5 things to do this May bank holiday weekend in Northern Ireland from the Festival of Fools to Mayday Races

In 2022, the May Day bank holiday falls on Monday, May 2 - and the weather is looking promising

By Neve Wilkinson
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:37 am

Take a walk round the shops, visit the beach, head to the Mourne Mountains or the north coast, or play a round of golf.

Here are five things to do in Northern Ireland this weekend.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

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Festival of Fools

The 22nd Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival will take place between Thursday, April 28 and Sunday, May 8.

There are a number of live performances, workshops and tours taking place each day.

On April 28, you can take part in the free Dress up, Drink and Draw at Catalyst Arts between 5pm and 8pm.

On April 29, Mary Ann McCracken’s Belfast walking tour will begin from Clifton House at 2pm - tickets are priced between £11.25 and £12.50.

Boxing Day racing at Down Royal

On April 30, Echo and The Bunnymen will perform in the festival marquee at Custom House Square - tickets are £25.

On May 1, Grace Petrie will be performing at The Black Box - the show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £10.

On May 2, Margo Cilker will perform at the Ulster Sports club - the show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £10.

See the full list of events and buy tickets here.

Festival of Fools

This circus and outdoor arts festival will run from Friday, April 29 to Monday, May 2.

On Friday, the opening show will begin in Writers Square at 6pm.

On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there will be over 20 shows a day across four different locations in Belfast’s cathedral quarter, between 1pm and 7pm.

The final show, each day, will take place on St Anne’s Square at 6pm.

On Sunday, May 1 there will be an adults only show - FoF After Hours - at 23 Gordon Street in Belfast.

The three astonishing shows, using trapeze, acrobatics, juggling and clowning will begin at 8pm.

Tickets are £12, and are available to buy here.

Mayday Races

On Monday, May 2 (Mayday bank holiday), Down Royal Racecourse near Lisburn will host its second race day of the year.

Tickets for the Club Mixers May Day Races are available to buy here.

The first race is at 2pm, with gates opening at noon.

General entrance tickets - which includes a complimentary race card - are £20.

Entrance to the lounges and hospitality packages start at £60 per person.

Please note: Premium Entrance and Trackside Marquee Premium Entrance tickets are now sold out.

City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival

Northern Ireland’s biggest Jazz Festival returns from Thursday, April 28 to Monday, May 2.

Live music and events will take place across the country with acts performing at The Playhouse, Foyle College, Guildhall Square, Foyleside Shopping Centre, The Thirsty Goat, The Bentley, Bishops Gate Hotel, City Hotel, Bennigans Bar and many more.

Returning after two years, the celebration will feature artists from all over the world and welcome more than 70,000 revellers.

Popular acts performing at the festival this year include Imelda May, Hyde Park Brass Band, Jumpin Up!

Thursday will see The Jice Aces, Hyde Park Brass Band, Anna Nolan Trio, Jazz Gazette, Jaydee Brass Band, Buck Taylor and Derren Brown perform.

Friday will see Matthew Crampsey, Ricky Cool & The In Crowd, Jiveoholics, Red Stripe Band, Flair, Delta Fuse and Mr Wilsons Second Liners perform.

Saturday will see Dougie Breslin Quintet, Luke Thomas & The Swing Cats, Lumen Christi Jazz Band, Harry Connolly Band, Blue Katz, Eastwood Trio and Una Dunne perform.

Sunday will see The Revolutionaries, James Anderson & Friends, Andrew Monk, Palais Swing Band, Boom Strutt Brass Band, Johnny Quigley Band, Kings of Rhythm and Wild perform.

Monday will see The Mindbenders, The Gavin Povey Band, The Ska Beats and Stephen McKeever perform.

There are also Jazz Masterclasses taking place at the Great Hall in Magee, a Steps to Jazz for the Family workshop at the Playhouse, and a dance workshop with Brian Baileyin multiple locations.

Tickets can be purchased separately for each event here.

Dox Square at Cargo

Cargo in the Titanic Quarter is hosting two all-day music events this weekend, along with a great selection of food and drinks.

From 2pm on April 30, Lovely Laura and her DJ husband Ben Santiago will take over Cargo for an afternoon of live saxophone and house music.

At 5pm, Cool FM’s Pete Snodden will take to the stage - followed by Stevie Simpson and Nigel Boyce.

From 2pm to 11pm on May 1, award winning DJ, Roger Sanchez, will take over Cargo for a day of music.

He will be joined by Col Hamilton, Alfie Gold, Neal McClelland, Ubblahkan and Midknight Thieves.

General admission for one day of the event will be £25, with a weekend ticket costing £50 (plus booking fees).