How did it come to be October already? I’m certainly not ready for autumn and all that it brings. Did you catch any of the events around Belfast in September? If you did, please let me know in the comments below. There are some fun events coming up in and near Belfast in October, and we’re looking forward to attending a few of them.
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October 6-28 will see the Belfast International Arts Festival with artists and performers in the city from around the world. From circus spectacles to Russian orchestras, there will be much to entertain every member of the family.
October 6-29 is the annual Cinemagic Film and TV Festival for people of all ages. Each year they even search out special child reviewers; my children would love to do that in the future, look into it!
Plane Spotting is an inexpensive way to spent an afternoon. One of the most popular places to do this near Belfast City Airport is from the Ikea carpark, or on the Sydenham pedestrian bridge….although you can guess which one will cost you less in the end!
October 7-8 is the Big Brent Event at Castle Espie Wetland Centre. Castle Espie has long been on my list of places to visit. This month they’re having this special event day, which should be good as the brent geese are migrating now as I had a text from a friend yesterday who spotted 140 flying overhead. If you can’t make it on this day, any other day should also be interesting, and perhaps more relaxing if you don’t want the bustle of crowds.
Patterson’s Spade Mill is a place I’ve heard so many good things about, and a place I’ve wanted to visit in person for years. It’s “the last working water-driven spade mill in daily use in the British Isles.” I have met the man in the photo, and he is passionate about what he does. If you want to learn a little about the history of Northern Ireland, this is a great place to start.
October 14-December 3 will be the Weeping Window Exhibition at the Ulster Museum. You may remember the field of ceramic poppies that stood outside the Tower of London in 2014; they are now on tour and will be hosted by Belfast this fall. We’ll be making a special trip into the city to see them.
If you ‘catch’ a good day in Belfast and want to sit down and relax; take a picnic or pick up a bite to go and head over to the Big Fish next to the River Lagan. Grab a bench or sit on the steps nearby and turn your back on the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Then take the kids to explore the ceramic tiles on the fish and see how many of the people and places they can recognise.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit Gleno waterfall near Larne, just off the road heading toward Whitehead. It’s just a short walk from the car park to the waterfall and it’s beautiful in all it’s fall colours. If the weather is calm, take a picnic lunch on one of the picnic tables near the carpark. This is a popular spot for photographers in any season.
Belfast’s WOW (Window on Wildlife) has been refurbished and has comfortable surroundings and knowledgeable volunteers on hand to help you identify the seasonal waterfowl through the huge windows. At this time of year as the autumn migration is underway you may see brent geese, teal, shell duck, oyster catcher, curlew, arctic tern, and redshank. Once you’re familiar with the birds, then head out to Larne Lough, Strangford Lough, or other places and see what you can spot there.
October 28-31 take the kids on a Halloween Scream (steam) Train ride with the Downpatrick and County Down Railway. Steam trains are fascinating and riding on one is a true experience.
There are so many more events taking place this month; way too many for me to share here, and certainly too many for us to attend. I’m having real trouble trying to decide what to focus on this October in Belfast and Northern Ireland!