News In Brief: New Gin School, Luxury Liners For H&W and NI Pubs Named Top Spots & more…

Picture of the Harland & Wolff cranes at Titanic Docks in Belfast, the shipyard where the Titanic was built
Samson and Goliath. Twin shipbuilding gantry cranes in Titanic quarter, famous landmark of Belfast, Norther Ireland. Goliath is in the foreground.

Gin School set for Cathedral Quarter

Belfast’s Thirsty Goat is set to be the second venue to host Belfast Artisan Distillery’s acclaimed Gin School.

With their Premium London Dry Gin already a success founders Robert Borne and Jo Davison expanded their portfolio with help from Mallusk Enterprise Park, to now include Belfast Artisan Gin School and Belfast Artisan Distillery Tours.

In November last year the first gin school took place at the Crown and Shamrock Inn offering guests the opportunity to make and distil their own bespoke gin choosing from over 80 botanicals.

Confirmed dates for the Thirsty Goat gin school to be announced.


Luxury liners set for shipyard dry dock overhaul

Harland and Wolff has secured a contract to work on two luxury cruise liners in the shipyard’s historic dry dock.

Cunard’s Queen Victoria and P&O Cruises’ Aurora will occupy the dry docks in May and June, with the refurbishment work set to last 33 days.

The Queen Victoria work marks a milestone for Harland and Wolff as it will be the largest cruise ship ever to have drydocked in a UK shipyard and the only Cunard ship to have ever drydocked in Belfast.

The contract marks the latest development since the shipyard was taken over by Infastrata, with work on renewables energy, ferries and a forthcoming defence contract to be finalised soon.


Northern Ireland pubs score Lonely Planet ranking

Renowned travel guide, Lonely Planet has named three of Northern Ireland pubs as top spots in Ireland to enjoy a tipple.

The Duke of York and The Sunflower Pub in Belfast and Enniskillen’s Blakes of the Hallow made the Lonely Planet top 20 pubs in Ireland for “pints, music and the time of your life.”


In Entertainment


Lead singer of punk band, Bailey dies aged 64

Chris Bailey, the lead singer for the Australian band The Saints who grew up in Northern Ireland, has died at the age of 65.

Bailey spent seven years of his life growing up in Belfast, before his parents emigrated to Brisbane.

The Saints announced Bailey’s death on their Facebook page.

“It is with great pain in our hearts that we have to inform you about the passing of Chris Bailey, singer, and songwriter of The Saints, on (Saturday) 9 April 2022,” the statement read.

“Chris lived a life of poetry and music and stranded on a Saturday night.”


Northern Ireland’s drag Queen of the World to front BBC show

After winning BBC Three’s Drag Race UK’s versus The World Northern Ireland’s Blu Hydrangea will host Stitch, Please!, a three-part BBC series.

Contestants, under Blu’s watchful gaze will compete to create garments inspired by the hottest looks in pop culture.

In each episode, new stitchers will step into the 17th century Castle Upton in Templepatrick with £100 and 12 hours to create looks inspired by the works of some world-renowned costume and fashion designers.

Blu, 26, AKA Joshua Cargill from Hillsborough, is Northern Ireland’s most prominent drag artist and best known for competing in the first series of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK in 2019.


News from the Excalibur Press newsroom, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast

About the Author

Jonathan Traynor
Northern Ireland journalist. Rock & metal enthusiast and owner of