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TV | ‘Hidden NI’ returns to UTV to Explore more Hidden Gems of Northern Ireland

Sara O'Kane with Environmental Geologist Kieran Parker in Lyles Hill Iron Mine near Templepatrick

Sara O'Kane with Environmental Geologist Kieran Parker in Lyles Hill Iron Mine near Templepatrick

Hidden NI is back on UTV for a second series, with presenter Sara O’Kane uncovering more of Northern Ireland’s less well known spaces and places.

Sara will be swapping her reporter’s jackets for hard hats, safety goggles and lifejackets as she’s travelling across Northern Ireland celebrating our hidden gems, finding out about places we never knew existed, as well as exploring places we don’t normally get to see.  

The six half-hour episodes have it all, kicking off on Tuesday with Sara getting a proper workout kayaking on the North Coast and exploring the famous Carrick-a-rede rope bridge from the bottom up! She also gets some unexpected company en route, when she and the crew are joined by a pod of very friendly dolphins! 

Kayaking on the North Antrim Coast.

Back on dry land, Sara then heads to an iron mine near Templepatrick. Because of the disrepair and depleted oxygen levels in the mine, the public isn’t allowed to visit, so Sara explores the nine kilometres of tunnels with environmental geologist Kieran Parker, who keeps everyone safe.

The latter part of the first episode sees Sara head for the skies, as she’s given exclusive access to Belfast City Airport’s Air Traffic Control tower, chatting to Air Traffic Controller Nigel Jackson who gives us a great insight into the ‘day to day operation’, as well as the extraordinary events that make the job so special.

In following episodes we’ll see Sara getting put to work at Exploris aquarium in Co.Down; spending a ‘night at the museum’ in Belfast; finding out how crisps and beer are made; exploring some of Northern Ireland’s more unusual ancient buildings and fortifications; trying out her ice-hockey skills with the Belfast Giants; getting up close and personal with an elephant; and much much more!

Sara said:

“We knew we were on to a winner with series one last year – and I was totally up for exploring more of the hidden Northern Ireland, with a few challenges thrown in along the way! 

"It’s the people attached to many of these great spaces that make it all so interesting and bring it to life, so thank you to all the organisations and contributors who allowed us access to these hidden gems - we had great fun filming and we hope everyone enjoys watching.” 

UTV Programme Producer Alison Fleming said:

“We thought we’d be challenged in series two to find more hidden gems not covered in the first series – how wrong we were!  Northern Ireland has such rich history and heritage and I can safely say there is something for everyone in this series.

"The variety of locations, along with Sara’s infectious enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude,make for a great series which will educate and entertain in equal measure.”

Tony Curry, Programme Editor at UTV said:

"UTV programmes and news are all about bringing stories to life for the viewers and this new series is no exception.  Sara and the crew have made a great series that shows the richness and beauty of Northern Ireland that many won't have known about."

The series is a UTV production and is sponsored by Ulster University. You can watch the first episode on Tuesday 27th June at 8.30pm on UTV and on catch up after on .


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