Schools out for summer - and there’s so much to do

The Auld Lammas Fair, is held annually in Ballycastle and is Ireland's oldest traditional market fair, with horse trading, street entertainment and market stalls
The Auld Lammas Fair, is held annually in Ballycastle and is Ireland's oldest traditional market fair, with horse trading, street entertainment and market stalls

Summer is here and as prepared as you think you are many parents will still be scratching their heads, trying to think of ways to entertain and amuse their families over the long break.

However they needn’t worry as Tourism Northern Ireland has come up with a list of fun, exciting events which are available during the summer, so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff.

Tourism NI’s destination PR officer, Pauline Gormley explains why groups of friends and families won’t be stuck for ways to keep busy: “From family fun days and walking tours to nature reserves and Tall Ships there are events to suit everyone all over Northern Ireland this summer.

‘‘Families can create some fantastic memories and even if the sun doesn’t shine, there is still lots of laughter and fun to be had. So pack a picnic, jump in the car and get ready for a summer of fun. Why not use one of the events as an excuse to book a long weekend or short break away as with such a wide variety of hotels and B&B’s to choose from you are bound to find a great deal,” added Pauline.

Tourism Northern Ireland has outlined a list of exciting events to get involved in this summer:

*Family Funday in aid of NI Hospice, Bloomfield Shopping Centre, Bangor, Co Down, July 4.

Join in the fun at Bloomfield Shopping Centre in Bangor for an exciting and fun-filled day for all the family. There will be lots of activities including face-painting, balloon modelling, sweet treats and a Jumping Clay workshop.

Cuilcagh Mountain Jeep Safari, Florencecourt, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, July 4. Families can jump onboard one of the Geopark Landrovers and explore the stunning scenery of Cuilcagh Mountain Park. Ranging from the rugged upland cliffs to weathered limestone landscapes, the safari is the perfect chance to experience and explore this stunning mountain region. Not suitable for under 12’s.

*Ranger Round Up, Springhill, Moneymore, Co Londonderry, July 5.

Join Rudy – Ranger on an exciting exploration of Springhill. Make mud pies, set up a snail race, find a mini beast or explore the many nature trails.

*Big Butterfly Count, Aghalee, Co Antrim, July 25.

In the summer months, the RSPB’s Portmore Lough reserve becomes all a flutter with beautiful butterflies. Join the Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland to explore the reserve and learn more about the science behind these beautiful creatures as well as how to identify and record species.

*Share Inishcruiser Sailing, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, July 5 – August 30.

Every Sunday in July and August Share’s Inishcruiser sets sail at 10.30am and again at 2.30pm giving you and your family the chance to soak up the beautiful surroundings of Lough Erne.

*Longline Surf School Kids Big Day Out, Benone Strand, Limavady, August 14.

Let the kids enjoy a fantastic day on the beach which will include surfing in the morning, swimming in the afternoon and fun beach games throughout the day.

*Going Batty, Castle Caldwell Forest Park, Co Fermanagh, August 21.

Join staff from the Northern Ireland Bat Group and discover more about bats in their natural environment.

*Outdoor Concert, Recreation Grounds, Ramore Head, Portrush, Co Antrim, August 8.

Enjoy a summer evening in Portrush listening to a free concert and watching the firework display beside the sea.

*Lap the Lough, Lough Neagh, Co Tyrone, August 30.

If you are up for a challenge then why not try Lap the Lough which is an annual, not for profit cycle event around Lough Neagh which attracts up to 2,000 cyclists each year.

Fermanagh County Show, Exhibition & Auction Centre Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, August 4-5. Fermanagh’s premier agricultural event attracts 10,000 visitors from across Ireland, the UK and further afield.

*Kite Festival Downhill Demesne, Castlerock, Derry~Londonderry, August 2.

Families are sure to enjoy an afternoon of high flying fun on this stunning coastal estate as well as kite shows, craft village, exhibitors, inflatables, helicopter rides, quad pod rides, Wild Geese Display team (weather permitting) and much more.

*B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight, Newcastle, Co. Down, August 8.

Come along to enjoy amazing air displays, exhibitions, live music, street entertainment as well as children’s entertainment, a military vehicle display and Artisan Food Village.

The 2015 B/E Aerospace Festival of Flight is due to take place on Saturday 8th August 2015 with amazing air displays, exhibitions, live music, street entertainment and so much more.

*Secret Garden Exhibition, Craft Village, Londonderry, now until August 31. The Secret Garden outdoor exhibition will include a wire wish tree, a flock of birds flying under a canopy, felt floxgloves and morning glory flowers as well unexpected knitted creations.

*Belfast Mela, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Co. Antrim, August 30.

Explore the sights, sounds and smells of the world at Mela, a unique global get-together and an opportunity to enjoy music, dance, food, fashion, cuisine and lots of community celebrations.

Set across the magnificent settings of Botanic Gardens, the Mela celebrates Belfast at it’s best and is a perfect way to round off your summer in the city!

*The Secret Swamp, Castle Espie, Newtownards, Co. Down

The Secret Swamp at Castle Espie is the perfect destination for a day out as children can choose from a range of fun activities including a secret hide out, a pixie phone musical clearing, magical toadstool glade and a tall tree house. Active play features include a clamber web, sweet track balance beams over a mucky marsh, a zip wire, tree swing, wobbly bridge and swamp stomp stepping stones.

Explore the sights, sounds and smells of the world at Mela, a unique global get-together with tens of thousands of people enjoying music, dance, food, fashion, cuisine and lots of community celebrations.