Blog : Lisburn



As anticipation escalates ahead of the 2016 Wimbledon championships, running 27th June – 10th July, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council prepares for a grand slam of its own.

With the development of a tennis themed events programme, intended to encourage locals in the surrounding areas to get active amid family-friendly activities, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will transform Market Square into a hub for Wimbledon and tennis enthusiasts alike.

Following the official draw taking place on 24th June, the first contest of the 2016 Wimbledon championships will get under way on 27th June with local sports group Tennis Fundamentals showcasing the rip-roaring ins-and-outs of the sport which impassions so many with public demonstrations in Market Square.

Artificial grass and inflatable nets will convert the space into Lisburn’s own Tennis Club but without the strict dress codes of the official Wimbledon championships! However, one tradition Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will stay true to is the indulgence of strawberries and cream – available on select days during the tournament.

Market Square will welcome Downshire Tennis on 1st July, then Lisburn Racquets on 8th July, who will be on hand to demonstrate the fundamentals of the sport with ample opportunities to get involved and learn the basics.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council will also be introducing a big screen to the Market Square area of the City Centre. Aimed at allowing locals to sit back, relax and watch Wimbledon live so they don’t miss any of the nail-biting moments as the tournament unfolds.

Cllr. Uel Mackin, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee says: “Event programmes like our upcoming Wimbledon festivities are a real focus for showcasing the best of what Lisburn has to offer for all residents. Lisburn City Centre, in particular Market Square, has experienced significant revitalisation recently and established itself as the place to be for locals in the Lisburn and Castlereagh areas. We hope to engage as many people as possible and who knows, we might even discover our own local tennis sensation!”

For more information, call Sophie McAuley on 028 9244 7543 or email



Italian eatery Alfredo’s on the Square and Hughes Craft Distillery, two thriving Lisburn businesses, have come together to further boost the fine dining experience for locals in Lisburn City Centre with the introduction of a fabulous new RubyBlue cocktail menu for diners to enjoy.

Under development since April, when Northern Ireland celebrated the best in home-grown brewing and distilling, the teams behind Hughes Craft Distillery and Alfredo’s on the Square had been hard at work concocting their unique drinks menu specifically with Alfredo’s diners in mind.

Using Hughes Craft Distillery’s award-winning RubyBlue Premium Vodka the new cocktail menu will complement the restaurant’s delicious mix of dishes and add another reason to dine out in Lisburn with friends and family for all occasions.

Owned by local restauranteur Richard Graham, Alfredo’s has invested heavily in refitting its premises to revitalise Lisburn’s growing reputation on the culinary map. With the summer season afoot, and locals yearning for a first-rate alfresco dining experience, the signature RubyBlue cocktail menu is set to attract food and drinks aficionados far and wide.

Richard Graham, owner of Alfredo’s on the Square, says:

“It was always our intention to introduce a quality range of beverages into Alfredo’s by way of an exciting cocktail menu. But we wanted to make sure that we were bringing something unique for customers to experience and we are delighted to be the first to bring them RubyBlue Vodka as part of our new offering. It was also important for us to invest in local producers and through its fast-growing reputation and demand, we knew it had to be RubyBlue.”

“We began working with Stuart and Barbara Hughes from Hughes Craft Distillery in early April on a cocktail menu specific to Alfredo’s and our customers. We’re delighted to finally announce that Alfredo’s is the first business in Lisburn serving up this exciting cocktail menu using the locally produced and award-winning RubyBlue range.”

The RubyBlue cocktail menu available in Alfredo’s serves original cocktails such as the Ruby Royale, a blackcurrant liqueur with chilled prosecco, and the RubyBlue Thyme, premium white lemonade infused with green apple, fresh thyme and RubyBlue Potato Vodka. But, for those less adventurous, the menu also serves cocktail favourites including, Bloody Mary and French Martini stirred with RubyBlue Premium Vodka.

Barbara Hughes, Commercial Director for Hughes Craft Distillery, which premiered RubyBlue Premium Vodka in 2015, adds:

“When Richard approached us we were extremely excited by the proposition of creating a cocktail menu using our own range of spirits. It is the first time we have had the opportunity to create a customer-specific cocktail menu for a venue. It’s a great opportunity to give the RubyBlue brand exposure in our home city alongside the exquisite dishes served in Alfredo’s by head chef Will Crawford.”

Alfredo’s on the Square is open Tuesday to Saturday 9:00am until late and Monday 9:00am until 3:00pm.

For more information on the RubyBlue cocktail menu or to enquire about bookings, visit or call (028) 9267 2554.



Hollah Preserving offers a growing selection of tantalisingly peculiar condiments toying with the taste buds of Northern Ireland. It is the entrepreneurial spark of Paula Latuske and Trudy Hodkinson, two stay at home mum from Moira, County Down, and is one of only 20 companies in Northern Ireland to be accepted onto Invest NI’s growth and export initiative, the Propel Programme.

Taking a hiatus from the hustle and bustle of corporate life to focus on their young, growing families, the women were keen to make their triumphant return to employment – but on their own terms.

The two neighbours channelled their energies, and newly found free time, into developing a recognisable and relatable brand of chutneys, relishes and sauces to market in their local area.

Initially setting up shop in their kitchens, the duo was quickly met by high demand for their range of quirky condiments, all containing Hollah Preserving’s signature chilli kick.

In October 2014 Hollah Preserving Limited officially opened for business and to date have secured in excess of 70 retail stockists, over 20 bars, restaurants and cafes, and established crucial distribution channels with Henderson’s Foodservice and Musgrave NI, where the Hollah range will be available through Supervalu stores. The businesswomen have since expanded the production of their range with the help of a local manufacturer.

Speaking of the business’ humble beginnings, Paula Latuske, Hollah Preserving Co-founder, said:

“It’s strange to think it all began one morning as myself and Trudy waved goodbye to our girls as they were heading to school. We then had some free time and we both wanted to get back into meaningful employment. We had a passion for exploring new tastes and decided to channel this into making our own homemade range of condiments. Hollah Preserving has grown year on year ever since.”

Hollah Preserving’s inventive product range includes ‘Bucky BBQ Sauce’, a sauce infused with Buckfast Tonic Wine, ‘Chilli Strawberry & Prosecco’ and ‘Vodka & Cranberry’ chutney.

Trudy Hodkinson, Hollah Preserving Co-founder and neighbour to business partner Paula, added:

“Being accepted onto the Invest NI Propel Programme is a huge boost for us. The £20K investment, ten months of dedicated mentoring and business support will help us increase exports of the Hollah range. To coincide NI’s Year of Food and Drink we have been collaborating with other local businesses, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and have recently begun supplying Fortnum and Mason in London.”

Run by Invest NI, Propel is a programme for those entrepreneurs who have the greatest potential to start up and scale an export focused company, that is innovative and has the potential to become a significant exporter and employer.

The businesswomen have since been accepted on to Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Food & Drink Programme. Developed with business growth in mind, the programme provides eligible businesses based in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council areas with tailored mentoring and business support from a dedicated team within the food and drink sector.

For more information on the Hollah Preserving product range, visit




The newly opened Beef and Bird, located at the Lisburn Leisure Park, is looking to enlist the help of Lisburn’s budding young artists, to help design novel artwork for its new signature cow and chicken life-size sculptures. The sculptures, which are currently blank canvases, will take up pride of place outside the restaurant’s front window where they will remain on display for all to marvel at.

Open to all children under the age of 11, the two winning designs will not only have their submitted drawings professionally transferred on to the Beef and Bird sculptures but will also have a celebratory plaque bearing their name installed, plus win a Beef and Bird party for themselves and up to nine friends. The second place runners-up will receive a jam-packed Beef and Bird goody bag and third place runners-up will walk away with a Beef and Bird T-shirt and baseball cap.

Appealing to young artists in the making from the local area, Bronagh Campbell, owner of Beef and Bird, said:

“If you look at the interior of Beef and Bird you’ll quickly see that we created a space that allowed us to express ourselves in creative ways; from our scrabble boards and play areas to quirky fixtures. There was no set formula; we want to work and eat in a space that inspires.”

“Our sculptures will eventually become integral pieces to the entire feel of the restaurant. We hope to receive wacky, vibrant and downright fun submissions to be professionally transferred onto the sculptures.

“We can’t wait to see who the winners are and what new funky designs our cow and chicken will be rocking.”

To enter simply collect an entry form and colouring-in stencil from the Beef and Bird restaurant, Lisburn Leisure Park, or download a copy from the restaurant’s website and submit by post or in-store before Wednesday 15th June.

For more information on the Beef and Bird Children’s Colouring Competition or to make a reservation, visit or call 028 9260 7306.