BE INSPIRED AND LEARN A NEW SKILL IN NORTHERN IRELAND

The Crescent Arts Centre in south Belfast

The Crescent Arts Centre in south Belfast

IF you want to learn a new skill, why not try one of the hundreds of workshops and courses that take place each year in Northern Ireland.

Whether its improving your singing voice, trying your hand at cocktail making, learning how to impress your dinner guests or exploring the underwater world with diving classes, there’s something to inspire everyone says the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB).

NITB’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley believes there is no better place to learn a new skill than on your own doorstep.

“Combining sightseeing with the chance to learn something new is a very popular way to explore Northern Ireland,” said Pauline.

“Learning a new skill is a great way to get active and have fun. Plus, you get the opportunity to meet like-minded people and as many of the workshops and courses are located in stunning locations you can enjoy nature at its very best,” she added.

To help you learn something new, NITB has compiled a range of courses and classes currently on offer across Northern Ireland;

MAKE SOME MUSIC:

Housed in a historic four story listed building, The Crescent Arts Centre offers many forms of music classes including Singing For Adults which incorporates different styles of music including pop, rock, soul, blues and musical theatre. You can also develop your hand-drumming techniques with the African Drumming course or learn your first chords and riffs with some technique building exercises in the Popular/ Rock Guitar classes.

Armagh Pipers Club in Armagh City also runs a range of classes, for both children and adults alike, with expert tutors in bagpipes, banjo, concertina and more. The classes are held in St Patrick’s Grammar School and also include children’s songs and musical games.

If you’ve always wanted to improve your singing skills, try a vocal workshop at An Droichead in Belfast. Experts will use a mixture of contemporary, traditional, and world music to help develop your talent.

TRY SOMETHING NEW:

Why not try your hand at cocktail making. Classes can be organised at various venues around Northern Ireland with bookcocktail.com where groups can undertake professional cocktail training.

Learn how to sail and experience the beauty of the Antrim Coast with Causeway Coast Sailing. Enjoy a half day sailing for up to three people on a yacht and learn the ropes of sailing with a hands-on experience.

Take a dive in the sea and explore the underwater world with Aquaholics which is sure to be an experience you will never forget.

The session lasts approximately three hours and normally takes place in the Portstewart area where you will be fitted out with diving equipment before staff brief you on the dive and the adventure really begins.

Saddle up and head to Forest Stables in Fivemiletown and learn how to ride a horse. The stables pull out all the stops to make sure you have an unforgettable experience and as well as riding, it teaches all aspects of horse care and management.

Learn one of the fastest growing sports in the world with a stand up paddle board lesson with Troggs Surf School in Portrush. During the lesson you will learn all the paddling skills and techniques you will need to know in a few easy steps including self rescue techniques.

Simply Sea Kayak is based in the beautiful North Coast and there is no better place to go kayaking. Enjoy a tailored session to suit your own ability and learn new skills or add to the skills you already have. During the session there may be a chance to visit famous landmarks and to go in the search of wildlife as you paddle along part of the North Coast trail.

The Park Lake fly fishery is a 12-acre stream fed lake, set in the middle of rolling grassland and mature woodland. The lake is home to a range of aquatic insects and fly life and is stocked weekly with rainbow trout. For those keen to learn how to fly fish, angling instruction is available by booking and all equipment is supplied.

COOK UP A STORM:

Belle Isle Cookery School is the ultimate destination for food lovers. Discover the delights of creating modern cuisine in the stunning Lakelands of Fermanagh. The school offers many classes in different cuisines including Italian, Chinese and Thai as well as traditional Irish food. A four-week diploma programme as well as one day courses and evening demonstrations are all available. You’ll find the freshest fish and seafood at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School in Kilkeel where you can find out more about what to look for when buying, handling and cooking seafood. Learn how fish is filleted, handled and cooked with classes designed for both beginners and food enthusiasts.

DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE SIDE:

Look out Picasso, Northern Ireland is full of picture perfect settings for painting. Escape to Tyrone on a painting break with artist and tutor Dermot Cavanagh who teaches all levels of artistic ability. Develop your painting skills during a one, two or three day course and learn how to create a splendid watercolour.

Get a real hands-on creative experience with Ballydougan Pottery at the picturesque Bloomvale House in Craigavon. Learn how to paint a pot, hand-build with clay or throwing on the Potter’s Wheel with a range of classes to suit individual needs.

Dollybird Vintage in Omagh was born out of the love affair that two dollybirds have for interior design and all things old worldy and vintage. Learn how to transform unloved furniture with workshops that include furniture painting techniques, basic upholstery and an introduction to sewing, where you will learn to sew cushions, blinds and lampshades.

Situated halfway between Omagh and Drumquin, Carol Kinloch Beaded Designs offers jewellery making classes for individuals or groups. In the beginners class you will learn all the basic techniques to get started and will make a necklace, bracelet and earrings on your first day. The studio also runs a kumihimo class which is the ancient art of Japanese braiding as well as bead stitching workshops where you will learn how to make a bracelet with a bead stitch.

To find out more information on activities and places to learn a new skill visit www.discovernorthernireland.com or call into your local tourist information centre.

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