Thursday, August 30, 2012

Irish Craft Beerfest

Considering I don't even like beer I seem to be posting about it a lot... What can I say, we know our audience.

The Irish Craft Beerfest will take place at the RDS on 7-9 September. A great many fantastic* Irish brewers are getting together to show their products to the thirsty and to the appreciative. Tickets can be acquired on Ticketmaster and in selected establishments, which will be listed on the website "soon".

*How do I know that if I don't drink beer myself? Because I read things, and have a husband who very much drinks beer, and because I really the attitude and personality of many of these brewers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Handmaidcraft Day

After a very successful first year, Handmaidcraft Day returns to Dublin on 22nd September.  Why am I telling you a month in advance?  Well, booking is now open for classes in Damer Hall on St Stephen's Green.  And they will book up fast if last year is anything to go by.  Entry will cost a fiver on the day and they will have all kinds of crafty goodness on sale.  Proceeds will go to the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A full list of classes is here, and you can book online.  I quite fancy having a go at origami.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oktober come early

It's a busy weekend in Dublin town, with many a gorgeous sight at the riverside - and the ships ain't bad either. The festival season is seriously kicking off, so you can expect plenty of updates from your favourite event bloggers.

Arthur's Day is nothing compared to the German Oktoberfest. For some years now, Dublin has had its own version of this mostly liquid event. We are reliably informed that the foaming will this year take place 13 - 16 September (Septemberfest?) in the Mansion House, as opposed to the IFSC where it has been located in the past.

You know what to expect by now - beers, pretzels, what is, uh, best described as traditional German music, and doubtlessly craic-a-plenty. The entry is free but they suggest you book tables. All the necessary information is available on the website.

The marketing relies heavily on young women in dirndls, as might be expected. I am asking where the strapping lads in lederhosen are?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tall Ships 23rd - 26th August

Reports on the interwebs suggest that the Tall Ships have begun arriving but the official event doesn't begin until Thursday.

They started out in France at the beginning of July, made their way down the coast to Spain and Portugal and finish up here this week.  Half the crew of each ship is made up of volunteers aged between 15 and 25.  It's a great opportunity to learn how to sail while having brilliant fun.  The ships come from all over Europe.

It's a great time to be around town.  There's plenty to do and see for all the family.  The accompanying festival will bring some traffic re-routing, closures of Dublin Bike stands on the quays and bus diversions.  Nonetheless, they are encouraging everyone to come by public transport.  Bulmers is sponsoring a Live Music Dock throughout the four days.  Highlights (for me) include Duke Special, Cathy Davey, Ash and the Undertones.

The Jeanie Johnston will be open all weekend for tours as well.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Heritage Week 18th - 26th

So Heritage Week starts on the 18th.  It's a bit of a misnomer because it's actually 9 days of activities but I suppose we'll let them off.  There is quite literally too many events, even limiting ourselves to Dublin and county to mention them all.  However, the website is great and easy to use: you can search by a whole range of types of events to narrow it down.  One thing to remember, a lot of things are on in the day time and family friendly, so it's ideal if you need last minute activities before the kids go back to school.  There really is something for everyone here.  I've picked out a couple of notable things below.

I did a random Fingal search and found an interesting looking talk in Blanchardstown Library on 25th August (sadly, in the afternoon) on the Phoenix Park Assassinations And Trial Of Invincibles 1882 - 1883.

If you've any interest in Glasnevin cemetery, they'll be doing tours during Heritage week.  They're normally only a fiver but free next week and well worth doing.  I did one last year during Heritage week and it was fascinating.

The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham is doing a range of guided tours of the building inside and out every day during Heritage Week.  Even if IMMA's not your thing,just seeing inside this building is a treat on its own.

Dublin Castle is the venue for a talk entitled "A Very Dublin Death: The Plague In Ireland, 1348-1400" on 24th and that is on at 18:15.

Everything appears to be free, though some things will require booking.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dublin Mela

Bus advertising does work. Today I saw a poster in a 67 for Dublin Mela, a celebration of Indian culture in the style of Indian fairs. Organised by the non-profit Unitas, an organisation of the Indian diaspora living in Ireland, focusing on 'integration through sports, arts and culture', the Mela will take place from 15 to 19 August. The website promises films, sports, arts and food.

The main Mela day will be Saturday 18 August in Corkagh Park in Clondalkin, 12 - 6 pm, with free entry. Elsewhere, an art exhibition will be held in Trinity College's Buttery, 16-21 August, and a Bharatnatyam dance workshop at Chester Beatty Library on Sunday 19 August, 1 - 2 pm (free, but must be booked in advance through the Chester Beatty's website).

Down with Jazz 24/25/26 August

Down with Jazz is a free, ticketed 3 day festival in Meeting House Square taking place over the last weekend in August.  Here's the promo video.

I didn't know previously that there had been anti-jazz riots in Leitrim in 1934!  At any rate, there won't be riots in Dublin but there will be 3 great days of jazz performances - see the list here.

It's all free but you need to book tickets: Log onto to do that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The High Tea Hop

Elena from Temple Bar Cultural Trust got in touch with me recently about an event they're holding on Friday 10th August. The High Tea Hop is a day of events entirely dedicated to the members of the Active Retired. Here's TBCT's description of the event:

"If you are a member of the active retired but not quite the retiring type, then we have a full day of arts and cultural events designed to showcase all that Temple Bar has to offer a mature, discerning audience. The programme will have a little something for everyone, from exhibition visits and storytelling to film screenings and walking tours.

The day will close with a Hop on Meeting House Square featuring all the hits of the showband era, so just put on your thinking cap and bring your dancing shoes. Feel young at Art!

For more details or to book a place in a workshop, tour or talk, contact Temple Bar Cultural Trust on 01 677 2255 or

Tickets for High Tea Hop in Meeting House Square are also available on"

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

International Argentine Tango Festival

The 10th International Argentine Tango Festival will be taking place in Dublin 23-26 August, with a series of pre-festival events 17-19 August. The organisers call this a celebration of Argentine culture so we can expect plenty of wonderful music, food and words.

The pre-festival events, some free of charge, include a friendly Spanish class held in a pub, talk on the writer Jose Luis Borges and a workshop in tango for complete beginners.

The main events are held in various venues around the south city centre and include workshops and a concert.

All the details, including venues, prices and booking, can be found on the festival website.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Photos of Dublin Zombie Walk 2012

Once again our city has been struck by the undead. (And I have to say, fellow Dubliners, some of you look very good as zombies.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: 'The Lark' in Smock Alley Theatre

A new production of Jean Anouilh's The Lark is currently running in Smock Alley Theatre. The Lark is set during trial of Joan of Arc, and tells a dramatised account of her life. It's a good play in its own right but the greatest strength of this production by theatre company Fast Intent is the choice of venue, The Boys' School in Smock Alley. The high ceiling, faded brick backdrop and hard wooden benches are well suited to the atmosphere of the play. Few productions are so fortunate (or so foresightful) as to have such a simple and effective ready-made setting.

Despite the somewhat grim subject of the play this is an entertaining and amusing production. Anouilh resists the temptation to reduce the antagonists to nothing more than caricatures of stupidity or evil. Although at times the clerics' remarks are used for comic effect, Joan's questioners also have the chance to present compelling arguments against her and to display a possible desire for mercy. Fast Intent hint at the relevance of the play's themes to modern Ireland, and while I don't disagree, I also enjoyed it at the simpler level of appreciating the Hundred Years War. Watching an English-language version of a French play about the war that defined both of those archetypal nation-states is a pleasure.

Rating: 4/5

The Lark continues in Smock Alley Theatre until Saturday 11th August 2012. The performance starts at 8 pm and runs for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes including a 15 minute interval. Tickets cost €15 / €12.50. There are matinee performances at 3 pm on Saturday 4th and Saturday 11th August.