Monthly Archives: June 2019

Strabane Comedian Ruairi Woods Brings Hilarious New Show ‘Panic Groom’ To The Alley

Strabane born comedian Ruairi Woods is returning to his roots with his highly anticipated new solo show ‘Panic Groom’.

After selling out the legendary Limelight Belfast, Ruairi arrives at The Alley Theatre in Strabane on July 19th with his hilarious new show for one night only!

Set in the cabaret style auditorium, the performance promises to be a relaxed evening in a comedy club style filled with laughter and plenty of jokes about his home town. After his appearance on ‘The Blame Game and various sold out theatre shows Ruairi has gone from strength to strength further establishing himself amongst Northern Ireland’s elite comedians.  Having supported many big comedy names such as Colin Geddis, Neil Delamere and Jake O’Kane, Ruairi will be the main attraction in his new ‘Panic Groom’ show.

Ruairi’s live stand up shows are not to be missed so grab your ticket from The Alley Theatre website or Box Office now to avoid disappointment. The show will also feature support slots from comedians Dave Elliott and Mark Mc Carney.

Tickets are £10 available from the Alley Theatre website on or call the box office on 028 71 384444.


Strabane Hosts International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster Ireland – Outdoor Economy Event

A special forum has taken place in Strabane this week focusing on developing the tourism potential of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster Ireland, a cross border long distance walking trail that takes in locations running from west Donegal, through the Sperrin Mountains, the North Coast, and the Glens of Antrim before finishing at Larne.

Organised by the IAT Ulster Ireland, the event was supported by the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Donegal Local Development Company, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs.

The Outdoor Economy Forum event welcomed a range of experts in the field of outdoor and adventure tourism. It was one of a number of activities taking place over five days which were organised with the aim of strengthening relationships and sharing ideas and best practice, while also building on activity undertaken to date to develop the Ulster Ireland section of the IAT. The activities comprised of round table talks, walking on the IAT/Ulster Way, and focussed on trail development, linkages with other locations, as well as conservation and the development of tourism experiences.

While traditionally associated with North America and specifically the eastern United States and Canada, Appalachian geology can be found also in Greenland, Scandinavia, the British Isles and Europe and North Africa. The International Appalachian Trail running from the US to Canada was first developed in 1994 on the basis of this geology, and has since been extended throughout the world with Ulster Ireland joining in 2013. Its ultimate mission is to establish a network of walking trails that extends beyond borders of all  the  geographic regions which share the Appalachian footprint with the aim of connecting places and people, promoting  natural and cultural heritage, health and fitness, environmental stewardship, cross-border cooperation, and rural economic development through eco and geo tourism.

Acknowledging the success of the event, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, said the Outdoor Economy Forum had been a great opportunity to share expertise and experience which will benefit tourism in the wider North West region.

“The International Appalachian Trail is extremely popular with fans of the outdoors and there is great potential for further development in terms of creating bespoke walking and hiking packages for visitors to the region,” she stressed.

“The trail is a highlight of the new Tourism Strategy for Derry and Strabane, promoting rural tourism and making the most of our outstanding areas of natural beauty. By sharing information and experience with locations with common interests, we can work on harnessing the potential of these areas and drawing more international visitors with a passion for outdoor adventure experiences.”

Among the speakers taking part in the event were a highly expert North American delegation which included David Startzell, President Emeritus of  the Appalachian Trail Conservancy ; Suzanne Dixon,  Appalachian Trail Conservancy President and CEO; Don Hudson and Paul Wylezol, Co-Presidents of the IAT , Heather Clish of the Appalachian Mountain Club  and  Larry Luxenberg  of the Appalachian Trail Museum, Pennsylvania. All were impressed by programme of events that were provided by hosts IAT Ulster Ireland throughout the week and by the progress being made locally to develop an IAT walking experience.

David Startzell, the CEO for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy reflected on their experience of the positive impacts of trail development saying: “The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a 2,188-mile long-distance footpath extending through 14 states in the eastern United States as well as six national parks, eight national forests, and dozens of state and local parks, forests, and game lands. The AT experiences an estimated two million visitors each year. According to a survey conducted by the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service in 2010, the trail, which passes through or near many local communities, generates $125 to $168 million in annual spending, with $27 million in local tourism spending and $36 million in local economic spin-offs. More than 30 communities are now designated as ‘AT Communities’ with promotional signage, school-aged trail-education programmes, and trail-friendly local land-use controls. Four of those communities sponsor or host trail visitor centres.”

This message was reinforced by Don Hudson, Co-President of the International Appalachian Trail and a founder of the IAT who said: “Trails are essential for the travelling public eager to learn about the landscape. The International Appalachian Trail was proposed 25 years ago to connect people and places and to celebrate cultural and natural heritage. As awareness grows of trails such as the IAT, communities in Maine are responding to meet the needs of an increasing number of visitors. Restaurants, lodgings, guide and shuttle services are among the businesses that are growing now in the greater Katahdin region of Maine, because trails provide access to an otherwise inaccessible landscape of deep forests, mountains, rivers, streams, and ponds.”

The goal of IAT Ulster Ireland is no less ambitious. It aspires to follow in the footsteps of the American Appalachian Trail including replicating the same positive economic impacts on local towns, villages and communities located along its route. The forum event held in Strabane, as well as the week’s other activities, are a significant stepping stone on the path to success.

For the IAT Ulster Ireland‘s Magne Haugseng, learning is key to development.

“We launched our section of the IAT in August 2013 and whilst improvement in trail infrastructure is ongoing and progressing well, I am delighted to welcome such expertise as this helps us to focus better on the important aspects of rural economic growth,” he said.

Further information on the International Appalachian Trail can be viewed at

Strabane Summer Jamm’s ‘Country Fest’ Promises A ‘Super Sunday’ For All The Family

Music fans are set for a feast of entertainment for all the family on Sunday 16th June when the Strabane Summer Jamm festival concludes by bringing together some of the biggest & most exciting acts on the Irish country music circuit.

Johnny Brady and David James will headline ‘Country Fest’ for a FREE four-hour-long open air concert at the Canal Basin, marking the end of Strabane Summer Jamm 2019.

This year’s Strabane Summer Jamm festival will run from Friday 14th June until Sunday 16th June with a mix of live music, fun fair, arts, children’s activities and markets taking place in various locations in the town.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle said the ‘Country Fest’ represents the perfect way to round off a weekend to remember in Strabane.

“Strabane Summer Jamm has now firmly established itself as one of the most popular live music & entertainment events on Council’s calendar – and I have no doubts this year’s festival will be the biggest and best yet,” she said.

“The ‘Country Fest’ concert is a free event and one that promises to be a fun and entertaining day out for all the family.

“The amazing line-up this year also includes some of the most exciting names on the Irish country music scene – including Johnny Brady, David James and a host of local musicians – and is a fantastic opportunity for festival goers to hear them all on the one stage and dance the afternoon away.

“I’d also encourage people to come along and support the wonderful ‘Craic Youth’ from Strabane who are the next generation of Irish trad & folk musicians.  Indeed, ‘Country Fest’ will be giving them the perfect opportunity to perform on a professional stage in front of hundreds of festival goers!”

County Antrim man Johnny Brady has been involved in the music industry for the last two decades with four acclaimed albums to his name. His shows are characterised by powerful vocals and an energetic performance which is not be missed. A multi award-winning artist, Johnny has also regularly featured on national TV shows. Also as a result of signing a publishing deal with Bardis Music two years ago, he has made numerous trips to Nashville to both write and record – with his songs being pitched to some of the world’s biggest country stars!

Killea’s David James has had a meteoric rise in the country music scene since being awarded the title of ‘Best Young Entertainer’ at the Music City Awards in 2016 – the year in which he also scored a number one in the Irish Country Music chart with hit single ‘My Donegal Doll’.

Since then David has toured extensively throughout Ireland, the UK and the US –supporting acts such the Bay City Rollers and country legend Mike Denver –– and he also finds time to present his own show on Highland Radio – ‘The Jive Time Show’.

Only six months ago David also topped the UK & Ireland iTunes Christmas charts with the hit single ‘There’s No Place Like Home at Christmas’ – and his track soared to No.1 on its release, beating the likes of Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and The Pogues off the hotlist.

With energetic performances and a fantastic choice in music, David is also sure to have music lovers at this year’s ‘Country Fest’ singing along!

‘Country Fest’ is a FREE family concert, suitable for all ages, and will take place in the Canal Basin from 3-7pm on Sunday 16th June. Join in the fun with plenty of activities also on the day including circus workshops, arts & crafts and face painting! Love dancing? Then join with the jiving and line dancing happening throughout the afternoon. Also grab a bite to eat at a choice of food stalls and relax and enjoy the sun in the licenced bar area!

For further information on this year’s ‘Country Fest’ concert and the full programme of events visit