Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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Christmas gift guide 2016

Thursday 15th December 2016 at 10am 0 Comments Visual Arts , Literature , Drama , Northern Ireland Music , Craft

Tickets to live performances, exclusive artworks and new albums by local artists including pianist Ruth McGinley could well be finding their way into your stocking this Christmas. Image: Tickets to live performances, exclusive artworks and new albums by local artists including pianist Ruth McGinley could well be finding their way into your stocking this Christmas.

Treat your loved ones this festive season by buying local and support your local artists at the same time. We have rounded up some ideas below for that all important perfect present created by local artists.

Give something crafty from Space CRAFT.   Located at the Fountain Centre, Belfast, everything in this Aladdin’s cave of craft is made by designer-makers from across Northern Ireland.  From hand-woven willow baskets, precious handmade jewellery, thrown pottery, blown glass and hand-woven textiles, there’s something for everyone.

Prepared to be enchanted by the music of award-winning classical pianist from Derry and Arts Council ACES awardee, Ruth McGinley, who released her debut album of classical and contemporary music, ‘Reconnections’, earlier this year to great acclaim.  Prices start at £7.99 - £13.70, shop at

Bookworms will love The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir, by Arts Council ACES supported writer, Lesley Allen.  This is a compelling read by the Bangor-based writer, with an overarching story of the consequences of bullying for both the victim and the bully.  Published by Twenty7 and available from all good bookshops priced £7.99.

Continue the cheery festivities into January with tickets to see the panto Cinderella at Belfast’s Grand Opera House featuring much-loved local lass, May McFetridge, and star of stage and screen, Gareth Gates. Continues until 15th January 2017 with tickets priced from £18-£24.

Another great stocking filler is, The Glass Shore, a collection of short stories by women writers from the Northern Ireland, edited by Sinéad Gleeson and published by New Island Books. £15.99 from all good bookshops.

Currently one of the North’s most acclaimed musical acts, Malojian, released their third album, ‘This is Nowhere’, in the autumn.  The album was recorded in Chicago with support from the Arts Council  and produced by Steve Alibini, the musical maestro who has worked with Nirvana, The Pixies, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page to name-drop a few!  Get it now,  £10-£16.99, 

Treat someone to a night at the opera with tickets to see award-winning company, Northern Ireland Opera, who present black comedy, Powder Her Face, at the Lyric Theatre, 27-29 January 2017, £15-£20.

Outstandingly talented Belfast pianist, Michael McHale, released his debut concerto album, Irish Piano Concertos, in September to rave reviews. Recorded with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, it’s the perfect soundtrack to share with a loved one over a festive mulled wine. Available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify starting at £8.99.

The marvellous, Out to Lunch Festival, returns with another fabulous feast of arts and culture from 6-29 January with comedy, literature and music all on the menu.  Visit for info and tickets starting at a pocket-friendly £6.50.

One of Ireland’s leading singer-songwriter’s, Glen Hansard, gives a special acoustic performance at the recently opened, Heaney HomePlace, in Bellaghy on Saturday 14th January.  Tickets are available at alongside a wonderful programme of music, talks, exhibitions and literature events inspired by the late, great Nobel prize-winning poet.


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