Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dublin Book Festival

Dave and I will be featuring some events during the festival but I wanted to preview the upcoming Dublin Book Festival 14-17th November because I hear events are booking up fast.

The festival will be based around Smock Alley Theatre and Temple Bar this year, with events in obvious venues like libraries and bookshops further afield.

The main events, as always, are authors in conversation, readings and panel discussions.  This year, there's also a book club to participate in.  New and budding authors are covered with a range of events to help them get started, meet agents, talk to publishers, etc.

The full programme is available here.

Halloween at Filmbase

Wednesday 30th & Thursday 31st October 2013
In a special event for Halloween, Filmbase in Temple Bar will host two terrifying nights of blood-curdling shorts and a frightening feature. Tonight’s shorts will be followed by an audience Q&A with all of the directors and both nights will feature fancy dress.

19:00 Wednesday 30th October

Wednesday’s line-up features an array of spine-shuddering short films, an audience Q&A with all of the Directors and an Audio Visual Horror Set.
The short film line-up includes:
-          The Ten Steps
-          Zombie Bashers
-          Braineater
-          The Faeries of Blackheath Woods
The Q&A will feature the film’s directors Brendan Muldowney, Conor McMahon & Ciaran Foy.
Audio Visual Horror Set:
Stefano Galvino, the Film Ireland Editor, will haunt your eyes and ears with an exclusive mix of soundtracks, dialogue, horror, spoken word, atmospherics alongside diabolical visuals from all your favourite nightmares to send you home.

Halloween Night’s Freaky Feature Frenzy!
19:00 Thursday 31th October
Citadel (84mins | Cert 16 | 2012)
Tommy Cowley is a young father inflicted with chronic agoraphobia since his wife was brutally attacked by a gang of a twisted feral children. Trapped in the dilapidated suburbia of Edenstown, he must finally face the demons of his past and enter the one place that he fears the most – the abandoned tower block known as the Citadel.

There's also prizes for the best costumes.

Tickets only €3 for one night or €5 for both nights.
Tickets available on the door, or book your place by calling 01 679 6716 and dialling 1 for reception.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pearse Museum

To go along with my visit to Kilmainham Gaol last week, I also trekked to the wilds of Rathfarnham to visit the Pearse Museum.  It's also run by the OPW and is completely free to visit.  It's usually open on Culture Night, if you are out that way.  Important note: it is randomly closed on Tuesdays.

On the day we visited, the weather was not behaving, so having parked on the Grange Road, we had a short, wet walk through St Enda's Park to get to the house.  I imagine it is beautiful to walk through when not raining.  On this particular day, we had the park and house to ourselves.

Íosagáin by Lady Glenavy
The house is of Georgian construction, then known as the Hermitage, and Padraig Pearse, together with his brother Willie, took over the lease in 1910, housing their school for boys here.  It was too wet to be taking photos outside but look here at the Wikipedia link for a good outside shot.  The tour starts with a 20 minute video on the history of St Enda's and the Pearse family.  I would have liked a little more about the history of the house before the Pearse involvement.  Apparently Robert Emmet (failed rebel and also an inmate of Kilmainham Gaol) courted Sarah Curran here.  Pearse was an admirer of Emmet (shocker!) and this played some part in his decision to locate the school here.

 The house has a lovely Arts and Crafts feel.  It's full of paintings and sculptures, by both Willie Pearse and others.  The rooms are still laid out as classrooms and studies.  Of particular note is the large room used to put on plays, with small chapel to the side.  You can view the house self-guided or with a tour guide.  We opted for the former, and there's plenty of information panels on pupils and teachers of note to help you along the way.

After the Rising, the school continued to operate under the guidance of the Pearses' mother and sister, both called Margaret until 1935.  They were also active politically, both women serving as TDs and later as Senators.

There has been some modernisation of the house - adding an additional staircase and some office space on the top floor, but it has been done quite sympathetically.  The house was bequeathed by Senator Margaret Pearse to the State in 1968. 

Kilmainham Gaol

A long long time ago, I was grumpy about not being able to get into Kilmainham Gaol on Culture Night.  I resolved to rectify the matter as soon as possible.  This turned out to be last Friday, 2 years later!

It was a rainy miserable day in Dublin, so it seemed natural to do touristy things.  Kilmainham Gaol's website isn't the best, being part of OPW's template site for every place they look after.  It gives the main information but nothing about parking.  An email request for information about parking was not answered.  That's the bad.  Everything else is good.  It's well worth seeing.  We arrived and found on street metered parking.  This is convenient when it's raining.  There's not a lot of it though.

Entry cost a tiny €6 for adults with reductions for senior citizens, students and kids.  My last visit to the Gaol had been as a 9 year old on a school trip, so it's safe to say lots of it went over my head then.  Access is granted only by guided tour, though you can happily wander around the two storey museum solo.  Make sure to see it - full of memorabilia, items made in the prison, posters and a lot of good information on how the prison developed (new panopticon model based on Pentonville in London, etc).

The tour lasts an hour.  Our tour guide was excellent explaining the history of the prison, the stories about famous prisoners.  It's cold and draughty inside, so make sure to dress warmly.  The youngest prisoner to grace Kilmainham was just 5 years old!  Naturally the Rising came up and we saw the stonebreakers yard where the leaders were executed.  Having been to Alcatraz in San Francisco, I was glad to discover there were no creepy wax models of prisoners!

Corridor where the leaders of the Easter Rising were held.

In the main hall, you can walk into cells, which are bare whitewashed rooms and close the door, to get a small sense of what it must have been like in there.  And then you can regain your freedom immediately.  They currently have an installation of bonnets on the floor.  They are modern reproductions of bonnets made for and by women being transported to Australia.  Extremely poignant.
The thing that surprised me most was how popular a tourist attraction the prison is.  I expected to be on a group tour.  I didn't think there would be about 50 people on it, with another similar sized tour just ahead of us.  Almost all were tourists in both groups.  And this on a wet day in mid-October.  I guess people really don't come here for the weather!

Dinner De Los Muertos

If you're looking for something different to do this Halloween, step this way.

Gruel Guerilla and Hunt & Gather are taking over the Back Loft on 1st November for Dinner de Los Muertos.

For the sum of €40 a head, guests will partake of a meal including : savoury inspirations from New Orleans and Deep South dishes as well as sweet inspirations from Mexico. New Orleans inspired canapés; Irish wild bird gumbo; Creole dish of duck, with mango marmalade; Pan de muertos (Mexican sweet dead bread); Home made sugar skulls.
If that wasn't enough to pique your interest, there'll be live music from Rufus Coates and tarot readings.  Guests are encouraged to dress as the living dead, of course.

Tickets can be booked by emailing the organisers at

Help the Halloween party!

ETA: There's only a few tickets left so get in quick if you fancy it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Temple Bar TradFest 2014

Next year's Temple Bar TradFest runs from 22nd to 26th January 2014 - and even though I've not previously been much of a trad fan I'm very much looking forward to it. TradFest ran a preview event this week and wow was it good. Eleanor McEvoy, Altan and (part of) Stockton's Wing performed: they were all excellent. I'm a convert.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review - The Bruising of Clouds: A Dublin Love Story

The Bruising of Clouds: A Dublin Love Story in the Civic Theatre is presented by Fishamble as part of Dublin Theatre Festival on Tour. It's a romance and a comedy but definitely not what I'd expect from a "RomCom". The play's greatest strength is the plausibility of the characters, particularly Kelly (Seána Kerslake). The Bruising of Clouds is, as the name suggests, very much a Dublin story - not only are the colloquialisms spot on but (wonderfully!) the script is willing to refer to real-world businesses and brands. There's none of that idiotic "I'll have a beer" nonsense - no, the man will have a Budweiser.

Funny and well-paced. Recommended.

Contains strong language and scenes of an adult nature. Suitable for ages 16+. The play continues in the Civic Theatre up to and including Saturday 12th October 2013, running at 8 pm each evening. Duration is 85 minutes with no interval. Tickets cost €18 / €14. There is a post-show discussion on 10th October 2013.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hunt & Gather - Nuit Blanche

Hunt & Gather is a recently created events company run by a pair of creatives with the aim of "providing new sensory experiences questioning the traditional gallery/performance and dining space for Dubliners and visitors alike". They're holding their next event on Saturday 5th October:

"Hunt & Gather presents: 
Nuit Blanche: NEON

Due to the overwhelming response from our first 'Nuit Blanche: Night time gathering' we are very excited to host our second gathering on the evening of October the 5th where we will be transforming Moxie Studios into a multi-sensory playground.

From 11pm until the early pre-dawn hours we are encouraging those adventurous souls to join us for a most curious evening of night time exploration, contemporary art, music, design, fashion, live art, live performance, food and frolics.

In conjunction on the evening we will be hosting the “The Great Exchange” indoor market, this market will be showcasing the works and wares of some of Ireland most inspiring stylists, fashion designers, graphic designers, artists and small business’s. Not only will you be able to soak up an evening of art and culture but you might take something home with you too.

The concept for the evening is “Neon” so expect UV light life drawing from the infamous Dr Sketchy's anti art school and live performance, imaginative light installation pieces and phantom perfromance. We are also delighted to confirm a full live performance from Mr Whippy Sound system.

This is a social experience for the urban explorers, cultural advocates and art lovers alike. We do hope you can join us.
The evening is a BYOB event, there is no entrance fee we kindly ask for a donation of 2e on the evening as a contribution towards the performers.

In addition to the evening we are encouraging attendees to come in fancy dress the concept is neon. We are drawing our inspiration from the bright lights in Tokyo."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Upcoming play - 'Beyond Therapy'

Newish theatre company Some Yank's Theatre Company have an upcoming production of Beyond Therapy, a comedy from the 1980s set in New York. The play runs from 15th to 19th October in the Pearse Centre at 8 p.m. each evening; there's also a matinee on Saturday 19th at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost €12 and can be reserved by mailing

I like the concept behind the theatre company:
"My name is Liam Hallahan, and I'm the founder and artistic director of Some Yank's Theatre Company. I've lived in Ireland for 10 years, having moved from the states when I was 12. I set up Some Yank's Theatre Company last year with the aim of bringing great American plays that aren't seen enough in Irish theatre to the stage. We hope to add a bit of extra colour to the Irish theatre scene with our productions. Scenes from a lot of great American plays pop up in lots of acting courses and classes, but the full plays aren't performed very often.  Beyond Therapy is our second full show, after The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute and a showcase of American scenes we held back in May, called 'Some Yank's Scene Slam'."
Ireland's theatre scene is already very vibrant but I think this could add something new.