pallets and even a washing machine drum!

Entertainment was even provided with live music from harpist Marie Burns and storytelling by Eamon Keenan - a very engaging chap that I could have chatted to for hours about the Wee Folk. 

We were made to feel very welcome by the local residents, including some four-legged ones such as Monty the cat :) 
They told us that the plantlife has been attracting birds, bees and butterflies to the area. 

I had been curious about Wildflower Alley since hearing about it last year and in spite of the inclement weather, it more than lived up to my expectations.

The area is a cheery breath of fresh air in an often grey and divided landscape and shows what a group with a goal can achieve - hopefully it will inspire similar initiatives elsewhere.

Do pop back in a couple of days to learn more about some upcoming events in Norn Iron - Kirsty Woo x

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


Hello and welcome to my new blog - basically a place where I will share details of upcoming events that catch my eye, along with write ups of my experiences out and about!

The month of June sees plenty of cool goings on, starting with the Paper Meadows at QUB - a collaboration between the RSPB Northern Ireland  (celebrating their 50 year anniversary) and Belfast Print Workshop.
Make the most of the sunshine and pop along to the lawns at Queens to take in the sights and hopefully be inspired to help nature!
The paper flowers will be in place until Sunday 12th and the wildflower seeds within the paper will be planted by local schools later this year.

(Pic from

Also happening this week, pop into the Cancer Research shop on Botanic Avenue on Friday 10th for a Cosplay Tutorial! Between 1pm and 3.30pm they will be dispensing tips and tricks for putting together the fantasy outfit of your dreams on a budget - perfect for Q-Con the following week! 

Plant and Play wildlife gardens in Bangor are holding fairy themed workshops throughout June, where Littlies can create their own fairy garden masterpieces - I want to go!! To make things even more exciting, they have a resident hedgehog! 
For booking info visit

On a similar note, for a fairy woodland experience in the heart of West Belfast you must check out the latest additions to Colin Glen Forest Park - following on from the success of their Gruffalo trail the park has now become home to many adorable little fairy doors! 
Well worth a trip plus entry is free! The park is open every day this month bar 26th June.
Below are some pics from my adventure there over Easter:

11th June sees the return of the always entertaining Bee Curious event at Oxford Island, near Craigavon.
Pop along to the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre to see traditional crafts in action, buy some locally made ethical produce, chat to the folks from the NI Bat Group and maybe even meet a giant bee!🐝

If you are of an alternative persuasion and fancy journeying a little further afar then why not head along to the annual Freak Picnic in Dublin's fair city?
Head to St Stephen's Green for 2pm this Saturday to rub shoulders with fellow goths, punks, hippies and those who defy labels under the shade of a big tree - bring something tasty and a sense of adventure. 

Saturday 25th sees two exciting festival events in Northern Ireland - sadly I will miss both due to work but I want to share the love (the whole gist of this blog really) so let me know if you make it along to Our Back Yard in Gilford or the Beat Carnival in Belfast's Ormeau Park.

The former is a new one-day festival on Plantation road and features local talent including Wookalily and The Hardchargers in a blissful rural setting. 
Tickets cost £15 and are available from

Meanwhile Ormeau Park will be transformed into Belfast Carnival Village for the day - a riot of colour and music with samba, puppets and fun for all! 

Happy trails and do check back to see what else is coming up, Kirsty Woo xx