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I'm Heather McGarrigle and this is my blog - a colourful celebration of culture, crafting and creativity in Northern Ireland and beyond.

What's On This Week: 25th November - 1st December

Can you believe it will be December by the end of the week?! No longer will we be able to roll our eyes about people getting excited about Christmas "in the middle of November". Old Saint Nick is officially on his way. Therefore, it's no surprise to see a few festive events in this week's What's On guide - and you can probably expect a few more jingle bells over the coming weeks! However, not everything is tinsel-tinged, so there's something below for you miserable Scrooges too. Bah, humbug! Monday 25th November 

Portadown (and other locations throughout week)

Arts and Older People Programme Funding Information Sessions - Meadows Day Centre, 10am. 
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland takes part in a series of roadshows this week, in Portadown, Omagh and Ballymena, to offer guidance and advice around the £1m Arts & Older People Funding Programme 2013-2016. Grants between £10,000-£30,000 are available and representatives from the Arts Council and the Public Health Agency will be on hand to offer information and advice to those wishing to make an application. The Arts & Older People Programme is now open for applications and the deadline for completed applications is 12th December at 2pm. Visit www.artscouncil-ni.org or call Lorraine Calderwood on 028 9038 5265. Today's information session takes place at 10am in Meadows Day Centre, Portadown. RSVP to Lucille.Lennon@hscni.net 
Tuesday 26th November 

Belfast

Catalyst Arts: Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art X - Golden Thread Gallery, Tue - Fri 10.30am - 5.30pm; Sat 10.30am - 4pm.

This exhibition actually started last week (16th November), but as it is on until Saturday I've included it here given that we had no What's On guide last week. It's the tenth instalment of Golden Thread Gallery’s Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art Series, a project tracking Northern Irish Art from 1945 to the present. Curated by Cherie Driver, this installment centres on Catalyst Arts, the artist led initiative established in 1992.

Wednesday 27th November

Ballymena 

Screening of Amelie - The Braid Theatre, 7pm

The much loved tale of Amelie, the Parisian waitress with a unique view on the world, justice and love. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta. Amelie (Tautou) is our heroine, but the stunning setting of Paris, the beautiful filmography and atmospheric soundtrack are also the stars of the show. Tickets are £4.00. Visit thebraid.com to buy.

Thursday 28th November

Omagh

Arts and Older People Programme Funding Information Sessions - Ulster American Folk Park, 11am.

See Monday for details. RSVP to Joni.Millar@hscni.net

Derry ~ Londonderry ~ LegenDerry

Lumiere Festival - citywide, 5.30-10pm Thurs - Sun.

A phenomenal year for the City of Culture draws to a close with a four day celebration of light. Tonight the city begins to sparkle, lit up by lightworks created by artists and designers from across the world, including Northern Ireland. The light creations will range from large-scale projections, to neons, to LED installations. Visit lumiere-festival.com for more details.

Friday 29th November

Ballymena

Arts and Older People Programme Funding Information Sessions - The Cottage Hospital, 10.30am.

See Monday for details. RSVP to Joyce.Kinnaird@hscni.net

Lisburn

Belfast Community Gospel Choir - Lisburn Cathedral, 8 - 9.30pm (doors open 7.30pm)

The larger-than-life local gospel choir bring their unique brand of uplifting, heartfelt music to Lisburn city centre on Friday night. Sing along, dance along, get up out of your chairs and join in - there's no sitting back quietly in your seat once the BCGC get the party going! Tickets are £10 and available from Lisburn City Centre Management on 028 9266 0625. There's a knees up with live music and mince pies to follow in The Favourite Bar on Bridge Street straight after, so a full night of festive fun!

Derry ~ Londonderry

Maire A Woman Of Derry - Millenium Forum, 8.30pm.

Maire (played by local actress Carmel Mc Cafferty) is foul-mouthed and feisty. But also intensely human. Armed only with her half-bottle of Mundies wine, she gives a unique account of her fall from grace from fresh faced teenage bride living in Derry’s Creggan Estate, to the pitiful condition we find her in today. In response to huge demand, Carmel Mc Cafferty has agreed to return for what will be her last ever performance of Maire a Woman of Derry after nearly twelve years playing the role. Tickets are £10 / £12 / £15 and available from milleniumforum.co.uk.

Saturday 30th November

Armagh 

Georgian Day - Armagh, 10am - 8pm

Armagh’s Georgian Day returns for its tenth year to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. See Armagh in all its festive glory as the historic City goes back to its Georgian roots. More than 70 festive stalls, hosted by traders in Georgian costume, line the narrow streets. Highlights include a Georgian Christmas market, carol singing and festive music, Georgian gentry promenading the street, horse-drawn carriage rides and children’s entertainment. Visit armagh.co.uk for more.

Lisburn

Christmas Food and Craft Fayre - The Cardan Bar and Grill, 12 - 5pm. 

'Made In Lisburn', The Cardan's Craft and Food Fayre returns for a Christmas Special from 12pm - 5pm. They aim to showcase the great and the good of local produce available on your doorstep, with food and drink demos, plus activities for the little ones too. Visit facebook.com/TheCardanBarandGrill or phone 028 9267 8065.

Kilkeel

The Dickens Festival 2013 - Kilkeel, all day

This annual festival takes place in the harbour town on the last Saturday of September, celebrating the life of author Charles Dickens. The Dickens Day Grand Giveaway is one of the highlights - if you spend over £10 in participating stores you receive a ticket for the draw, with over £1200 in prizes. The local shop keepers dress up in period costume and there is music, craft stalls, horse and carriage parade, carol singing, the Santa Charity Run, children's entertainment as well as food and drink sampling in the local shops. Visit Kilkeel.org or visitkilkeel.com

Sunday 1st December

Warrenpoint 

The Yuletide Fayre - Warrenpoint Municipal Park, 12 - 6pm.

Wrap up warm and get into the festive spirit, stroll through the park and enjoy local homemade cakes and foods, arts and crafts, and purchase unique Christmas gifts. Visit wbrchamber.co.uk.

What's On This Week: 2nd to 8th December

PQ Q&A: Author, illustrator and designer Helena Duggan

PQ Q&A: Author, illustrator and designer Helena Duggan