Planning the Perfect Hen Party

 

 

Walsh’s Hotel through the years has become a massive Hen Party destination with our vibrant and fun Jack’s Bar & Gravity Nightclub open every weekend. However, with this we are very aware of the stress and worry the chief bridesmaid or party planner faces when trying to organise the big occasion. The stress of dealing with everyone else’s stress and uncertainty is not a fun situation.. Therefore, we have decided to provide some tips to help all you reading who are planning on organising the biggest day for the Bride to Be (apart from the wedding of course) no pressure…

Tip 1: Keep an Eye on The Budget

After you’ve sorted out the initial budget and pricing for the group, its important that you make sure to keep an eye on any of the last minute finances in the days leading up to the hen, as well as on the day. It’s easy to go overboard when it’s your first time and you’re excited to add in little extras.

It’s not fair to ask the guests to cough up any more dough and you realistically you don’t want to be left with a credit card bill for 20 Sambuca Shots, and a bunch of extra sides during the meal. This is one reason we highly suggest you have a contingency plan in place.

With ourselves at Walsh’s this is why we have set packages with everything included e.g. our Coyote Ugly Package which consists of Bed & Breakfast, 3 Course Evening Meal, Champagne Reception, a round of shots for the group, a Cocktail Masterclass, Decorations & VIP Access to our Entertainment all for only £105pp.. what more could you ask for?

Tip 2: Limit Your Money Worries

Ask your guests to have all their money paid up in advance rather than fixing you up with the remainder of cash on the day of the hen. Break up each element of the day ( food, activities, transport etc.) and put the funds for each in separate envelopes so everything is ready to hand over, and you can have peace of mind on the day (and enjoy yourself!).

Again, with ourselves we require a £20.00 per person deposit 2 weeks from the initial booking, this allows us to confirm your booking but also allows all the hens to start paying towards the hen party. Full payment is then required two weeks before arrival meaning that on the day of the hen the organiser can enjoy the day like all the other hens.. all that’s needed is spending money (and a carry out) to get the day started.

Tip 3: Timing is Key

It may seem a little Monica from Friends (no clipboard and earpiece now) but when it comes to organising 15-20 gal pals all looking at you for direction, it’s helpful to have a schedule down on paper – just something simple outlining key times and locations. This is particularly important if you’ve people joining at different times during the day or evening.

Tip 4: Sort the Transport

A simple thing to do (but one that often gets forgotten) is organising transport from A to B – and making sure it’s factored into the original cost you sent the hens. This cuts out any confusion on where people need to be, there’s less risk of losing guests (trust me, it happens!) and everyone will appreciate when an all-in price really means all-in.

We even have our very own shuttle bus here at Walsh’s to provide transport for hens to and from venues for different activities such as a fun filled day at The Jungle NI, we really do work hard to provide all options for our guests.

Tip 5: Break the Ice

Get everyone talking with an ice-breaker. For example, ask everyone in the group to bring a photograph of themselves and the bride-to-be, and ask each of them to share a personal story about the bride. This will give everyone the heads-up on who’s who, and get people mixing.

With our apartments out tower room available you can all do this in the privacy of each other’s company to break the ice, just in time for heading out to boogie later that night together.

Tip 6: Look After Everyone

The bride is the lady of the hour, but don’t forget to make a fuss of the guests too – you’re the host after all! Many of the guests might know each other and be best buds, but there are usually some guests who are coming solo. Make sure to get talking to each guest and help along those shy gals – there is nothing worse than the feeling that everyone at the party is pals and you don’t know anyone! This also goes for mums and older guests too.

Tip 7: Know your Audience

We hope that while planning the party you kept your bride in mind, ultimately this is her day. So when it comes to the actual hen do, don’t produce any rude props or jokes unless you know she’s up for it. Many hens these days are decidedly low-key on things like willy straws and strippers, while others will expect them, so suss out where your gal (and the other guests!) are at.

Likewise, when it comes to party games like the Mr & Mrs game, keep the tone light and limit the embarrassing questions, especially if the mum or mum-in-law are present! If you’re the party planner we are sure you’ll know the bride to be best, so don’t go by what is expected and instead what they’ll enjoy, make it a night to remember for all the right reasons.

Tip 8: Plan Party Packs

If you have allowed for some extras in the budget (you really should!) make sure to have your party packs or goodie bags ready to hand over to the guests – it works as a nice ice-breaker, and shows your bride from the outset that you’ve put lots of thought into her hen. Ultimately your going to be the one she is grateful (or ungrateful in some iffy circumstances) so try and make it extra special. Make sure to include anything they might need for any activities you have planned, as well as any random dressing up bits. They can also have ‘Day After the Night Before’ items such as chocolate, painkillers, an energy drink or bottle of water – food and beverage items are always gladly received! (me personally Lucozade is a life saver after a night of hard drinking).

Tip 9: Work Together

Most brides have at least two bridesmaids, so work as a team and delegate jobs on the day or for the weekend so that everyone has a role to play. It’s important that all the girls feel involved, especially if one of you is based abroad. Have this all planned out before the day or weekend so everyone knows who is doing what, from decorating and keeping guests entertained, to tidying and cleaning up, and keeping the bride to be occupied whilst the others are setting up surprises.

Tip 10: Don’t Over-Plan (or Be Too Bossy!)

While it’s important to have a loose schedule and plans in place, don’t forget that your guests are all adults and don’t like to be ordered around every minute of the day with back-to-back activities. Leave a little room in the schedule for chilling out, or more importantly getting down to the bar and drinking.. it is a hen party after all!

Finally… Get The Party Started

Ok, so the Monica-madness is over and it’s time for everyone to let their hair down, while you have to keep everyone on track, don’t forget to enjoy a glass (or two!) of champers and celebrate your best girl. She chose you as your bridesmaid because her her fave person to hit the dance floor with, so make sure you do!

Now you’re all set to throw your first (epic!) hen, so enjoy! (Wish I was coming!)

Cormacc McFerran

Hen Party Coordinator

10 Reasons To Spend Christmas With Us

We have so many reasons you all could be spending the Christmas period with us but we have broke it down to 10 reasons. So lets have a look through what we have narrowed it down too, to show you why we are the perfect destination to come to this Christmas period…

 

  1. Merry Mixtures

Firstly, we have a selection of delicious Merry Mixtures for you all to indulge in. Our amazing Assistant Bar Manager Cahir has created a selection of festive drinks for you all to enjoy over this festive period.

Watch this space as over the coming weeks we will be celebrating with the 10 festive drinks of Christmas ranging from a selection of Cocktails and delicious mixtures you all can enjoy this festive period.. We love everything tongue and cheek and a play on words so watch what we come up with, we have some very festive drinks coming up all related to the festive season.

  1. Winter Afternoon Tea

Relax and enjoy our fabulous Festive Afternoon Tea in our beautiful Coffee Shop & Bistro this Christmas. Our team have created a Christmas themed Afternoon Tea menu packed with the finest festive finger sandwiches, home baked scones, dainty cakes and pastries that you will love. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a seasonal catch up with friends or family in the most comfortable surroundings and will really get you feeling all Christmassy.

  1. Festive Food

Christmas is a magical time here at Walsh’s Hotel and why not add a little festive sparkle and cheer to your celebrations with a fabulous dining experience in Helena’s Coffee Shop & Bistro or Jack’s Bar. We serve only the finest and freshest local produce and our festive dining menus are hugely popular amongst locals.

Come and enjoy our fabulous festive feasts throughout December in the Helena’s Bistro. Lunch and Dinner available, simply go to our website to see what we have on offer.

  1. Christmas Party Nights

Whether you are wanting to celebrate with a private party, a festive lunch or join an extravaganza night, we’ve got your office party covered at Walsh’s Hotel, Maghera!
We have a Christmas party suitable for everyone. There are various party packages to choose from to ensure you have a night to remember, with fabulous entertainment and fantastic drinks packages.

A dedicated Christmas coordinator will help you along the way and take the stress away from all the planning, leaving you to eat, drink and be merry.

  1. Cosy Accomodation

Fancy a night away this Christmas? We are the perfect spot to go to. With a range of rooms available from our Deluxe Suite to our family rooms we can cater to all people. Why not contact us to see what amazing offers we have available for you all to enjoy the perfect night away.

  1. First Class Bands

We have live music EVERY Saturday night live in Jack’s Bar, and we aim to only bring you all the finest entertainment this Christmas period and all year round.

We have a brilliant line up of some of the countries best bands and DJ’s ready to entertain you all into the early hours of the morning. Live music begins in Jack’s Bar every Saturday night at 10pm until 12am, which is then followed by music from a fantastic DJ so you all can dance the night away.

  1. Superb Sunday Carvery

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content and our famous traditional 4 course Sunday Carvery is served to the highest of standards.

A family favourite served every Sunday from 12:30pm-4pm, make memories with your family and friends enjoying a 4 course gourmet Sunday Carvery Lunch featuring the best of local produce prepared by our team of chefs, complimented by our renowned warm, friendly and efficient service.

4 Course Sunday Carvery begins with a large choice of hot and cold appetizers, followed by a selection of home-made soup served with a selection of fresh breads.

For Main course enjoy a choice of traditional succulent Roasts including Beef, Turkey, Gammon or Lamb served with all your favourite trimmings including golden Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, traditional roast potatoes, creamy mash and a selection of seasonal vegetables with gravy and sauces of your choice.

And for the finale it is impossible to resist our delicious selection of desserts from traditional favourites including Cheesecake, Pavlova and trifle to tempting chocolate and pastry goodies.  Finally enjoy a relaxing freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea, or perhaps an alcoholic beverage (its still the weekend after all).

  1. Santa Sundays

Join us for a fun filled festive Santa Sunday. We will have Festive Sunday Lunch serving in Helena’s & Jack’s Bar and most importantly a visit from Santa Claus and his elves for all the children. Scrumptious seasonal cuisine freshly prepared from our dedicated team of chefs, this is the perfect family get away. See what surprises Santa will have in store during his yearly festive visit to us in his beautiful grotto his little elves come to prepare, last year we caught Cormacc the elf sleeping on the job, who will we catch this year?

 

  1. Boozy Bingo

Fancy a night out but with a twist, we’ll we’ve got just the event for you. We will be hosting the return of our successful Boozy Bingo night on Sunday the 22nd December in Jack’s Bar. Kickstarting at 8pm this will be a night of fun filled laughter and more importantly… a chance to win LOTS of free drink.. We all love a festive drink over the holiday season, so this is the perfect time to do so. Especially as most of you will officially be off on Christmas holidays on the Monday, so no Monday blues are necessary. Come join us and begin the festive celebrations.

  1. We want to look after you

Finally, and last but not least we want to look after you all whilst you enjoy your festive celebrations with us here at Walsh’s. One thing that we pride ourselves on is our customer service. We have an amazing team which we are so proud off who want to cater to your needs and ensure everyone has the best experience whilst with us.. there’s nothing better than finishing a busy (and we mean BUSY) shift over the Christmas period and having great feedback from all our lovely customers. It makes all the hard work worth it knowing we’ve made your festive season that bit more special.

 

Last Years Christmas Staff

Journey to Seamus Heaney Homeplace read by Liam Neeson

We are very privileged to be located only 8 miles from the wonderful and enchanting Seamus Heaney Homeplace.  The centre opened 2 years ago to celebrate the life of the Nobel Prize winner poet who in Liam Neeson’s words Seamus Heaney is “arguably Ireland’s greatest poet”.

A home for inspiration, echoing the life, literature and legacy of Seamus Heaney.

Developed by Mid Ulster District Council, Seamus Heaney HomePlace is a purpose-built arts and literary centre, which celebrates the life and work of the late poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, and contributes to his legacy.”

Check out the website for more information on the exhibition and events and shows www.seamusheaneyhome.com

 

 

 

The Story of Halloween

What is it about Halloween that we all love so much? Especially here in the beautiful & mythical country of Ireland. We’ll lets go right back to where it all began many, many moons ago.
The Origin of Halloween
The story of Halloween originates from our beautiful country of Ireland… Yes, it seems we’ve always had a history when it comes to dark tourism (the titanic, the famine etc), even Halloween is ours. It all began with the festival of “Samhain”.
Now many of you may ask what is in fact the festival of Samhain, well allow me to tell you.. Samhain is an ancient Celtic seasonal festival to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year (now known as winter), and ultimately to remember the dead.
This was celebrated from sunset on October 31st to sunset on November 1st. It is held at the time of year when the boundary between this world and the world of the dead is considered to be at its thinnest and those who have left us can pass through most easily, this therefore allows the souls of the dead to return to the world of the living for one night to revisit their homes and seek hospitality. It is thus related to (and coincides with) the Christian celebrations of Hallowtide: Halloween (All Saints’ Eve) on October 31st, All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. It also coincides with the Mexican festival Day of the Dead.
Samhain is the precursor to the modern-day Halloween festival, and many Samhain customs and traditions survive in Halloween today, for example going from door to door in disguise (or in costume) to ask for food in exchange for praying for the dead.
This is where the origins or Halloween originate from… our amazing ancestors paved the way for this Spooktacular holiday we celebrate today.
Keeping Halloween Alive in Ireland
Many of you may ask where the best place is to celebrate Halloween within the world. It must be Transylvania, the home of Dracula, right? Or Salem, Massachusetts, for its history of witches. We’ll let me tell you that you would all be wrong.. The amazing historical city of Derry, in our very own Ireland is by far the place to celebrate All Hallows Eve.. And I would like to add that we are not being biased at all. Yes, as voted by USA Today in 2015 the city of Derry was awarded “The Best Halloween Destination in the World”.
If you’ve ever wondered how the city of Derry came to be such an essential festive location. The answer, it seems, has its roots in Irish history. Don’t be fooled by the Americanisation of October 31st. Halloween’s origin dates back over 2,000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (as discussed beforehand). This sparked a long tradition of sacrifices, bonfires, activities, and the telling of ghost stories.
Indeed, despite the introduction of Christianity, (the pagan culture of Ireland, a belief in the supernatural, spirits, and fortune tellers), Halloween remained very much alive in the nation. The popularisation of Halloween in American Culture in the late 19th century coincided with the mass migration of Irish people following the potato famine of the 1850s, suggesting that the celebration of Halloween was brought to the country by immigrants, before being mass-marketed and exported back to the world.
In 1986, the city council stepped in to make Halloween more of an organised event in the city of Derry which has grew year in each out. On its 30th anniversary in 2016, the council estimates 80,000 people took part in four days of festivities. This increased further in 2018, only two years later where an estimated 100,000 were in attendance. So, for the best Halloween experience in the world, rooted in the festival’s history, look no further than Derry.
(on a side note, the fact the movie IT was set in a town called Derry adds more emphasis to the special feeling it provides).

Have you Heard of Stingy Jack?
People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish “myth” about a man whose nickname was “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink and thought of a plan, he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so that Jack could use this to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.

The next year, when the Devil returned, Jack again tricked him into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Years passed, and then eventually Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavoury man into the gates of heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell.
He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming lost between heaven and hell ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Opening ceremony Helena’s Coffee Shop & Bistro

In early 2018 our owner Mr Kieran Bradley made the decision to complete remodel the “Silverhill Restaurant” and transform it into a Coffee Shop & Bistro.  One of the reasons for the transformation was the prevalence of coffee shop culture in the area and Kieran spotted a gap in the market for a deli style modern coffee shop.  Planning and research commenced and only the best suppliers for coffee beans to fresh local produce were selected.