Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Doll House @ Smock Alley Theatre

Judith Roddy as Nora
Pan Pan Theatre are doing a new contemporary production of Ibsen's A Doll house, directed by Gavin Quinn.  Previews start on 4th April with the official opening on the 10th and it runs until the end of the month.  I haven't been into the revamped Smock Alley Theatre yet but I hear it's a treat.  Here's the blurb:

It’s Christmas and Nora Helmer is going crazy squirreling away presents and decorations, spending the money her husband hasn't yet earned as the new bank manager. But don't worry - Pan Pan’s version of Henrik Ibsen’s modern classic doesn't dwell on the current recession. They're looking at communication, relationships, and social conventions and how we are – first and foremost human beings. After all, people shouldn't always be thinking of themselves, especially women. 

Tickets for the previews are €15 and go up to €28-€30 for the actual run.  We've been given a promotion code to share with our readers!  If you stick "FriPan" into the box, you'll get tickets for €16 each. Go and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Liberate Ulysses"

Liberate Ulysses want to talk to you about Ulysses:
Let a thousand Ulysses Dialogues bloom this Bloomsday! Make them local in pubs, living rooms, and parks. Make them in two’s and three’s and twenty’s. Make them global through the expanse of Google+, blogs, and vimeo.

Oh, and they're looking for volunteers with new media skills (podcasting, livestreaming, etc.) for 11-16 June.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Next Dublintellectual event - Uprising, Thursday 29th

Dublintellectual's next event is one of their Uprising events. I'm not sure of their topics/speakers this time around, but here's how they describe the series: "The Uprising: Young Scholars & Artists in Dialogue event series, launched in February, showcases the work of postgraduate students and young artists, writers and musicians in Dublin. The series involves discussions on culture, common points in research and creative work, as well as practical issues facing emerging scholars and artists. Our aim is to provide a forum where scholarly and artistic contributors can present their work on their own terms, without the constraints of 'traditional' conference or gallery formats."

The event is on in The Generator in Smithfield on Thursday 29th March 2012 at 7:30 pm. It's not the most beautiful of venues - that would be the recently refurbished Smock Alley Theatre used by Dublintellectual for their recent City Intersections event - but it has a relaxed character, suiting the Uprising series.

'Dine in Dublin' is back

Dine in Dublin Week returns, running from Monday 26th March (today) to Sunday 1st April. The price range is now wider than it once was, including for example a €10 menu from The Port House on South William Street and €30 menus from Saba and Fallon & Byrne.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jacob’s Creek ‘Wine & Dine Experience’

I should have mentioned this earlier in the week - it's obviously entirely commercial but looks enjoyable. Straight from the press release:
This March and April, award winning Australian wine brand, Jacob’s Creek is encouraging food and wine enthusiasts across Ireland to ‘See Beyond The Label’. The brand is inviting guests to let their senses run wild to explore the true character of wine and food at a special free ‘Wine & Dine Experience’.

Using only their senses as a guide, guests will be taken on a virtual whistle stop tour through the Jacob’s Creek winery by top wine expert TV3’s David Whelehan, who will use the quality portfolio of Jacob’s Creek wines to reveal classic tips like how to understand a wine label and how to identify different grape varieties and wine styles. Throughout the evening, David will conduct blindfolded wine tastings to help guests develop their sense of smell and recognise the aromas of different wines. An award winning chef in each county will create a three course dinner menu using the Jacob’s Creek wine range for inspiration. Food on the night is guaranteed to tickle the taste buds and further tantalise the senses.

The Jacob’s Creek ‘Wine & Dine Experience’ will take place over the following dates: Dublin 27th March, Cork 4th April, Galway 19th April and Waterford 26th April. To request a reservation at these special culinary events, logon to and enter your details on the ‘The Wine and Dine Experience’ tab or email with Jacob’s Creek ‘Wine & Dine Experience’ in the subject line, your name, date of birth (as drinks will be served), and contact details for you and a guest. Also please include which county event you would like to attend. Places are limited and guests will be chosen at random.

They didn't mention the closing date, but you should assume it's today, Friday 23rd.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fry's Model Railway

Just over a year ago, I posted about Malahide's much loved "Fry Model Railway" closing down.  At the time, it looked like Dublin Tourism (who had purchased it from Cyril Fry's widow in the 70s) was scouting for a new venue.

Since then a lot has happened.

In August last year, the Irish Times reported that an anonymous donor* had given the town €1.5m with the idea that The Casino (see picture below), a famous thatched house, would be bought and developed as a permanent home for the model railway, right beside its real-life equivalent in the village.  The Casino, originally a shooting lodge for the Talbots of Malahide Castle, had been bought during the boom by now-NAMA-ed developer Gerry Gannon, originally with the plan to turn it into a restaurant and he was on board (choo-choo! sorry, couldn't resist) with this plan.  Dublin Tourism claimed not to be aware of the offer at that same time.

Two weeks ago, Dublin Tourism announced plans to house the model railway underground in Busáras, by refurbishing the Eblana Theatre, at a cost of €1m.  What?!  It's hard to believe that they would be willing to spend €1m to house it in town, instead of taking free money to house it locally, while saving a landmark house as well.

There is now a Facebook campaign running, which asks people to contact their local representatives (some of whom are involved in the campaign) in support of using the bequest to keep the model railway in Malahide.  I wish them all the best of luck.

*Later outed as a local farmer, Michael Gaffney, now deceased.

Dublintellectual - City Intersections

Dublintellectual are launching a new series of events called 'City Intersections'. Here are the details:
City Intersections

Thursday, 22nd March at 7pm

Smock Alley Theatre, Exchange St. Lower, Temple Bar

Admission is free, wine reception to follow. RSVP to

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague; Claire Kilroy; Maeve Higgins; Una Mullally; Madeleine Lyes

City Intersections is a civic, scholarly and public initiative. It will examine the many different ways Dubliners think about being urban, looking at the ideas we associate with city life in Ireland and the things we may be missing. Including people from all kinds of city-related backgrounds, the series will offer an inclusive space for the support of public discussion on urban themes.

Launching on the 22nd of March in the newly refurbished Smock Alley Theatre, the City Intersections series will involve ten monthly events revolving around particular themes and inviting speakers whose work, life, or areas of interest allow them to bring a unique perspective to the topic. The city is currently experiencing a wave of dynamism in response to the stringent challenges it faces, and this series will encourage cross-platform and interdisciplinary engagement, offering the public an opportunity to be a part of the changes on-going in the city today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fingal Film Fest 21-23 March

The first ever Fingal Film Fest starts tomorrow.  This is very much a filmmaker's festival with masterclasses and workshops as well as screenings and awards.  Tickets for all events can be booked through  The films are being shown in the UCI in Blanchardstown (yes, Fingal really does cover here) and the workshop events are across the road in Draíocht.  The awards ceremony will be held in the Wright Venue in Swords.  The gala screening tomorrow night is of This Must be the Place, which was filmed in Fingal last year and starring Sean Penn, apparently in drag, amongst others.  Best of luck to the inaugural event - next year's is already being planned.

WJ Kavanagh's

Hot on the heels of the craft beery goodness of St Patrick's weekend comes a new craft beer pub on Dorset St.

WJ Kavanagh's is at the Temple St end and is the little sister (brother?) pub of L Mulligan Grocer, a major favourite here at  They also serve food and are a little closer to the nitelink than Stoneybatter!

They are open as of today and we wish them all the best.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Irish Craft Beer Festival opens in IFSC

I dropped by briefly this afternoon to take a look. It was surprisingly quiet - I guess it doesn't yet have a reputation to match Dublin's Oktoberfest. (Even though it's just an imitation of the real thing, Oktoberfest in the IFSC each year is a lot of fun and very popular.) The other way to look at this is that the Irish Craft Beer Festival is more of an evening event; for example music starts today at 5 pm.

It's free in today and tomorrow from noon to 7 pm; after those hours and at the weekend admission costs €10.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St Patrick's Festival

I don't know about you but it feels like there isn't as much of a fuss about Paddy's Day this year (seriously, not Patty, I'm looking at you, America).  There is a festival running from 16th - 19th March, so it's only a couple of days shorter than previous years, which is fine by me.  The photo above is from the launch of the festival.  Both the Irish Craft Beer Festival and the Creative Quarter Festival that Nina and I posted about are technically part of this larger event.  But what else is running?

The now traditional Merrion Square funfair will take place every day but with additional attractions at Wolfe Tone Park (i.e. the original cemetery behind St Mary's Church on Jervis/Mary St) and Custom House Quay.

The star attraction for most will be the official parade, which kicks off at 12 noon on Saturday.  It starts on Parnell Square this year and winds its way to St Patrick's Cathedral (geddit?)  The theme for this year is the wonder and curiosity of science and now I understand why there is a family friendly science treasure hunt on Sunday (10am, meet at City Hall).

The evenings are filled with mostly music events (Céilí House Live on Saturday sounds fun).  The Laughter Lounge is also running a Father Ted weekend on both Saturday and Sunday night.

Full details of all the events are here.

There's a free app for Iphone/Android too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dublintellectual - Conversations on Culture

Dublintellectual's Conversations on Culture series of discussions continues on Wednesday 14th March in Ormond Wine Bar at 8 pm. I'm particularly interested in Christopher Stokes' topic, Kindle and the End of the Book. I imagine that could generate some seriously divided opinions; I'll be on the pro-Kindle side.

Admission to the event is free.

One of the other contributors to this site, Claire, came along with two of her friends to see the previous Dublintellectual event last Saturday - and were, I'm sad to say, none too impressed. Overall though I've enjoyed Dublintellectual's events, and I suppose everyone has their bad days.

Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil 2012

I'm going to be a bit lazy this morning and take this info straight from the press release for the upcoming Feis Ceoil:
Over half a million classical musicians have competed in Ireland’s premier classical music competition since its inception in 1896.

More than 5,000 classical musicians from all over Ireland will compete at Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil 2012 at the RDS Dublin during this eleven day festival of classical music. Voices, pianos, strings and choirs, will take part in over 180 individual classical music competitions which are open to the public for a mere €5 a day. This makes it wonderfully affordable to come along and hear some of Ireland’s finest musicians, and of course a chance to see future stars in the making.

RDS Dates: Tuesday March 20 – Friday March 30, 2012
Gala Concert at NCH: 7.30pm Sat March 31, 2012.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Creative Quarter"

Apparently one of my favourite parts of Dublin has a name, these days: Creative Quarter. This is the area between South Great George's Street, Exchequer/Wicklow Street, Clarendon Street and Lower Stephen's Street. I'm not convinced by the name, but it seems that a host of small events are taking place there on Friday 16 March.

Take a look (pdf).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: 'Love Matters' in Project Arts Centre

Rarely when a playwright is lauded for his courage is such praise meant in a literal, physical sense. Gary Mitchell, the writer behind Love Matters, has had his home attacked, his life threatened, and his car firebombed. Even without that, it would take a degree of bravery to stage a play about Loyalism in Irish... in Dublin, with live Irish-to-English translation.

None of this would matter if the play itself were poor, but fortunately it's both well written and well acted. Despite the political backdrop of the play it's correctly billed as 'a romantic, tragi-comedy' - it just happens to be set in a working-class Protestant community.

The characters have clear, believable motives, and by keeping his focus on the Loyalist community Mitchell avoids the easy clichés we've all seen countless times in depictions of Northern Ireland. There's no preaching, and the play is even-handed in its depictions of the characters: despite Mitchell's own experiences, Loyalist boss Big Ernie (played by Seán Ó Muireagáin) isn't shown simply as a thug but is a more complex, interesting man with a family and the possibility of moving on from violence.

The structure and pace of the play are good, and it builds well to a very tense final scene.

Rating: ****
Conclusion: psychologically plausible and engaging, Love Matters is like a Loyalist version of The Sopranos.

Love Matters continues this evening (Friday 9th) and tomorrow (Saturday 10th March 2012). Friday's performance is in Irish only with no live translation; the Saturday performance will have live translation. There'll be post-show discussions with the cast & director after both remaining shows. Tickets cost €15/€10, and the play is suitable for ages 16+. The play starts at 8:15 pm each evening and runs until about 10:00 pm including an interval (but not including the post-show discussion).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Project Arts Centre and ABSOLUT Fringe: 'Turnaround'

Just heard about this earlier today: "ABSOLUT Fringe and Project Arts Centre are joining forces to rip it up in rep, as five favourite shows from fringes past return for a sensational season at Project Arts Centre. Turn Around is a diverse line up of theatre, dance, puppetry, spoken word and music-theatre, a season of specially curated works just for you." The five shows are Waterworn, The Spinner, Threshold, Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About and Gis a Shot of Your Bongo Mister.

'Turn Around' runs from 12th April to 28th April, and I'll discuss this again in more detail closer to the time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dublintellectual - 'Ireland and African America'

Dublintellectual seem to be holding events at an ever-increasing rate these days* - they've another one on in the Ormond Wine Bar this Saturday:
Dublintellectual and the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies invite you to an evening of discussion on the multi-layered history of Irish and African-American interactions, taking place Saturday 10th March at 20:00 in the Ormond Wine Bar. The evening will include a reading by Ishmael Reed and informal talks by Eric Lott (University of Virginia), Joe Breen (Irish Times) and Fiona Fitzsimmons (Eneclann). The event is free and all are welcome.

*We can hypothesise that some time in 2013 Dublintellectual will cross an important threshold as events cease to be discrete occurences and instead become a single unending continuum.

Irish Craft Beer Festival 15th - 19th March

I only just got wind of this upcoming St Patrick's Day related festival.

The Irish Craft Beer Festival will be running at George's Dock in the IFSC for 4 days from 15th to 19th March.

Breweries participating include:
Eight Degrees
Fransciscan Well
Galway Hooker
Messrs' Maguire
The Porter House
Trouble Brewing
White Gypsy
Dingle Brewing Co

Their website doesn't have much detail yet but you can follow them on Twitter @IrishBeerFest and they are running a competition to win tickets. 

ETA: Twitter interaction informs me that they will be open from 12 noon each day!

FOODFIGHT in the Back Loft, La Catedral Studios

White Lady Art are about to open another exhibition, this time in the Back Loft gallery on St Augustine St. It's called FOODFIGHT - here's how they describe it:
What do six Belfast artists have in common? How about a strangely obsessive draw towards food! Or fighting with it…FOOD FIGHT! is a show that will take the artist out of Belfast and root himself and herself firmly in the realm of foodie heaven, each exploring their sugar-encrusted, fuel vs. taste tendencies. While other (more conservative one might say) exhibitions deal with worldy issues like love, death, beauty…and dare I say it, politics….this will be an unabashed foray into the one thing we are supposed to do every day of our lives! EAT! What else can you say you do three times a day without your friends staging interventions? Each artist has been thrown in the custardy deep end to sink or swim, providing you with their idea of culinary bliss, exploring their artistic character's relationship with grub, and delving into to pithy depths of their psychological relationship with nom-noms.

Where: the Back Loft gallery, La Catedral Studios, 7-11 Saint Augustine Street, Dublin 8
When: Wednesday March 7th - Sunday March 11th
Opening night: Wednesday March 7th 6pm - 9pm
Tickets: €7 or €5 conc.
After-party: Generator Hostel, Smithfield Square

Monday, March 5, 2012

Titanic Tea for Two

I always think that afternoon tea is a most under-appreciated meal.  Who doesn't love tiny sandwiches and pieces of cake with lots of tea and coffee?  And all that usually superfluous crockery & cutlery like tea strainers and sugar tongs and special cake plates?

The Shelbourne Hotel is cashing in on the Titanic centenary next month by offering special afternoon tea.  The menu has been created from actual dishes served on the Titanic.  It costs €24.95 per person or add a tenner for a glass of champagne.  It's running from 14th March til 30th April.  I was going to suggest going in 1912 outfits but the Shelbourne does have a dress code.

I'll certainly be sampling this menu.

Natalie Jermijenko at the Science Gallery

Oh, we love the Science Gallery here at Dublin Culture. Dave already reviewed their current Edible (om nom nom) exhibition some weeks ago. Continuing today's trend of science and the arts collaborating, I want to draw attention to the talk by Natalie Jermijenko,  Associate Professor of Visual Art and Director of xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at New York University, on Thursday March 8, 6.00 - 7.00 pm. You can see the event blurb here. Natalie Jermijenko is a visual artist with a background in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering and she will talk about the opportunities presented by new technologies for non-violent social change. Very topical in these times.

The admission to this event is €5 and you can book on the website linked above; just scroll down.

Particles of the Past at the National Library

On last Culture Night, I visited the National Library and joined their mailing list, but shamefully I have been slow to pass on their events to our readership. Let's fix this now.

Particles of the Past, part of the Library's Discover Your National Library exhibition, opened on 28 February. It celebrates Dublin as the City of Science 2012 and displays a selection of science-related items from the Collections. You can read the description of the exhibition here. It sounds very interesting and I hope to visit it soon.

This exhibition is accompanied by a lecture series. No booking is required for these talks and there is no charge. All talks take place at 7.00 pm.

Wednesday 7 March:  ‘Answering the sick call’: Medical dispensaries and doctors in nineteenth-century Ireland. Dr Catherine Cox.

Wednesday 21 March: 'Science for everyman (and woman): The Royal College of Science for Ireland and its students, 1867-1926'. Dr Clara Cullen.

Wednesday 28 March: 'Robert Boyle: Step-father to Modern Evidence-based Medicine'. Professor Jim Malone.

The National Library also have an Open Day on Sunday 11 March, from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Experimental Composer Sever Tipei speaks at Trinity College

If you're into music composition, this event in Trinity might be of interest:
"On Thursday, March 8th, 2012, the Music Composition Centre at Trinity College will host a free talk by composer Sever Tipei, visiting from the University of Illinois. The talk will take place at 6pm in the Boydell Room in House 5, Trinity College."

Tipei's speciality seems to be computer-generated music.

Admission is free but tickets must be reserved in advance. (Full details are on the TCD website, linked to above.)

Dublin Writers' Forum in The Loft Bookshop

Dublin Writers' Forum are having their first public reading to share their work. It's on in The Loft Bookshop on Monday 5th March in the Twisted Pepper building on Abbey Street, from 19:30 to 22:30.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dublintellectual - 'Zombies: Are We Dead Yet?'

Dublintellectual have another event on this evening,'Zombies: Are We Dead Yet?': "Dublintellectual presents a night of talks, clips and music on the undead. The director of zombie flick Dead Meat, Conor McMahon, will be joined by Sarah Cleary talking about the sex lives of zombies, Sorcha Ni Fhlainn on zombie soldiers, and Emma Radley on zombies in Irish cinema."

The event is on in The Back Loft, Augustine Street (off Thomas Street) at 7 pm. Most Dublintellectual events are free but this time entry costs €5 - unless you're dresses as a zombie, in which case it's free. Either way, BYOB and have fun.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First Thursday - March 2012

As today is the first Thursday of the month, it's part of First Thursdays. If you're in Temple Bar, I'd suggest taking a look at the Panto Collapsar visual art piece in Project Arts Centre. There's also a new exhibition opening today in the Gallery of Photography, Amazon.