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Travel & Tourism

First Ever Tafelta Festival This August!

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake is pictured launching the first ever Tafelta Festival, which will take place in Magherafelt from 10-12 August, with Mark Stewart, Chair of Magherafelt Town Centre Forum.

The first ever Tafelta Festival, the ancient name for Magherafelt, will take place in the town centre next month. The 2-day music and entertainment event will take place in Magherafelt from 10-12 of August.

The event, which has been organised by Mid Ulster District Council in partnership with Magherafelt Town Centre Forum and local hospitality businesses, will see a selection of free family friendly entertainment in the town accompanied by entertainment in hospitality businesses throughout the weekend.

The idea for the festival came from the hospitality trade in the town following the success of last year’s Magherafelt Christmas Market.

Tafelta Festival

From Monday 6 – Friday 10 August, an Orchestra of Change Makers Project will take place from 11am – 3pm at the Bridewell where young people aged 11 – 18 can get involved in performing, producing, choreographing etc a musical piece that will then be showcased in the Bridewell on Saturday 11 August at 2pm. The project is being facilitated by Beyond Skin and delivered by experienced tutors Raphael Frank and Nikolas Petsakos.
Anyone interested in taking part should email

On Saturday 11 August free family entertainment will take place in the town centre from 12pm – 4pm including face painting, balloon modelling, street entertainment (including HipOps and Queen B and Honey B), and a street art workshop where children can experiment with graffiti and chalk art.
Drop in arts and craft workshops will also take place during the same time in Bank of Ireland.

Sunday 12 August will see a host of family entertainment including face painting, balloon modelling and special walkabouts by singing chefs circus jesters, take place at Meadowlane Shopping Centre from 1pm – 5pm.

Hospitality businesses taking part in the festival include: Mary’s Bar, Dorman’s Bar, Slims Healthy Kitchen, The Coachman, The Terrace, Ground, Brysons, The Flax, The Step Inn, Market Tavern and Meadowlane Shopping Centre.

Entertainment and Promotions

A host of entertainment and promotions will take place in the establishments over the duration of the festival including musical and dance performances, a Farmer’s Market and special food and drink promotions.

Speaking ahead of the first ever Tafelta Festival, Chair of the Council, Councillor Sean McPeake said, “I am delighted that the Council has worked closely with local hospitality businesses in Magherafelt to develop and deliver the first ever Tafelta Festival in the town this August. This is an excellent example of partnership working which will benefit the entire town and local community.

“The event will undoubtedly bring large crowds to the town allowing us to showcase the unique retail and hospitality offering Magherafelt is famed for. I look forward to experiencing the hive of activity and special buzz in the town from 10-12 August!”

Find Out more

For more information on the Tafelta Festival visit here.

Travel & Tourism

Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent Crowned at 2021 Balmoral Show

The Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent at the 2021 Balmoral Show was won by Caroline Martin from Tempo and Robert Wallace from Ballynahinch. Flower Wall kindly provided by the Blossom Lane Co, Hillsborough.

The Most Appropriately Dressed competition returned this year to the Balmoral Show and once again it proved to be a hit with visitors, with a record number of entries.

Taking place on Saturday 25th September, Cool FM’s Melissa Riddell had the difficult task of judging the Most Appropriately Dressed Lady and Gent. A range of fabulous prizes were on offer, with the overall winners of each category receiving a stylish country outfit provided by title competition sponsor Dubarry of Ireland as well as a luxury two night stay with B&B and one evening meal provided by Ireland’s Blue Book.

This year’s Most Appropriately Dressed Lady was won by Caroline Martin from Tempo while Robert Wallace from Ballynahinch was crowned the Most Appropriately Dressed Gent. Runner-up winners were Ellen Deery from Dundalk and Alan Martin from Hertfordshire.

On the day, the Flower Wall was kindly provided by the Blossom Lane Co, Hillsborough.

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Travel & Tourism

Tourism NI Equips Industry for Incentive Travel Excellence

Front (l to r): Kim Smart, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Hannah Watson, Larchfield Estate, Michael Dalton, SITE Ireland Chapter, Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI, Charlene Lourens-Griffiths, Visit Derry, Naomi Wilson, Clayton Hotel Belfast and Caitriona Lavery, Hastings Hotels. Back (l to r): Caroline Wilson, Taste & Tour, Ashleigh Hamilton, Killeavey Castle, Jennifer Michael, National Trust Giant's Causeway, Jamese McCloy, Glenshane Country Farm, Terry Kelly, Killeavey Castle, Kellie-Anne Small, Hilton Hotel Belfast, Judy Hutton, Linen Mill Studios, Jonathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast and Stephanie Sheerin, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast.

Tourism NI and The Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Ireland have joined forces to deliver an educational initiative to support the tourism industry here as it continues to recover and rebuild, and with the aim of securing business from high value tourism markets.

The Certified Incentive Specialist qualification from SITE is the first stage of a programme of activity designed to further develop the incentive tourism industry in Northern Ireland, provide networking and destination awareness opportunities, as well as equip businesses with the knowledge to deliver motivational travel experiences for future clients.

Participants included Glenshane Country Farm, Titanic Belfast, Larchfield Estate, Hilton Hotel Belfast, Linen Mill Studios, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, National Trust Giant’s Causeway, Taste & Tour, Clayton Hotel Belfast, Visit Derry, Hastings Hotels, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast and Killeavey Castle.

The partnership agreement between Tourism NI and SITE Ireland first launched in 2020 and has been extended to 2022 due to demand.

Eimear Callaghan, Business Solutions Manager at Tourism NI commented:

“We are pleased to announce the continuation of our valued partnership with SITE Ireland. This is a very challenging time for the tourism industry and our relationship with SITE offers opportunities on a global platform to promote Northern Ireland as a world class Incentive Travel destination to international clients looking for new programmes from the island of Ireland. Incentive Travel is focused on amazing experiences and through Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit, we have a range of immersive experiences well suited to this market.”

She added: “At Tourism NI, we continue to work with a range of key strategic stakeholders to position Northern Ireland as a destination of choice for MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibitions). This business is lucrative, with the average MICE delegate worth on average three times that of the leisure visitor.

“I congratulate the 15 industry representatives who successfully completed their CIS certification, and we look forward to delivering further opportunities for our industry together with SITE Ireland.”

Front (l to r): Michael Dalton, SITE Ireland Chapter, Charlene Lourens-Griffiths, Visit Derry, Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI and Caitriona Lavery, Hastings Hotels. Middle (l to r): Caroline Wilson, Taste & Tour, Naomi Wilson, Clayton Hotel Belfast, Hannah Watson, Larchfield Estate, Ashleigh Hamilton, Killeavey Castle, Kim Smart, Hillsborough Castle and Stephanie Sheerin, Fitzwilliam Hotel. Back (l to r): Jamese McCloy, Glenshane Country Farm, Terry Kelly, Killeavey Castle, Judy Hutton, Linen Mill Studios, Jennifer Michael, National Trust Giant’s Causeway, Jonathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast and Kellie-Anne Small, Hilton Hotel Belfast.

Michael Dalton, Immediate Past President, SITE Ireland, added:

“SITE Ireland is extremely grateful for the commitment of Tourism Northern Ireland to the professional development of the industry in the Incentive Sector. The Incentive Travel Industry is very niche and can be hard to grasp. The Certified Incentive Specialist Course provides all the knowledge anyone working in this sector should possess.

“It is the most lucrative segment and highest spend of all Business Tourism. Great to now have 30 Certified Incentive Specialists in Northern Ireland. This is sure to provide clients with the confidence of a destination that delivers exceptional incentive experiences, understands the value of incentive travel and is 100% incentive ready.”

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