Set Sail for a Special Evening of Music on Rathlin Island This Weekend

Set Sail for a Special Evening of Music on Rathlin Island This Weekend 1

We were going to call it MusicLiteratureArtDanceWhiskey Galore but that was too long for a poster, so we distilled it down. Much like the fine libation that fuels these events. Now in its third year, the award-winning company Snow Water’s vision and title are inspired by Michael Longley’s collection and it aims to empower artists, to provide collaborations with new and established voices, and to promote Northern Ireland’s artistic excellence locally and internationally.

We at Snow Water wanted to put together something that shared the things we love, the things we enthuse about, the things that keep us going. Too long for any poster. More than enough for memorable days and nights away. We say ‘away’ because we want to take the best of music, spoken word and dancing to some of the most special places in Northern Ireland. And bring the finest whiskey too. This isn’t ‘pop-up’, this is a ‘drop-by’ thing. A series of unique, curated events in venues where music and good times are the very foundations of the buildings. Music and great times; we’re really great at that here. We’ll be in the best of company with Bushmills.

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at Bushmills Irish Whiskey, said:

“The Old Bushmills Distillery was granted a licence to distil over 400 years ago, and since then has been richly contributing to the North Coast, so this partnership with Whiskey Galore is particularly meaningful. Bushmills also has a strong heritage in providing authentic and enjoyable experiences for music lovers and whiskey drinkers alike. Celebrating and sharing the stories of local talent from musicians, craftsmen, entrepreneurs and adventurers, making this partnership with Whiskey Galore the perfect pairing. We look forward to welcoming all to experience a taste of North Irish hospitality.”

Right on!! Let’s get started.

First up is the beautiful, wild island of Rathlin. A small community but each have a song in their throats and a warm welcome. We start the day with a whiskey tasting in the fantastic Harbour Bar in Ballycastle, one of the finest examples of proper bar you’ll ever see. From there, we take the ferry to the island. It’s a short hop but gives an astounding view of the coastline as we go. Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon. We’re approaching Rathlin. Something special awaits. A whiskey reception to caress the pallet after the cobwebs have been blown away by the ferry ride. Our first musical treat is a rather special set by Sligo native/Belfast resident Gerry Norman.

Set Sail for a Special Evening of Music on Rathlin Island This Weekend
Gerry Norman

Better known as the front man and song writer of Belfast based rock band A Plastic Rose, Gerry Norman has been working behind the scenes on his debut solo record. APR have released 2 critically acclaimed albums ‘Camera.Shutter.Life’ and ‘Flickering Light Of An Inner War’ through their Belfast independent label Third Bar. This solo adventure is a chance for Norman to show his mellower side swapping distorted guitars and screaming vocals for an acoustic guitar, piano and stripped back songs. He has toured all over the U.K., Ireland and Europe multiple times including arena tours supporting Snow Patrol, Biffy Clyro and Twenty One Pilots. He will be joined by violinist Jordan Farndell.

He, a violinist and being in McCuaigs bar. The heart and hearth of the island. Perfect spot for a bowl of stew to keep us going. A few steps away on the beach stands the Heaney Chair. A marble tribute to one of our finest lost souls. To pay tribute, a reading of his work by one of our finest brothers. Glenn Patterson. Glenn Patterson is the author of ten novels, and more recently he has collaborated with the composer Ian Wilson on a chamber opera adaptation of John Fowles’ The Collector. His first feature film Good Vibrations co-written with Colin Carberry was released in 2013 and has just finished the phenomenally successful sell-out run at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. He has also presented numerous television documentaries and an arts review series for RTE. Lucky to have him, let’s raise a glass to he and Seamus.

Set Sail for a Special Evening of Music on Rathlin Island This Weekend

Back to McCuaigs for more music. PORTS are the perfect choice for an island like Rathlin. They are a four piece band consisting of Steven McCool (Bass and Vocals), Mark O’ Doherty (Drums) , Conor Mason (Piano ) and Ryan Griffiths (Guitar). They released their debut album “The Devil Is A Songbird” in 2016 to critical acclaim and the music has taken them as far as the US, Canada and Australia. The album was also short listed for the Northern Ireland Music Prize 2016. MTV have used two of their tracks in “Teen Wolf” and “Awkward” while their track “The Few and Far Between” was used for the NI Tourism Discover Northern Ireland TV advertising campaign. They are currently busy recording a follow up album for release next year.

Time to head back to land. But bidding farewell, knowing we’ll be back in the near future. Back to the Harbour bar to round the night off. Upstairs. Familiar to music fans and musicians alike in Ballycastle, it will play host to DJ Joe Lindsay. Presenter of BBC/RTE television, BBC Radio Ulster, The One Show and a club DJ of nearly 20 years, promoter and DJ of the now legendary club Palookaville in Belfast’s Oh Yeah building. He now brings the nights Heathen and Snake Eyes to all the good people. Well, not that good. Some right hallions as well. Let’s get unnecessary.

Tickets available now –



Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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