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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: 2nd to 8th December

Now that December is here, it's no surprise to see more and more Christmas events on the schedule, but there is also music, art and crafts to enjoy - albeit some with a festive twist! Have fun this week whatever you get up to, and let me know if there is anything I've missed this week so I can update the guide.

Monday 2nd December

Belfast 

Belfast's Winter Wonderland - Custom House Square, 30th November - 5th January.

Skate under the stars in the massive open air ice rink at Custom House Square – the first of its kind in Belfast. There are Christmas family rides and attractions, snacks, hot chocolate, mulled wine, Christmas souvenirs and lots more. Open every day (except Christmas Day) - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am - 8pm and Thursday, Friday, Saturday and school holidays 10am - 10pm; Sunday 12pm - 8pm. Entry to the Winter Wonderland is free; tickets for ice skating can be purchased on the day subject to availability, or online at least 24 hours in advance. See the ticket section of the website for more.

Lisburn

Materials, Messages and Meanings - R-Space Gallery, 30th Nov - 21st December.

This group exhibition began on Saturday, and will explore artists’ and makers’ different approaches to the materials they choose to work with and why, the messages they wish to convey using those materials, what those messages are, and the methods of production and process they use to make the work. Featuring Craig Fisher, David Turner, Lesley Cherry and Kevin Miller. Visit the gallery's website for more information. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm.

Tuesday 3rd December 

Belfast

Southern and Guests - McHughs Basement Bar, 8pm

Southern are Belfast-born, Liverpool-based brother and sister band Thom and Lucy Southern. They release their debut EP, the ‘Southern EP’ on the 9th December 2013 through Marathon Records, bringing together the young pair’s shared admiration for crunching blues riffs and distinctive elements of folk music. Tickets £8 + Booking Fee. Visit link here to buy tickets.

Thursday 5th December

Belfast

ReFound Festive Fun - ReFound Building, Wellington Place, 5 - 8pm

The ReFound team are inviting savvy shoppers to come and enjoy a glass of mulled wine, while you peruse the showroom for original, upcycled and reimagined Christmas presents created by local artists and craftspeople. Purchases on the night are subject to a tasty 10% discount. Visit their Facebook events page and check out ReFoundOnline.com for more details on the showroom and location.

Engine Room Gallery's Christmas Exhibition, 7 - 9.30pm (continues until Sat 21st December) 

The Engine Room Gallery’s annual Christmas Show is a large-scale, open submission exhibition, featuring a wide variety of contemporary art by up to 60 artists. A preview of the show takes place tonight and the exhibition continues until Saturday 21st December. Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm. Visit the Facebook events page for more details and website for contact and location information.

Platform Members' Show - Platform Arts, 7 - 9pm. (exhibition continues until Sat 14th December)

Tonight is the opening of Platform's annual studio member’s show, celebrating the last exhibition of the year with some mulled wine. This exhibition will showcase diverse work from artists currently engaged in contemporary art practice, based in Platform Arts, Belfast. The exhibition continues until Saturday 14th December. Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 4pm or any other time by appointment. Visit the Facebook events page or the studio website.

This exhibition is one of many on as part of Late Night Art which returns to Belfast this Thursday.

Friday 6th December

Belfast

End of Prohibition Christmas Party - Black Box, 8pm 

Bellehoppers invites you to a festive 8 to the Bar with a post prohibition twist! The Martello Jazz Band's brand of hot Dixieland Jazz will keep you on the dance floor all night. Burlesque performances come from Teezey Overeasy, Soup DuJour and Mia Amore plus a toe-tapping dance performance from the Bellehoppers and a hot collection of swing, jazz, r 'n' b, jive and blues for good measure. Tickets are £10 on the door. For more information, check out the Facebook event page or the Bellehoppers website.

Duke Special: A VictorianChristmas - The Empire, 8.30pm 

Bringing his year long residency at The Belfast Empire to an end, Duke plays ‘In The Round’ for a unique sing-a-long style show. After warming up on mulled wine, the audience will be encouraged to take a song-sheet and join in. Special guest vocalists, support from Shellac DJs and 78rpm and a few surprise guests mean this will be a Christmassy night to remember. Tickets are £15 and there's more information and purchase details on thebelfastempire.com.

Saturday 7th December

Newry

Newry On Ice - Albert Basin, 10am - 10pm every day until Sun 5th Jan. 

Today, the Newry on Ice winter wonderland open its doors.The skating extravaganza, fun fair attractions and Christmas fayre should all make for a fun filled day out. Skating prices are £12 for adults and £10 for kids for a full 50 minutes on the ice and discount can be offered to group bookings by emailing newryonice@gmail.com. Check out the Facebook page for updates.

Armagh

Craftswirl - Armagh Visitors' Centre, 11am - 3pm 

Drop into Craftswirl this Christmas, to see local makers demonstrate their skills whilst picking up a few ideas for your Christmas gifts. Today, Theresa Kelly will be demonstrating her craft. She is recognised as one of the most established and influential Carrickmacross lace artists working in Ireland and has transformed a traditional craft into an experimental visual medium.

ReFound Makes: The Loving Spoonful's handcrafted jewellery from spoons

ReFound Makes: The Loving Spoonful's handcrafted jewellery from spoons

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