News and Updates

Cushendun Big Arts Weekend 2019- full programme revealed

The full line-up for this year’s Big Arts Weekend has been announced.

This is the seventh year of the festival and to celebrate we have fantastic headliners including Dr Éamon Phoenix, and some familiar favourites including Share-a-Poem and the Family Funday Sunday.

This year’s John Hewitt talk ’50 years of the Corncrake’ is by Cushendun resident  Dr James Morrow. Artists should book early for the painting masterclass led by painter and experienced teacher Michael Sayers.

Back by popular demand are old favourites, The Art Exhibition, the pop-up Tea shop with scrumptious buns and cakes, and Naturally North Coast and Glens Market.

Celebrating the May Bank Holiday, the amazing Armagh Rhymers will be performing in the grounds of Glenmona House accompanied by children from St Ciaran’s and other local primary schools.

There are many early-bird discounts so visit our Big Arts Weekend page now to book your place!

News and Updates

Headliners for Big Arts Weekend revealed

The headline artists for the seventh Cushendun Big Arts Weekend, from 3 to 6 May, have been revealed.

Acclaimed political historian and broadcaster Eamon Phoenix will be discussing the theme of the War of Independence in the Glens on Sunday 5 May.

Theatre plays a huge part in the Big Arts Weekend and this year is no exception. The Armagh Rhymers, one of Ireland’s most celebrated folk theatre ensembles, will perform on May Day (Monday 6May), while community arts group Craic Theatre will delight audiences with their performance of Extra Time, a play set in a rural pub during the local football team’s semi-final victory. The Glens’ own Lurig Drama Group bring the festival to a close on Monday evening. 

Firm favourites including Share-a-Poem, Play in a Day and the Family Funday Sunday will all be returning to this year’s Big Arts Weekend, so keep an eye out for further announcements in the coming weeks.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the restoration of the Old Church centre in Cushendun, a dedicated heritage, community and arts space. 

For more information and to book tickets (with many early-bird discounts), visit

News and Updates

Restoration of Cushendun Old Church underway after more than a decade

After twelve years of legal negotiations, funding applications, development plans, and even an appearance on national TV, work is finally underway to restore and convert an old church building in the County Antrim village of Cushendun.

Cushendun Old Church Centre will be an arts, heritage and community space serving people across the Glens of Antrim. The building will also be open year-round as an information and mini-heritage centre, in which visitors can learn about the area. 

The restoration has been made possible thanks to funding and support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NI), Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (Historic Environment Fund), Ulster Garden Villages Ltd, the Pilgrim Trust and the All Churches Trust.

Built in 1842 as a Church of Ireland place of worship, Cushendun Old Church was deconsecrated in 2003 after congregation numbers dwindled.

Since then, local residents – led by dedicated volunteers in Cushendun Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) – have tirelessly campaigned for the building to become a community hub with a focus on the arts.

The Old Church project won the Northern Ireland heat in the BBC Two programme Restoration Village back in 2006 but failed at the last hurdle in the UK finals.

Since work commenced, extensive repairs have been carried out to the interior and exterior building fabric. A new extension annexed to the original building is also taking shape.  It is expected the building work will be completed during Spring 2019.

Monica Morgan, Chair of Cushendun Building Preservation Trust, said, “This is a very exciting time for us here in Cushendun and in the wider Glens. The village has a long association with the arts – painters, poets and writers have all been regular visitors here.

“After more than a decade, we are delighted that this much-needed resource for everyone in the community is now a reality. It has been a long road with countless applications, meetings and, of course, setbacks, but we never gave up hope.

“We’re now calling on interested parties who have a class or a project which would work in the space – be it craft or exercise classes, an exhibition, drama, concert or other event – to get in touch. This will be a space for everyone to enjoy, thanks to our funders, volunteers and supporters!”

For more information on the Old Church Centre, please visit

News and Updates

A fine day out, excellent reading and a literary lucky dip …

IMG_0742That’s what was on offer at this year’s Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale in Cushendun Old Church on the European Heritage Open Days Weekend of 13 and 14 September.

Now in its third year, the Cushendun Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale has become a popular stop for Heritage Weekenders ‘doing’ North Antrim and the Causeway Coast, as well as for locals in the know.   Between 300 – 400 visitors came over the two days attracted by the great range of bargain hardbacks and paperbacks – everything from fiction, crime and biography to travel, cookery and children’s reading – as well as our traditionally rather good tea and buns supplied by local home bakers.

For anyone unable to decide which book was for them, this year we launched our inaugural ‘Literary Lucky Dip’.  A number of books were neatly wrapped in brown paper and hidden inside one of them was a £20 Amazon Gift Certificate.  This proved to be a huge success and something we will do again at our next Vintage Book Sale.

IMG_0743Of course the Book Sale also offers an opportunity to visit the Old Church, a lovely 1840’s country church in the picturesque National Trust Village of  Cushendun which is open as part of the European Heritage Open House Weekend (EHOD).  This year we are pleased to announce that we raised close to £900 over the course of the weekend and this money will be put to good use for the general upkeep of the Old Church until such times as were are in a position to complete the restoration.  We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who brought books, bought books, baked or helped out in any number of other ways.

IMG_0750As well as organising the Big Arts Weekend in May, and the Book Sale in September we have been busy putting together our Stage One application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and an application to Ulster Garden Villages. This is a very exciting, although nail-biting, time for the Cushendun Building Preservation Trust and we will update everyone as soon as we know the outcome.

We are starting to plan ahead for the next Big Arts Weekend 1-4  May 2015. If you have any suggestions, would like to be involved or help out at any of the event drop us an e-mail (

Once again  THANK YOU for your continued support!