NI Experience 2018

NI Experience a great success!

A fabulous weekend was had by all at the BBSA Northern Ireland Experience 2018.

The weather was perfect, the golfers enjoyed a full day in the sun on the famous Ardglass Golf Course, and those who had a tour of the Mourne Mountains were treated to some stunning scenery. The Presidents Ball on the Friday evening was attended by over 120 people and raised a total of £3025 for Cancer Fund for Children. 

We heard from Gillian Creevy of Cancer Fund for Children what a difference this money will make to the lives of those Children and their families coping with childhood cancer and we are pleased to be able to support such a worthy cause.

On behalf of the charity and the BBSA we would like to thank you all very much for your support and generous sponsorship.

On the Saturday many enjoyed a trip to Belfast, while others decided to relax in the comfort of the beautiful Slieve Donard Hotel. This was followed by an evening of music and Irish dancing.

A perfect location and great Irish hospitality made for a very enjoyable weekend. Photos of the event can be seen here

We hope you can join us next year for the BBSA Centenary Ball. Details to follow at a later date.

** April Update**

Tours & Activities

 There are two tours are being organised by the NI 2018 team and both need to be pre-booked by 06th April. Please see attached tours document. Email to book your place/s.

 The hotel has many activities on offer for you to enjoy and there are great places to visit in the local area. Please see the attached activities documents for further information.

 Please note the hotel activities and spa get booked up very early so to avoid disappointment please pre-book these with the hotel as early as possible. For spa bookings please click here


 Slieve Donard hotel is approximately 1 hours’ drive from Belfast City and Belfast International airports. For those of you arriving by air, there are several options for transfers. Car hire is the best way to get to and from the hotel. There are several car hire companies based at both airports with car hire starting from around £30 for two days. We suggest you pre-book online.

Taxis are also available at both airports and will cost between £60 & £70 per trip. There is a bus service from both airports but this does run via the city centre and takes approximately 2 hours to reach the hotel.

 We were hoping to provide a transfer service but due to numbers of attendees and the number of flights spread over different airports, logistically this has not proved possible. However, we will try to provide details to everyone who are travelling on the same flights in order to give you the opportunity for car/taxi sharing.

 Friday 19th April - Golf

 The BBSA Golf Society will be holding their event at Ardglass Golf Course and transport from the hotel to the golf course will leave at 10.00 sharp. Tee off time will be 11.00. Golf clubs and buggies can be pre-booked if required by contacting the Ardglass Golf Course here.

 We suggest you pre-book as there is limited availability.

 The coach will leave Ardglass at 17.00 to return to the hotel. For anyone lucky enough to be a winner there will be short presentation after the event. If you have not yet booked your place and wish to join in with this event please email

 Friday 20th April Presidents Ball

 Please see timings below. Dress code, black tie. 

 There will be a cash bar on arrival. Please note we will not be issuing tickets.

 18.30  Meet for pre-dinner drinks, The Grand Ballroom

19.00  Locate your table in the Ball Room

19.10  Speeches

19.30  Dinner

21.00  Raffle

21.30  Dancing until 12.30, The Big Kahuna Band

 Saturday 21st April Dinner – Mourn Golf Club

 Saturday night will be a less informal evening of Irish music, dancing and a delicious buffet. Please see timings below. Dress code, smart casual. There will be a cash bar at the golf club which is situated a few minutes’ walk away in the hotel grounds.

 18.30  Meet at Mourne Golf Club

19.00  Singer Paul O’Kane

20.00  Buffet

21.00  Dancing until 11.00, The Whole Hog

The NI Experience Team

 ** November Update**

Accommodation for this event is going fast.

To ensure you secure the best room possible please book early. Just email the hotel at with your requirements and quote booking reference BBSA 125877. All accommodation must be booked by 1st March 2018 to benefit from our discounted rates and superior rooms will be allocated first to early bookers. Flights will also be cheaper the sooner you book.

GOLFERS - All golf places need to be secured as soon as possible, Ardglass golf course is highly sought after and places need to be booked by the end of December. You will be playing for the BBSA Golf Society Challenge Cup and clubs can be hired direct from the golf course if required. Please email to book your place/s. 

Dont miss out on this fantastic weekend - Your NI 2018 Team.

The Slieve Donard Resort and Spa

We will be staying at this lovingly maintained and impressive Victorian building which is one of Europe’s leading resort destinations and probably the top 5* rated hotel in Ulster.

The room rate, inclusive of bed and breakfast, is £185 for a double and £150 for a single room per night. This is for recently refurbished rooms and is a discounted rate based on the BBSA’s block booking. To book simply contact the hotel directly and quote our Booking Reference 125877.

The Friday Night Dinner and the Saturday Irish Night

The traditional dinner dance will be in the hotel on Friday night. For your entertainment we have booked The Big Kahuna, a six piece band, that are one of the top venue bands in Ireland. They pride themselves in delivering a fun, lively and energetic show that is certain to keep you on the dance floor all night.

Saturday night will be a more relaxed Irish evening in the Mourne Golf Club adjacent to the hotel and will feature traditional Irish music and a buffet meal that, with the help of a Guinness or two, will also keep you on the dance floor all night.

Tickets for both nights total £65 per person and should be booked with Cath Webb on 01449 780444 or


On Friday, the BBSA Golf Society will be holding their annual event at Ardglass Golf Course and transport will be arranged from the hotel. The cost for a round is expected to be £65 and all are invited to join us. Golf can be said to be the national game for Northern Ireland and for golfers this is an opportunity that should not be missed.


The cost of flights is currently very low and are unlikely to be less so early booking would be sensible. The travel time to the hotel from the airport is the same as from most major airports to city centre. For those that are flying in and not making their own arrangements the NI experience team will be organising transport to and from the airport. Please see the attached flight schedules with highlighted flights that will have airport transfers to and from the hotel. 

Tours and Attractions

For Friday and Saturday the team have arranged for a coach to take you on a tour of the Mournes to fully appreciate the magnificent scenery and features of the area. Our visit to Belfast is a must and you have to see the murals and the Titanic attraction or you could try some retail therapy.


Active or relaxed there is plenty to do – please see the attached brochure.

Actions for you NOW

  • Book your accommodation direct with the Slieve Donard using the booking reference 125877
  • Book your flights or ferry crossing to take advantage of the advanced, low fares
  • Book your car hire or let us know when you will be arriving/departing
  • Let Cath at the BBSA know how many tickets you will need for the Friday and Saturday night’s entertainment

We are planning a weekend that you will remember forever with a warm Irish welcome and a friendly atmosphere guaranteed. The Craic will be great!

Joyce (Decora), Philippa (Sunstopper Blinds), Nadine (RA Irwin), Keira (Bloc Blinds), Michelle (Decora), Tim (Powell Blinds), Gery (Hallmark Blinds) and Cath (BBSA).

The NI Experience Team

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