The weather may not have been kind but there are scores of events taking place over the bank holiday weekend, writes LAURA MURPHY
n STRANGFORD: Easter at the Barn, Castle Ward, until April 7. Join in the Easter fun at the Barn at Castle Ward for children’s craft activities, table top games, kiddies’ ride-on tractors, a sandpit and a farmyard trail.
n LISNASKEA: Easter Eggstreme Egg Hunt and Bunny Cruise, Share Village, until Monday. Hunt for the Easter bunnies in this orienteering egg hunt before enjoying a cruise aboard the bunny boat with balloon modelling, face painting, Easter egg hunt, games and prizes.
n MONEYMORE: Easter Eggcentricities, Springhill House, Sunday and Monday. Join Springhill for two fun-packed days of Easter fun with an egg trail, face painting, craft activities and fun for all the family.
n ENNISKILLEN: Picnic in the Park, Forthill Park, Monday. Bring along your Easter picnic to Forthill and explore and discover this beautiful Victorian park with music, an egg trail and family games.
n BELFAST: 2013 is the 400th anniversary of the 1613 charter which granted Belfast town status. The charter was signed by James I on April 27, 1613, and marked the beginning of civic governance in Belfast. The Belfast 400 Easter Festival is one of a series of events taking place in 2013 that will mark the year and look at its impact on Belfast as we know it today. Here are some of the events happening as part of the festival:
l Easter treasure hunt, Belfast City Hall, Saturday (tomorrow) and Sunday, 11am-5pm. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Track down Mr Bunny Rabbit who will start you on your way with our Easter-themed scavenger hunt through Belfast City Hall.
l Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. Take an unforgettable Nearly True tour of Belfast City Hall, meeting captivating yet eccentric characters along the way. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Free event. Tickets available from the Belfast Welcome Centre.
l Mr Hullaballoo’s Springtime Storybook, Saturday and Sunday, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Children will be invited to take part in a series of interactive story adventures combining a little fairytale magic and captivating adventure.
l Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Monday and Tuesday, 1pm and 3pm. Fairy cakes and tea, balloons and games make this celebration one that should not be missed.
l Caricature drawings, Great Hall, City Hall, Saturday and Monday, 12-4pm.
l Live music in Belfast City Hall’s Great Hall, Saturday and Sunday, 2-4pm, Monday and Tuesday 11.30am-1.30pm. From the tunes of the ancient harpers and Vivaldi through to compositions of the 21st century; from traditional reels and jigs to the music played aboard the Titanic, this broad programme embraces much at the core of the city’s musical history.
l Dance demonstrations, Great Hall, City Hall, Monday and Tuesday, 2-4pm. From the Charleston to the jitterbug, ballroom to Latin fever, be amazed as the dancers take to the floor.
l Crafty workshops, Great Hall, Saturday-Tuesday, 11am-5pm. Map it out: take part in a map quest and plan out Belfast how you see it. Using pens, paper and sticky glue, get to grips with town planning and create a new Belfast.
l No festival would be complete without face painters, balloon modellers and walkabout acts – catch them each day from 12-4pm.
l Character and Craic Animation Workshop, Reception Hall, Sunday, 11am. Make your own Belfast-themed short animation.
l 400 Years of Belfast interactive event: Timeline Belfast. Tuesday. This interactive family experience, delivered by Wen Theatre, will feature costumed performers portraying Belfast at various times during its history. Part quiz, part performance, this is a unique approach to exploring history that’s fun for everyone.
l Titanic Belfast – History of Belfast Harbour by journalist and author Alf McCreary, Saturday. Learn about the colourful and dramatic history of Belfast harbour where Titanic, Olympic, Canberra and many other ships were built.
l Festival Bus Tours: John Hewitt Tour, departs from the John Hewitt pub on Donegall Street, Saturday and Monday at 2pm. This tour, including a visit to the Ulster Museum, visits places associated with his life, accompanied by readings of his poetry. Tour lasts two hours. Belfast Music Tour, departs from Ulster Hall, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, 12.30pm. Tour lasts around two hours.
l Vintage Car Display, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm. City Hall grounds and city centre. Members of the Banbridge Old Vehicle Club will be revving up their engines to put on a display of vehicles.
l Easter Special City Food and Craft Market, Saturday 9am-3pm, St George’s Market. Enjoy the best food, tastes and smells from local producers as well as a fusion of tempting speciality foods from around the globe, handmade crafts, flowers, plants and local artwork. For younger visitors there will be free children’s face painting and a surprise guest.
n BELFAST: Ordinary to Iconic at The MAC. As part of the Andy Warhol exhibition the MAC will host a cool drama-based workshop where children can use fun props to discover what it feels like to become an icon. Saturday, £5 per child, accompanying adults go free. Contact 028 9023 5053.
n BELFAST: As part of Castle Court’s Easter celebrations CastleCourt will host a fun Easter chocolate workshop on Tuesday 4th April from 12-4pm. In addition to this sweet event CastleCourt has arranged a weekend full of free family entertainment with complimentary face painting available From Good Friday until Easter Tuesday from 1-5pm and an ‘egg-stra’ special Easter egg hunt on Monday 1st April when the whole family can get involved and search for Easter treats throughout the centre. For more details on these events and more visit CastleCourt’s Customer Relations desk, check the website www.castlecourt-uk.com or like the facebook page www.facebook.com/CastleCourtBelfast
n BELFAST: Waterworks Bird Club. Have a cheep cheep morning at the Waterworks Bird Club. Join the bird club on the last Saturday of each month from 9.30am to 11.30am and learn all about the wonderful world of our feathered friends from mist netting and bird habitats to the migration patterns of birds in the Waterworks Parks. There will also be up-close encounters with birds of prey. Waterworks Park, Saturday, 9.30-11.30am.
n CULTRA: Easter celebrations at Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The whole family can work off all those Easter eggs with the wide range of activities on offer. Bring your own decorated egg and take part in the great egg-rolling experience down Bleach Green Hill. Have a go at the Great Egg Trail in the Folk Museum and the Eggstreme Egg Hunt in the Transport Museum. From Sunday-Tuesday, 10am-5pm. Adults £8.50; Children (five-17 years old) £5; Family Ticket (two adults and up to three children) £23. Contact 028 9042 8428.
n BELFAST: Jurasegg Park at W5. W5’s little egg critters are back for some Easter family fun. They just love to plan their escape and this year they are going to need help to escape the jaws of doom in the dinosaur-themed, obstacle-filled Jurassic track. Runs until April 7. Contact 028 9046 7700.
n BELFAST: There’s a packed programme of events lined up over the Easter break at Titanic Belfast, including the attraction’s first birthday. From ‘get the message’ workshops learning about traditional communications methods to Easter egg decorating to dance displays and singing performances, there’s plenty to entertain all the family. From Saturday until April 7. Contact 028 9076 6384.
n BELFAST: Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress for a steam train adventure to Whitehead. Steam railway trips offer the perfect day out for families, providing nostalgia for adults and great fun for children, with a free Easter egg for every ticket-holding child. The round trip from Belfast Central Station to Whitehead Excursion Station takes just under two hours. Monday and Tuesday from 12 noon and 2.30pm. Price: £11 (one fare for all). Tickets are available from Belfast Welcome Centre, 028 9024 6609.
n BELFAST: For those families who prefer some outdoors fun then a visit to Streamvale Open Farm is perfect and the farm reopens for spring with its Baby Animal Farm, from now until April 7.
n GLENARM: Join in the fun at the Easter Egg Trail in association with Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory on April 1, which takes visitors on an exploration through Glenarm Castle Walled Garden in the search for clues to claim a chocolate prize. Children will be helped in their chocolatey quest by none other than the Easter Bunny himself.
n ARMAGH: Armagh gets in on the action this Easter too with the exciting and unique Three Little Pigs @ Navan event (until April 2). Visit the three little pigs in their houses made from straw, wood and stone and see what will happen when the big bad wolf comes calling. Children are encouraged to come dressed up as their favourite story-time characters.
n LIMAVADY: Celebrate Easter in Limavady with the Roe Valley Easter Storytelling and Crafts event which takes place tomorrow at the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre. This is suitable for children aged five to nine years old and admission is free.
n MONEYMORE: Easter events at Springhill House in Moneymore on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday include lots of activities for children, including an egg trail, crafts, balloons and face painting.
n DOWNHILL: Children young and old can get outdoors and celebrate Easter at Downhill Demesne on Sunday and Monday, where they can play detective by hunting high and low for clues around the beautiful surroundings of Mussenden Temple, which will lead them to a delicious chocolate treat.
n CO DOWN: Get on a roll this Easter with lots of events and activities at Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre’s Giant Easter Bunny Hunt (until April 7). Follow the maps and clues provided and search for the large coloured bunnies hidden around the site. As well as picking up one of the many prizes children can also leave their mark on the bunny board and make free bunny crafts.
n STRANGFORD: The Easter fun continues at Castle Ward with the annual Easter Fair on Sunday and Monday, which boasts horse and carriage rides, children’s activities, local crafts and food.
n BANGOR: Bangor promises to come alive on Easter Monday with the Easter Parade and Family Funday, jam-packed with activities and attractions for the whole family including a giant birthday cake to mark Bangor’s 400th birthday.
n SAINTFIELD: Follow the Easter Chick Trail in Rowallane Garden in Saintfield on Tuesday from 10.30am-3pm and explore the nooks and crannies around the beautiful garden while following the clues to find an Easter surprise.
n ENNISKILLEN: Join in the Easter Madness at Castle Coole in Enniskillen on Easter Sunday for a day of treats and fun for all the family.
n ENNISKILLEN: This weekend sees the Easter Sunday Treasure Trails at Florence Court take place, where visitors can enjoy a great day out around the grounds following the trails for hidden chocolate treasure.
n NEWTOWNBUTLER: Crom Castle in Newtownbutler gets in on the action on Sunday with a children’s Easter Egg Trail, where they can follow paths around the estate to find chocolate prizes.
n ENNISKILLEN: Enjoy a Picnic in the Park on Easter Monday as Forthill Park welcomes families to explore the beautiful Victorian park while enjoying music, an Easter egg trail and family games.
n OMAGH: Easter celebrations are taking place at the Ulster American Folk Park on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This special Easter event offers a host of traditional outdoor activities for all the family including butter churning, basket weaving, spinning and rope-making. Visitors can also roll up their sleeves to help feed baby chicks, participate in the egg ’n’ spoon race and join the toe-tapping fun at the spring hoedown in the Pennsylvania Barn.
n DUNGANNON: Anglers can show off their skills and compete in the special Easter Monday Angling Competition where the first prize of £150 is sure to put a spring in your step.
All events accurate at time of publication. Please be sure to contact the locations mentioned here directly to check the event is still happening.