Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

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In Ireland for Thanksgiving?

Here are tips for finding your favourite Thanksgiving foods in Ireland, where to eat a Thanksgiving dinner out, and more.

Updated with more places to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland  for 2015, some recipe ideas, and a Thanksgiving reenactment. If YOU’VE tips, a fab recipe, Thanksgiving event or fun Thanksgiving in Ireland themed photo you’d like to share, contact me. @vibrantireland on Twitter or email Cheers!

Essential for Thanksgiving in Ireland? Libby's classic canned pumpkin.

Essential for Thanksgiving in Ireland? Libby’s classic canned pumpkin.

Thanksgiving food most missed in Ireland? Pumpkin Pie!

But wait, help is at hand! You can now buy that pumpkin pie classic, pumpkin in a can, in Ireland! How many of us grew up with this rather rubbery mass of surprising deliciousness? Often the brand of choice was Libby’s; You may enjoy the blast from the past Libby’s commercial below!

Note: I should say that while I didn’t conduct a rigorous scientific survey, in chatting to other North Americans over the years, Pumpkin Pie seems to top the list of what we miss most when we spend Thanksgiving in Ireland 🙂



[youtube_sc url=”” title=”vintage%20Libby%27s%20Libby%27s%20Libby%27s%20ad%20″]

Fallon & Byrne in Dublin carry Libby’s canned pumpkin in their shop; I know that  supplies sell out fairly sharpish in many places, and F & B is no exception. Perhaps just give Fallon & Byrne a buzz to check stock levels before you make a special trip. Of course just eating there in their tasty restaurant is a grand consolation if you find the pumpkin pie cans are all gone! Tel. 01 4721010 (choose 1 for the office) Open Mon to Fri 8am- 9pm,  Sat 9am- 9pm, Sun 11am- 7pm Location: 11-17 Exchequer St, Dublin 2

I’ve seen canned pumpkin occasionally in Aldi or Lidl– it must have been during one of their special ‘American’ promotions (Hotdogs in liquid stuffed a jar, anyone? Umm, how is that even a thing? Did I miss this during my 30 years in the States?) If I were you, I’d keep my eyes peeled over the coming weeks in case these guys put canned pumpkin on their shelves again.

You can order Libby’s canned pumpkin online at where it costs €3.45 a can. They also have some shop stocklists; here’s the list from their website:

Call before you go to make sure they have what you are looking for!

The Food Centre (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

Unit 1

Cleveragh Business Park (beside Doorly Park)


Ph: 071-91-74077



The Food Centre (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

Unit 12

Hills Industrial Estate


Ph: 01-601-0952



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

1-4 Lower Camden Street

Dublin 2

Ph: 01-475-8033/8036



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery, Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)

Unit 4, Block 1

Grand Canal Square (near the Bord Gais Energy Theatre)

Dublin 2

Ph: 01-671-8004



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery,Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)


Unit 2

Mayor Street

Dublin 2


Ph: 01-672-0977


FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery,Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)


Dublin 7




Gleesons of Booterstown (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

44 Booterstown Avenue (accross from the Booterstown Church)

Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Ph: 01-288-0236



Londis (Drinks, Sweets)

Foxrock Avenue

Foxrock, Dublin 18

Ph: 01-289-4777


McAteers, The Food House (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

15 Clanbrassil Street

Dundalk, Co. Louth

Ph: 042-932-6420



Super Valu (Rushe’s) (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

37 Castle Street

Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Ph: 01-285-9477


Sweeties (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

56 Henry Street


Co. Clare

Ph: 085-732-8759

Fun! And how to make your own pumpkin pie- can or no can

A fun read with a great recipe for pumpkin pie is US expat Imen McDonald’s account of her first Thanksgiving in Ireland. Well! I find some of those reactions to the pumpkin pie almost sacrilegious 😉

Mouthwatering Recipes from ex-pats in Ireland

Thanksgiving can be a bit of a puzzle in regards to vegetarian eating; what main dish can you serve that is special, filling, and delicious? I think this gorgeous dish from Canadian ex-pat Janine may even tempt the meat eaters away from the turkey. (Note: Canadian’s have their Thanksgiving the second Monday in October.) Butternut Squash, Sage, and Buffalo Mozzarella, let’s be having you! The recipe is here on Cooking With Craic; do check it out & her other recipes too!

MY TIP: you can now get Irish made buffalo mozzarella. As well as online and at cheesemongers’, I’ve also purchased it at Aldi, for €1.99. Yum! 

Irish Buffalo Mozzerella - I got this at Aldi for 1.99

Irish Buffalo Mozzarella – I got this at Aldi for 1.99

Janine says:

Here’s a vegetarian lasagna recipe made with béchamel, butternut squash, sage and buffalo mozzarella. It’s not entirely diet-friendly, but we’re thinking of it as one of our final, creamy indulgences before our diet begins on Monday. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

I’m sure we will!

If you’d like to add a classic Irish flair to your Thanksgiving spread, why not try some easy Irish soda bread? Dee has added a few nutty bits to this, and pumpkin seed (sensing a theme?) but you can omit them if you’d like. Dee says:

Irish Soda Bread Recipe -GreensideUp

Irish Soda Bread Recipe -GreensideUp

I don’t recall eating soda bread in the UK, but soon discovered how tasty it is with a chunk of cheese or a bowl of soup when we moved to Ireland; as a result of Colette’s recipe I also learnt that it’s incredibly easy to make. There’s no kneading or waiting for the bread to rise, just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a loaf tin, pop in the oven and it’s done. The traditional Irish bread soda recipe contains just four ingredients – flour, salt, buttermilk and bread soda but a few more bits and pieces have been added to this Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Dee grows masses of vegetables in her Irish garden as well as teaching others about vegetable gardening, and she’s great recipes for pumpkin rice and for pumpkin soup.

I also enjoyed this Instagram photo shared on Twitter by @Alanazdinak 😀 Now that’s a quick and easy Thanksgiving dinner!

No need to go home for Thanksgiving. All sorted now! #Merica #dublin2015

A photo posted by AlanaZ (@alanazdinak) on

For something more substantial, why not try Thanksgiving Dinner in Waterford’s wonderful La Boheme? They tell me that:

Our chefs have created a sumptuous feast of traditional Thanksgiving fare. Eric and Christine lived in the States when they met, and when they moved to Europe, they missed this traditional feast and therefore decided to offer the menu in La Boheme every Thanksgiving. Its a hugely popular day and menu in La Boheme, with many patrons traveling from far and wide to participate in the day, so reservations are appreciated. 

Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland at La Boheme

Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland at La Boheme

A tasty and easy way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland! La Boheme’s Thanksgiving dinner is €29.95 pp, and runs Thanksgiving evening only. You can check out their Turkey Day menu here.


Where else can you eat Thanksgiving dinner out in Ireland?

Well, I’ve gotten some tips via social media. — Over on the Vibrant Ireland Facebook page, Linda Fulton Burke says:  Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney has a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Their website is here:   Twitter supplied an idea for the Eastern side of the country, in Drogheda, county Louth:   

@Eseaboard is Eastern Seafood Bar & Grill, and they have served Thanksgiving dinner for the past 7 years. Give them a shout on their Facebook Page to find out the details for this Thanksgiving. You can get their Brown Hound Bakery pumpkin pie in Dublin, too:  

PIE LOVERS UNITE! #pumpkinpie Brown Hound Bakery Ireland for #Thanksgiving 26.11.15 also available for collection in DUBLIN from The Garden Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, D2 (1pm – 3pm) pre-orders only!

Posted by Brown Hound Bakery Ireland on Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thanksgiving at the Ulster American Folk Park

It could be very interesting for North American visitors to see what they think of the Thanksgiving reenactment at the Ulster American Folk park in Northern Ireland. I’d be quite curious to see this myself, especially as it is based around a family in western Pennsylvania; where the majority of my own family immigrated to from Ireland. You’ll also get to sample some of the Thanksgiving food, including pumpkin pie. I wonder will it be as good as my granny’s? 😀

At the Ulster American Folk Park you can join the Partridge family for Thanksgiving as they prepare the turkey and anxiously await the return of their only son Joseph, an infantryman in the Union Army.

Costumed guides re-enacting a 1800s Thanksgiving at the Ulster American Folk ParkThe American Thanksgiving is an occasion for Americans to remember those from the Old World who first settled on its shores, consider the uncertain future of the pilgrims who faced many a hardship and to pay tribute to the Native Americans who greeted the first European newcomers.

At the Ulster American Folk Park you will be able to immerse yourself in living history to experience this grand tradition first hand. You will have the opportunity to sample the flavour of a Western Pennsylvania rural Thanksgiving in November of 1863, which was the year of the first national day of Thanksgiving.

Costumed guides from the museum will re-enact a Thanksgiving Day from the 1800s. You will have the opportunity to sample some seasonal dishes such as Succotash, Pumpkin Pie and Butternut Squash.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 – in Ireland or elsewhere!

Don't look now, but Halloween ghosts are popping up all over! Ely in Dublin & more have events on this year. See article for more!

Don’t look now, but Halloween ghosts are popping up all over!

Ireland is the ancestral home of Halloween, so surely we should have some spooktacular events on!

Well, Halloween in Ireland hasn’t always been the massive event that it is in the US, but we *are* getting more into the spirit (ahem) of things each year. Ireland now has some ace Halloween festivals & fun, including one that was voted Europe’s BEST Independent Scare Attraction! Read on for 2015’s top Halloween events for adults and children in Ireland.

***UPDATED! Be sure to read all the added events- and there is one county in particular that you mustn’t miss! Read all the way to the end***

Halloween is on a Saturday night this year, so for sure many adults will be having the Halloween craic once the kiddies have conked out after their sugar high. If you are in Dublin, book in that babysitter if needs be, & head out to the ely bar & brasserie at the IFCI in the trendy, modern Docklands to enjoy food, brews, & grooves at Ely’s

Halloween House Party:

Ghoulish grog! Ely's Halloween night is grown-up fun! Read about what's on for Haloween for adults and kids.

Ghoulish grog! Ely’s Halloween night is grown-up fun!

Beats, Brews, Tastings & Trouble; Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble!

Come on down to ely bar & brasserie on Saturday 31st October for our spooktacular Halloween House Party.

We’ll have tastings of bewitching beverages including a craft beer table with pumpkin & seasonal beers, candy cocktails, w-eerie wine ‘n’ whiskey, ghoulish gin and more!
Nothing says Halloween like stuffing your face full of food. And fantastic food it is too. Think mini pumpkin pies, turkey legs, sweet potato fritters and of course, sweet treats – without the tricks.

You can also WIN BIG with a load of amazing prizes up for grabs! We’ll be awarding scariest costume, most original costume, best corporate crew costume and more.

Our Halloween House Party kicks off from 8pm with a devilish DJ from 10pm
ely bar & brasserie, IFSC, Dublin 1

Only €30pp


pumpkin-like halloween in ireland sunset

A ‘ Halloween pumpkin ‘ sunset!

Loftus Hall, known as Ireland’s most haunted house!

The devil himself once visited this house on Wexford’s wild Hook Head peninsula! Loftus Hall has several Halloween tours, handily broken down into 3 age groups: families with school age children (5-11) , families with over 12s, and tours for over 18s. The tours start 17 Oct and run until 1 November, Do you dare? I’ll be going myself, but on a day tour. *scaredy cat* 😉

“Halloween (Samhain) marks the change between “light” and the “darkness”. This change means there is a weakness in the connection between worlds, allowing ghostly spirits to pass into our world more easily.

Ancestors are welcomed, but harmful spirits are avoided and hidden from. Which will you meet on your Loftus Hall Samhain Tour? Let your guide, from the present, and the past, take you on a journey through the ground floor of Loftus Hall, sharing with you some of the most ghostly tales of Ireland’s Most Haunted House… And just in case you meet a harmful spirit, please note that dressing in costume is recommended to all to help keep you hidden from sinister spirits!”

 Find out more details on The Spectres & Halloween at Loftus Hall, here.

Virginia Pumpkin Festival

Sure to delight both the young and the young at heart, the Virginia Pumpkin Festival returns on the 23rd through the 27th of October, 2015 in county Cavan. Cavan is a county well worth exploring, with lesser known gems like it’s very own Cavan Burren! Set aside a few days & enjoy the Pumpkin Festival and check out Cavan! (And perhaps treat yourself to one of my favorite Irish spa hotels!)

Irish Halloween Favorite! Virginia Pumpkin Festival

Halloween Favorite! Virginia Pumpkin Festival

Virginia Pumpkin Festival

If scooping out a pumpkin and decorating it with a particularly menacing face is your favourite part of Halloween, then look no further than the Virginia Pumpkin Festival. Now in its 8th year, the festival takes place over Bank Holiday Weekend and is the pumpkin party of the year!

Gather all the family to this magical festival with its biggest and best programme ever this year.  Join in the frightful fun commencing with a  haunted forest walk on Friday,  The Kilkenny’s and a tribute to Luke Kelly to entertain you on the Saturday night in the Virginia Show Centre and a monster fancy dress ball on the Sunday night, this festival is an essential for everyone who loves Halloween.  There is a full programme of day time entertainment for all ages and tastes. Check out the picture for a daily rundown.

Plus, there are competitions to partake in: Pumpkin Pie competition and the Alternative Pumpkin Competition, are both taking place over the weekend.

OMG I LOVE PUMPKIN PIE! Can I be a judge?!!? YUM 😀

Details and more info at

Halloween in Ireland: Huntington Castle Ireland

Huntington Castle has a fab, fun Halloween tour

Castles are perfect for ghost hunting and Halloween in Ireland!

One of my favorite castles is Huntington Castle in the charming village of Clonegal in county Carlow. I’ve been a few times throughout the year, and totally recommend a visit any time.  Huntington is still owned by the family of the original builders, and they are absolutely passionate about it. Halloween is perfect for a visit- I loved their candlelit tour! It runs from 27 Oct to the 31st in 2015.



Halloween at Birr Castle Ireland

Halloween at Birr Castle Ireland

Another Irish Castle celebrating Halloween is Birr Castle in county Offaly. Along with their Haunted Woods and Castle tours for ages over 5, they are also offering a grown up evening that is very tempting!

The Twlight Hour – An evening of Gothic Music and Literature and Trickery with Nóirín Ní Riain & guests

Join us at Birr Castle for this very special evening with Noirin Ni Riain and guests. ‘Oiche Shamhna’ is a magical time with strong roots in ancient celtic Ireland. This evening will celebrate music and literature linked to All Hollows Eve exploring much loved traditions, songs, folklore, ghost stories, poetry and lots of haunted fun in the gothic castle.

Sunday 25th October at 20.00
Booking essential as places are limited. Pre-paid event with Tickets €25.00.
Adults only.

Click to see more on the Birr Castle Halloween events.

A third Halloween castle tour is to be found at Shankill Castle in Paulstown, co Kilkenny. I’ve not experienced this Halloween event myself, but it must be scary as they’ve a strong disclaimer!

The Scarefest Ghost Tour: A night-time, candle-lit tour led by the castle residents through the most haunted areas of the 300 year old castle and the 11th century church yard.  A member of the Cope family leads the tours and relays the tales of past residents, along with an account of the recently recorded paranormal experiences.

On Halloween night, there will be extra special tours, including one over Midnight, for those willing and daring enough.

Be prepared to run for your life. The ghost tour is not for the faint hearted, or for those under the age of 15. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Group bookings available on request.  Book Early bird tickets now, just €21.95 for a limited time.

WARNING: This tour is genuinely frightening and is not suitable for young children, the infirm, or those with health related concerns. The owners of Shankill Castle do not accept responsibility for the cause or aggravation of a health related issue as a result of their visit. Take this tour at your own risk. Unfortunately this venue is not wheelchair friendly. Should you wish to organise a wheelchair accessible tour please contact us.Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

More info:  

Too Scary? How about a gentle Halloween Spooktacular?


Friday 23rd October – Sunday 1st November

Limerick Spooktacular viaHalloween events Ireland

Limerick Spooktacular via

Limerick’s very own Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ Family Festival at Arthur’s Quay on the banks of the River Shannon, join in for a hauntingly good time with attractions including an authentic international food market, Vintage carnival experience, live performances, games, competitions and more!

Vintage Carnival

Dare to hang 100 feet in the sky, whisk through the air and slide in circles?!? Limerick is proud to present an authentic Vintage Carnival as part of the Halloween Spooktacular. From “Galloping Horses” Carrousels, to Ferris wheels, and Helter Skelters, there is something to excite the imagination of children and adults alike.

Don’t miss the Halloween characters from Victorian Limerick, The Spooky Show –  will be coming along to bring some spooky surprises to the performance area at The Halloween Spooktacular. Make sure to join in for some spooky fun!

Why not enter one a Halloween competition… if you dare!

*Best Costume Competition *Spooky skeleton scavenger hunt* Apple peeling * Colouring competitions. Give it a go!

Find out more at:

More Children’s Fun at Halloween!

The Wexford Arts Centre has fun workshops on for the kids:

Children’s Halloween Workshops 
Booking fee: €15 per workshop
Ages: 4-6 years and 7-11 years

All Things Ghoulish….!
Friday 30th October / 11.00am-1.00pm / ages 4-6 years

To celebrate Halloween, younger artists will get to make scary handprint Vampire cards, peg zombies and crazy pumpkin and monster sun catchers. We will supply all the magical supplies, and the children will learn to make these spooky Halloween decorations which are sure to scare the bravest of trick or treaters!
Friday 30th October / 2.00pm-4.00pm / ages 7-11 years
Older artists will transform into powerful Witches and Wizards as they make their very own magic wands and decorate magical capes. Using a huge assortment of spooky, glittering materials older children will be casting spells and ready to collect bags of sweets on Halloween night!



Bram Stoker Dracula Festival DublinI have to mention this is fangtastic festival ;-D even though you may already be well aware of it.

From 23rd – 26th October 2015, Dublin City will celebrate 4 Days of Living Stories & 4 Nights of Deadly Adventures!

Whether you’re a resident vampire or visiting from further afield, Bram Stoker Festival 2015 has something for everyone in its gothically inspired programme of events.”

See the full Bram Stoker Festival Halloween line-up here.

Dragon of Shandon 2015; Halloween in Ireland

Dragon of Shandon 2015; Halloween in Ireland



Head to Ireland’s other capital, Cork and check out the Dragon of Shandon Festival running october 29-31st:

CCAL presents a Festival for all; Beasts, Visionaries, Ghouls, and Misfits come feast your eyes with wild spectacles as we ignite your imagination. For He is on his way. Emerging from the Underground. Hear his roar. The Dragon of Shandon calls you.

The renowned Dragon of Shandon returns for its 10th Year with a 3 day celebration of Samhain from the 29th to the 31st of Oct. Taking place in Cork’s Cultural Quarter, Shandon. For further information and Parade Route see

The Dragon of Shandon began in 2006 as a street parade celebration of Samhain and creative partnership between artists and communities which has taken place on the night of October 31st in the heart of Shandon, Cork , Ireland for over 8 years.

Each year thousands take to the streets of Shandon on Cork ’s Northside to walk with the Dragon as it travels between worlds in a celebration of the living and the dead accompanied by an assortment of creatures from the underworld. 

The evening parade is the result of an extensive outreach and participatory programme that spans several months of workshops with youth groups, the community and voluntary sector, schools and voluntary participants.

A commitment to high standards of practice both in artistic and participatory engagement are at the core of each annual parade with groups collaborating on an annual basis with artists to create original work that is reflective of their experiences.

The centrepiece of each parade is the Dragon, 36ft in length and made entirely of tape. This spectacular giant puppet is animated by twelve puppeteers on the night who walk it through the streets of Shandon along with an array of illuminated props, lanterns and characters.

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”The%20dragon%20Of%20Shandon”]

Treats for Adults! Halloween Food Tour

For tasty delights way beyond the tooth rotting trick or treat sweets from Lidl or Aldi, treat yourself to to a fantastic Halloween food tour in one of my favorite cities – Belfast! Caroline is a brilliant guide; I’ve done a tour with her & I know you’ll have fun as well as yum! Book quickly, it will fill up fast.

Halloween Food Tour – Friday 30th October 2015 10.30am

Location: Belfast City Centre at 10.30am

The foodie’s food tour of Belfast! What is the food of Belfast/ Northern Ireland and where are the best places to find it? Tastes. Experiences. Fun.

We visit up to 8 different foodie destinations around the city and get to eat/drink over 23 local foods and drinks! You don’t need breakfast or lunch and we suggest you don’t drive afterwards ;0)

Northern Ireland has lots of Halloween events, too many for me to list! One of the biggest is:

Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry~Londonderry FREE event! 29 October – 1 November. Europe’s biggest and best Halloween festival returns with an even busier programme of events than ever before! It’s set to be a week awash with devilish activities for the whole family with terror-ific characters, mythical mayhem and a whole host of ghostly going culminating the carnival parade through the streets and the fireworks display.

Check out more Halloween events in Northern Ireland on Discover Northern Ireland’s Halloween listings. 


Dear readers, the county that is totally winning at Halloween has got to be county Meath! 

Haunted Spooktacular at Grove Gardens, Fordstown, County Meath prepare for the 2015 'Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival'.Now is in its 7th year it offers over 37 spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to 1st November. Some of the 25 Ôgruesome events for kidsÕ include ÔThe Gates of HellÕ at the Haunted Hotel, an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning is to be prepared for the totally unexpected. Tayto Park invites you into their ÔHouse or HorrorsÕ while ÔPooka SpookaÕ at Causey Farm promises a spine-tingling experience. A less scary ÔMonster High Family BuffetÕ is offered at the Pilo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ÔStorytelling and Song with the friendly witchÓ.For those adults wishing to be scared there are lots to choose from at the ÔSpirits of Meath Halloween FestivalÕ. Immerse yourself in the horror of FARMAPHOBIA, recently pronounced EuropeÕs Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the 'Oscars of the European Scare Industry'. New at Farmaphobia for 2015 is ÒSCARECUSÓ housing a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers, who invite you to join them for an eternal performance! A ÔMurder Mystery DinnerÕ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath. Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the ÒHaunted SpooktacularÓ HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, ChamberÕs Of Terror, Hillbilly HorrorÕs and Redneck Village. . Photo:Barry Cronin/

Haunted Spooktacular at Grove Gardens County Meath. Halloween events in Ireland: 2015 ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival. Photo:Barry Cronin/

Why? Well, 2 reasons: 1: Halloween began in County Meath over 2,000 years ago.  2: Meath has 36 different events on for Halloween!

Yep, that’s thirty and six spooky events– Meath is truly embracing being the  birthplace of Halloween / Samhain! Did you know:

The site of Tlachtga (aka Tlachta) on the Hill of Ward, in County Meath, Ireland is believed to have been the first site of the celebration of Samhain, the precursor to our modern Halloween.

The ringfort dates from around 200 AD but festivals and rituals at the site may have taken place as far back as 1000 BC.

Priests, augurs and druids used to assemble there to light the winter fires of the Great Fire Festival on Samhain eve.

Under penalty of law, all fires that were lit within the kingdom that night were to be kindled from the fire at Tlachtga.

Samhain was a festival celebrating the dead and it also marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.

It was during this time that the Irish believed that the graves would open and their gods and spirits, who dwelt inside, would walk the earth again.

Now, on to Meath’s modern day Halloween events:

Halloween in Ireland- Spirits of Meath has lots of events throughout the county!

Halloween in Ireland- Spirits of Meath has lots of events throughout the county!


The Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival: A 16 day celebration of Halloween in the place where it began

Halloween began over 2,000 years ago in County Meath and each year the ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ re-creates that first Halloween with a Torchlit Procession and Samhain Festival of Fire, a re-enactment of the first Halloween fire from over 2,000 years ago. This takes place on the Hill of Tlachta, Athboy, Co. Meath and is just one of 37 other events that make up the scarily good ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’  Now in its 7th year, this festival offers spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to November 1st.

The scary events that are part of the ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ are categorised into Children’s ‘Fun by Day’ and Adult’s ‘Frights by Night’ events. Adults are invited to immerse themselves in the horror of ‘FARMAPHOBIA’, recently pronounced Europe’s Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the ‘Oscars of the European Scare Industry’. This frighteningly good attraction includes “SCARECUS” that houses a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers.  A ‘Murder Mystery Dinner’ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath.  Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the “Haunted Spooktacular” HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, Chamber’s Of Terror, Hillbilly Horror’s and Redneck Village.

SCARY CLOWN! Causey Farm, County Meath p, Irelandrepares for the 2015 'Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival'.Now is in its 7th year it offers over 37 spooky and fun events for all the family from October 16th to 1st November. Some of the 25 Ôgruesome events for kidsÕ include ÔThe Gates of HellÕ at the Haunted Hotel, an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning is to be prepared for the totally unexpected. Tayto Park invites you into their ÔHouse or HorrorsÕ while ÔPooka SpookaÕ at Causey Farm promises a spine-tingling experience. A less scary ÔMonster High Family BuffetÕ is offered at the Pilo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ÔStorytelling and Song with the friendly witchÓ.For those adults wishing to be scared there are lots to choose from at the ÔSpirits of Meath Halloween FestivalÕ. Immerse yourself in the horror of FARMAPHOBIA, recently pronounced EuropeÕs Best Independent Scare Attraction; these awards are the 'Oscars of the European Scare Industry'. New at Farmaphobia for 2015 is ÒSCARECUSÓ housing a terrifying troupe of crazed circus performers, who invite you to join them for an eternal performance! A ÔMurder Mystery DinnerÕ is on the menu at The Stationhouse Hotel, Kilmessan, Co. Meath. Or you could step inside your own personal horror movie at the ÒHaunted SpooktacularÓ HORROR FARM that includes the Asylum, School House Massacre, ChamberÕs Of Terror, Hillbilly HorrorÕs and Redneck Village .Photo:Barry Cronin/ 087-9598549

SCARY CLOWN! Causey Farm, County Meath, Ireland prepares for the 2015 ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ Photo:Barry Cronin/

Some of the gruesome events for kids include: a terrifying and spine tingling experience; ‘Pooka Spooka’ at Causey Farm that promises magical happenings including the Fairytale Corn Maze and broomstick rides; A less scary ‘Monster High Family Buffet’ is offered at the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, and the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells invites you to ‘Storytelling and Songs with the friendly witch”.  You can also pick your own Pumpkin at Meath Pumpkin Farm, Summerhill and Alright Pumpkin Farm, Girley, Fordstown while Tayto Park once again open their ‘House or Horrors’, ‘Haunted Hotel’ at Lough Crew have a special event for families in an outdoor Halloween scare attraction with live characters, special effects and a warning to be prepared for the totally unexpected.

The ‘Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival’ full event programme offers 36 different events, and a downloadable Festival Brochure can be found on:   

I think a trip to Meath is in order!

***UPDATE! 😀 I’ll be there for Halloween Weekend! Follow along on Twitter @VibrantIreland and live videos on Periscope @vibrantireland***

Fancy going to one of the MANY non-Halloween-y festivals on in Ireland this October? Click!

Do you have any Halloween in Ireland events that shoudn’t be missed? Let me know– THANKS! 


Bloom 2015; Dublin, Ireland

Bloom 2015; Dublin, Ireland


Bord Bia’s 9th annual gardening, food, & family festival, Bloom 2015, is on in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from 28 May to 1 June

Flowers, fab food & Irish craft are some of my favourite things, and I’ve got a feeling many of you enjoy some of these, too! So gather up yourself, family (kids under 16 free,) & friends and go feast your eyes and tum on the delights of Bloom 2015!


Peter Pan, stiletto heels, WB Yeats, home brewing and botanical beauty provide just some of the inspiration for this year’s Bloom show gardens

Bloom 2015 is a five day annual event packed full of gardening inspiration, gastronomic delights and good old fashioned family fun!

Not just for those with green fingers, the festival has firmly established itself as one of the most anticipated social events of the year for all who enjoy a fantastic day out in the beautiful surroundings of the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Attracting a nationwide audience – over 106,000 people attended last year – this year Ireland’s largest garden, food and family festival will run from Thursday, 28th May until Monday, 1st June 2015.

Gary Graham, Bord Bia spokesperson, said; Bord Bia is delighted to launch the 9th annual Bloom festival, once again taking place in the magnificent Phoenix Park in Dublin this June bank holiday weekend. Our flagship horticulture and food event provides the ultimate platform to showcase our incredibly talented garden designers, food producers, chefs and crafts and design people. Visitors to the event are once again in for a real treat, and can expect to see 25 breath-taking show gardens, sample some of Ireland’s finest food, enjoy wonderful entertainment and witness the passion of some of Ireland’s most skilful craft workers.” 

Bloom 2015 fun for all ages!

Bloom 2015 fun for all ages!

Often referred to as the jewel in the crown of the festival, there will be 25 captivating Bloom show gardensThe designers have continued the tradition of repeatedly raising the bar on previous years, to develop beautiful, imaginative and thought provoking designs. Organisations such as Pieta HouseThe Ronald McDonald HouseGOALThe Atlantic Youth TrustITB Blanchardstown & Fingal County Council have also teamed up with designers to create gardens with powerful messages around social and cultural issues.

This year’s bespoke garden creations will include; Yeats Secret Garden in Sligo, which is part of the 2015 celebration of WB Yeats, and is based on his well-known poem, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, Beauty Full, a wonderful garden creation from Bloom veteran Fiann Ó Nualláin which aims to highlight the amazing botanical and plant based beauty treatments which can be found in the garden, Water In The Air, a ‘dry aquarium’ which will give visitors a unique underwater feeling whilst coming alive with colour at night, Saison, a garden partnership between designer Breffni McGeogh and master brewer Alex Lawless inspired by the current trend towards craft beer, Footfall, a concept garden which will see over 144 pairs of stiletto heels used to dramatic effect and The GOAL Garden – What you call a slum, I call a home!, a  garden created to present a ‘slum’ from a different perspective that highlights the work and initiatives of aid agency GOAL.

The Pieta House Garden – Darkness into Light, created by designer Niall Maxwell, will shine a light on attitudes towards mental health issues. Husband and wife Liat and Oliver Schurmann will create The PAN Garden, inspired by the upcoming Peter Pan movie by Warner Bros.

To inspire those who wish to create their own garden at home, the gardens will vary in size from large, medium and small gardens, each developed with a unique theme and style. For the third year, Bloom will also feature a number of Postcard Gardens designed and constructed by passionate amateur gardeners from all around the country. This year the gardens will once again be judged by experts renowned in the world of horticulture. They include Andrew Wilson (award-winning garden designer, lecturer and writer), Mark Gregory (winner of 55 Chelsea medals), Karen Foley (landscape architect and educator) and Paul Maher (curator of the National Botanic Gardens). They will be joined by guest judges, award-winning landscape architect and garden designer Feargus McGarvey, Francis MacDonald, a regular columnist with Irish Gardening Magazine and shadow judge Sally Brown, a landscape architect and garden designer based in New Zealand.

Bloom 2015 will inspire you to garden!

Bloom 2015 will inspire you to garden!

A new feature at this year’s festival will be Bloom in Transition (BIT), showcasing the creative expression of transition year students via installation/projects in the fields of agriculture, food science, horticulture, environmental and ecological management, human health or societal issues. Facilitated by ongoing mentorship of Fiann Ó Nualláin and a number of experts associated with the project, the aim of the scheme is to promote the areas of horticulture, agriculture and health with 15-17 year olds and to create a space within Bloom 2015 for them to explore concepts in garden design, gardening as pastime, economic botany, food, nutrition, health, biodiversity, climate change, food security from a teenage perspective.

The Banter at Bloom 2015 marquee is another new and exciting feature for this year’s festival.  At Banter, they talk… a lot! Chaired by Jim Carroll, the Banter marquee will host a series of discussions, talks, and conversations on topical issues around food, sustainability, agriculture, and everything in between.

This year’s Floral & Nursery Pavilion will showcase the very best of plant nurseries in Ireland. The marquee will will house over 50 exhibits from some of the country’s top floral artists. The AOIFA Floral Art Stage also returns to 2015’s Bloom, offering advice and demonstrations on the techniques and artistry required to achieve a perfect floral display at home. For those with green fingers, the Garden Expert Stage will provide a comprehensive range of expert advice from leading experts in horticulture, gardening and floristry. Speakers will include Gerry Daly of Irish Garden Magazine and Michael Kelly of GIY. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment at the Picnic Area and visit an Irish Craft Village hosted by the Craft and Design Council of Ireland. Following its recent launch, GroMór experts and Ambassadors will host gardening expert talks daily from the Plant Village podium. GroMór experts will also be on hand throughout each day to answer your questions and help you get the most out of your garden space.

Bord Bia's Bloom 2015

Bord Bia’s Bloom 2015

The kids will love‘Budding Bloomers,’ the children’s area, which will host a vibrant mixture of family friendly features to keep children entertained and active, from toddlers to fifth classers. We want children to play, learn and grow at Bloom. There is no entry charge for children under 16 years of age.

Home to even more gastronomic delights and palette pleasers, the Food Village at Bloom will offer a wide range of artisan produce on sale and onsite dining options. Guests can also dine at Bistro Bloom restaurant, café and seafood bar, or visit the all new Country Crest Food Fayre, a 370-seater restaurant. Visitors can also try a wide range of tasty handcrafted Irish beers and spirits in the Bloom Inn.

For those in need of foodie inspiration, the Quality Kitchen stage is a must, with a number of cookery demonstrations taking place throughout each day with Ireland’s top chefs, including Neven MaguireCatherine FulvioRory O’ConnellThe Lazy Chef Simon Lamont, David and Stephen Flynn (The Happy Pearand Fiona Uyema, to name but a few.  They will be demonstrating their culinary genius and showcasing exciting new recipes made from Bord Bia Quality Assured products and the best of local ingredients. Well-known TV personality Ella McSweeney will act as MC and will also introduce Bloom visitors to some of Ireland’s top food producers live on stage. There will also be daily competitions in the Quality Kitchen, with visitors encouraged to drop by from 10.30am each day for the first demonstration to be in with a chance to win daily prizes.


For more Bloom 2015 information and tickets, visit –kids go free!

Follow Bloom 2015 on or join the conversation on Twitter @Bloominthepark @bordbia and #bloom


Here is the list of all the show gardens at Bloom 2015. Are you looking forward to seeing them? I sure am!

Large Gardens:

·Yeats’s Secret Garden in Sligo, sponsored by Glen Dimplex and designed by Lorely Forrester
·Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin garden, brought to you by Kildare Growers and designed by Anthony Ryan with Kieran Dunne
·Our Origin is Green, sponsored by Savills and designed by Jane McCorkell
·Santa Rita – the moment is yours, sponsored by Santa Rita Wines and designed by Ingrid Swan
·Sculpture at the Boatyard, designed by Ingrid Swan and Ruth Liddle

Medium Gardens:

·Saison, sponsored by White Label Brewing Company and designed by Breffni McGeough
·Sunwood’s Contemporary Expression, designed by Declan McKenna
·The GOAL Garden– What you call a slum, I call a home!, sponsored by GOAL and designed by Joan Mallon
·PAN garden, sponsored by PAN and designed by Liat and Oliver Schurmann
·Specsavers Wonderful Awakening, sponsored by Specsavers and designed by Karen M. Butler
·The Solus Garden of Light, sponsored by Solus and designed by Alan Rudden
·Darkness into Light – The Pieta House Garden, sponsored by Pieta House and designed by Niall Maxwell
·Freddy Buttons Garden, sponsored by Glenisk and designed by Fiona Dillon and Outside Options
·Irish Country Magazine Garden, designed by Fiann Ó Nualláin and Lisa Kelly
·          Ronald McDonald House Garden, presented by Dawn Meats and designed by Anthony Ryan
·Atlantic Youth Trust, designed by Annmarie Bowring 
·Footfall, supported by John West and designed by Hugh Ryan


Small Gardens:

·Beauty Full, designed by Fiann Ó Nualláin
·Beech Park Garden, sponsored by Fingal County Council and ITB Blanchardstown
·Connect, sponsored by Schram Plants and Lily O’Briens and designed by Karen Butler
·Urban Oasis, designed by Nathalie Markiefka of Blackrock Further Education Institute
·Cetriz Summer, sponsored by Cetriz and designed by Christopher Byrne
·Calor’s Coast Garden, sponsored by Calor and designed Dawn Aston
·Water in the Air designed by Tünde Szentesi

See you at Bloom!

New Year's Eve Dublin 2014

New Year’s Eve Dublin 2014 is sure to put a smile on even the most crabby face!

Confession: I’m a New Year’s Eve Scrooge.

So is Terry, & from chatting on social media, I know plenty of you all are, too.

BUT this year Dublin’s New Year’s Festival is like a big zingy Tiny Tim– tempting us out of our Scroogy ways to experience to the fun on offer.

Dublin's new year's festival ; Love Dublin

Dublin consistently ranks as one of the friendliest cities in the world; why not experience that during this exciting celebration of New Year’s in Ireland– join in the party!

Starting on 30 December 2014, Dublin’s New Year’s Festival (NYF Dublin,) will be 3 days of music, arts, artisan food, lightshows, family fun, comedy, parades, fireworks, and all around fab craic.

NYF Dublin is going to be an exciting way to say Slan to the old year and Failte to the new. Whether you’d like to do the full 3-day New Year’s Festival as a city break in Dublin (see the fun & handy interactive chart to compare Dublin’s prices & New Year’s Eve celebrations with other cities), or just pick one day to attend, I reckon you’ll have a blast. I’ve got more information on what’s on in Dublin for the New Year’s festival, so after you’ve played with the interactive chart, read on past it, too, to tempt your NYE Scrooge even further 🙂

I’m told that by day, Dublin will be alive with everything from arts trails, discovery trails, poetry slams, pop up music sessions and comedy in cafés & restaurants. Plus there will be artisan food markets and a range of events for families and children. Then when night beckons, you can dance at a silent disco, dine in the dark, or join in the stunning New Year’s Eve Procession of Light; a huge torchlight procession along the historic city centre streets, culminating at the festival’s hub, Dublin Castle.


NYE Count down light show Dublins New Years Festival 2014

NYE Count down light show Dublin’s New Year’s Festival

The Procession of Light sounds beautiful: the the city will twinkle and glow with hundreds of participants and performers illuminating the streets with floats, dazzling light displays, music and dance in a free family event. I’m a fan of things light-filled & colourful; if you enjoy them too, you’ll want to also see the 3D projections which will bring the facades of some of Dublin’s best known buildings to life each festival night. The Luminosity event will see iconic structures like Leinster House (seat of the Irish Parliament,) change their shape & appearance in 3D colour projections complete with sound effects. Even Scrooge can’t say “Bah, humbug” to this New Year’s Festival!

Friends, I’m super-excited just writing all this-– and I didn’t think I would be so tempted by New Year’s Eve! There is SO much to this festival for all ages and interests to enjoy. Let me just give you some more of the highlights of Dublin’s New Year’s Festival:

The NYF Countdown Concert on 31 December 2014 will be epic, with pyrotechnics and 5 acts. Did you get a ticket? It is sold out already! But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to enjoy, and other music gigs as well–>

Experience the real Dublin by picking and choosing from the list of the city’s top 20 cultural venues offering special NYF discounts and guided tours. Over two of the days of the festival you can explore the city with the NYF Dublin Discovery Trail.

Artisan food will be an appetising part of the festival on all 3 days, and the historic Dublin Castle will host a bustling and delicious NYF Food Village. On 31 December – 1 January from midday until the early evening celebrity chefs, food demos and an array of aromatic and tasty Irish fare will more than satisfy hungry New Year revellers.

A feast of fringe events is also part of the NYF Dublin mix, and the Love Dublin cultural programme on 30 and 31 December will feature an art trail, a discovery trail and Dublin Genius, which will be great Dublin craic; it celebrates the spoken word the city’s talent for literature, comedy, and non-stop talking.

The NYF Dublin Music Comedy Trail will feature pop up music sessions and comedy in cafes and restaurants on 30 and 31 December, with acoustic sessions at the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle, the Dublin Gospel Choir at Christ Church Cathedral and night-time live music and DJ sessions across the city’s pubs and bars.

As 1 January is Resolution Day, this means the opportunity to start that ‘new you’ programme you have promised yourself. There will be a fun run, family fun dog walks and even a Mind, Body and Fitness Festival to encourage all the New Year resolutions to take hold on day one of the New Year.

But yes, the food, music and entertainment will continue at the NYF Food Village… in case you might want to wait until day two to be ‘good’ 😀

Find out more at and info for the whole of Ireland at

Did you find the interactive infographic interesting? I shared it because I thought it gave a handy snapshot way to compare the most popular city-break spots here in Ireland & across the water in Britain. I was surprised at some of the facts found: of all the capital cities across the Isles, Edinburgh steals the show when it comes to pubs per square mile- not Dublin as many may suppose! The Scottish capital boasts 104 pubs per square mile, as compared to Dublin’s 55.

swans victorian pub dublin ireland

Dublin doesn’t have the most pubs! But they could be the best 😉

As for the price of a pint, I wasn’t surprised about this finding (prices in Sterling): Even London, though renowned for high prices, turns out cheaper than many of its counterparts (most notably Dublin), coming in at £3.68 a pint as compared to the Irish capital’s £4.41.

But sure, you still may want to choose Dublin over London (especially if you’re like us & not into drinking loads) because: The expense of the UK capital was plain to see in the £7.30 average charged by taxi companies per mile. And whilst public transport may be free between 11.45pm and 4.30am, the £10 entry fee for fireworks (the only city to charge) and highest average club entry of £32 reaffirmed London’s reputation as a pricey micro-economy. Charging for the Fireworks! Awww, c’mon, London! I love you, but…

Actually, the fact that London wasn’t tops in average hotel room prices helps redeem it. Here Hotel Direct contributed their own hotel room prices: where Birmingham stands proud as the cheapest place for a hotel room (averaging at £82 for a room over New Year’s Eve 2014), in comparison to Edinburgh’s £283 per night price tag. SO especially if you’d fancy New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, you may like to know I spotted elsewhere that if you’d like to book a hotel via Hotel Direct, ring them on 0800 633 8000 (Just FYI that’s probably only a free phone in the UK) &  quote NYEPARTY14 you’ll get  a 10% discount on all telephone bookings made from 1st Dec to 15th Jan.

You might have noticed in the infographic that Belfast has no New Year’s Eve fireworks, but I’m here to let you know that they do have a New Year’s Eve Titanic Ball, & New Year’s Day Titanic Afternoon tea!

Happy New Year! 2014 welcomes 2015; may it be full of fun for you!

Dublin St Patricks Day Parade via

Dublin St Patricks Day Parade via

What can I do in Ireland in MARCH?

March can be a great time to visit Ireland, with less tourists, better prices, and some fab festivals as well as St Patrick’s Day parades galore!

March 17th is St Patrick’s Day, and there are parades and celebrations all over the island. The biggest is Dublin’s St Patrick’s festival, which runs over several days; March 14-17 in 2015. The daily schedule for 2015 is not up yet, (as of 9 Dec 2014) but all of the days are usually full of fun events for all ages.

If you’re in Dublin & have a hankering for some traditional Irish music, one of the very best places to go is The Cobblestone Pub, an authentic, non- touristy pub in the Smithfield area. You can hear trad music played here 7 nights a week.

March in the Irish Countryside

If trad music and craic out in a beautiful seaside & mountainside country town is more your thing, you won’t go wrong in Dingle! As an added bonus the Dingle International Film Festival is on on the 12th to the 15th of March 2015.

Dingle is a charming town, home to great food and the Dingle Distillery, where they carefully craft whiskey, gin, and vodka. I adore the gin, it really does have a unique flavour from the special local ingredients they use:

“We use, amongst other botanicals, rowan berry from the mountain ash trees, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather for a taste of the Kerry landscape. It’s a formula unknown elsewhere and is calculated, amongst other things, to create some sense of place and provenance, what winemakers might call the gout de terroir..  [we use] the purest of water which we draw from our own well, 240 feet below the distillery.”

You must give the Dingle spirits a try! Also in Dingle you’ll find the Louis Mulcahy Pottery, ancient beehive huts, and plenty more to explore. Here’s a clip about the Dingle Film festival. (Video in Irish with subtitles.)

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Dingle%20International%20film%20festival”]

Also in county Kerry, the Kenmare Lace Festival is on from 19-22 March 2015. A wonderful way of keeping this beautiful Irish traditional craft alive, the festival will have:

Lace making workshops in nine different disciplines running over two days. For the fashion conscious there will be millinery and up-styling workshops, a fashion show, and meet the designers at the Art & Design Cloister. Exhibitions will showcase the very best in lacemaking and Irish design. There will be a full day of children’s craft and fashion workshops including Kenmare Lace making to introduce traditional techniques and design to the younger generation.

Another unique event on in Ireland in March is the Ennis Book Club Festival in county Clare, also located on the west coast. This festival will run from the 6th to the 8th of March in 2015. There is always loads on for book lovers to enjoy, and the 2015 programme will be up soon. Ennis is known as Ireland’s Friendliest Town, and I agree; I’ve visited Ennis and totally experienced that friendliness. You can read about my visit to Ennis and what I thought of where I stayed; Rowan Tree.

Belfast and the Titanic museum are great to visit in March- or anytime!

Belfast and the Titanic museum are great to visit in March- or anytime!

Celebrate St Patrick and Northern Ireland

If you’d like to get more into the Saint Patrick side of things, what about heading up North and exploring St Patrick’s old stomping grounds? There’s a St Patrick’s Trail, 92 miles long and linking 15 sites connected to St Patrick. Not every site will be open in March, but many are, such as the St Patrick Centre, Down Museum & more.

Of course, when up North you can’t miss the Giant’s Causeway! If you’re a fan of the Game Of Thrones, the Northern Ireland Game of Thrones trail is a must do, too. Plus, Belfast is a brilliant place to spend a few days, full of craic, culture, fab food & fun. We’ve been twice and love it! The Titanic Museum is amazing even if you are like Terry & I and not normally a Titanic fan. Two thumbs up from us 😀

Also in Northern Ireland, Sunday 15 March 2015 sees Shamrock Shenanigans on at the National Trust property Springhill in Magherafelt, co Derry. There’s free entry for anyone who can prove their name is Patrick! You can discover the Shamrock Trail (extra charge) around the grounds and enjoy crafts, food and music from noon to 5pm.

Where will YOU go & what will you do in March in Ireland? Have you more suggestions? Let us know! Comment, tweet Vibrant Ireland, or post on the Vibrant Ireland & Travel Facebook page.

Pull Bite Rally NCAD

Pull Bite Rally NCAD

Are you an artist?

Are you fascinated by art?

If so, and you’d  enjoy delving deeper into the processes by which artists create their works, there is a 4 week series of events and exhibitions called Pull Bite Rally starting on 19 November 2014  at  Dublin’s NCAD gallery and campus which you’ll want to have a read about! Here is the information– there’s lots going on:

Pull Bite Rally is the first exhibition to mark the Black Church Print Studio’s dynamic initiative Process. For the Pull Bite Rally exhibition artists Brian Fay, Damien Flood, Jesse Jones, Isabel Nolan and Sarah Pierce present their artworks and continued collaboration at NCAD Gallery.

Process invites leading art practitioners to work with the resources and expertise of the Studio in the production of original artworks. This collaboration between artist and the Studio aims to give a comprehensive understanding of the processes and concepts of printmaking, leading to new directions in the artists’ practices.

To mention only a few of the event highlights, (see full listing below) Declan Long is in conversation with artist and 2014 Turner Prize nominee, Ciara Phillips, on Monday 24th November, 6pm.

In a special one-off episode of TV Museum: The Mini-Series, Maeve Connolly investigates temporal, social and political aspects of serial publication and distribution. Connolly’s titled ‘Serial Publications and Practices’ lecture reconsiders some of the strategies employed by General Idea and also explores the work of various contemporary artists and institutions engaged in the production of newspapers, journals and serialised moving images, posing questions about the changing form and function of seriality in art, media and culture – Wednesday 3rd December, 5pm.

Repeat. Don’t stop’ is the NCAD MA Art in the Contemporary World organised public seminar that delves into ways to critically engage with current forms of artistic repetition and reproduction, considering how ideas and processes explored in the Pull Bite Rally exhibition relate to the broader contexts of twenty-first century art, Friday 28th November, 2pm.

Integral and in addition to the exhibition, responses from practitioners, leading figures in the visual arts and the wider public are invited to participate in rigorous inquiry and discussion that Pull Bite Rally invokes. NCAD Gallery’s collegial context affords the opportunity to form close exhibition partner relationships with staff and students from the NCAD College departments and further afield to form a parallel event series. Engaging key topics fundamental to the artists’ project experience, with reference to: the potentiality of collaboration and creative professional links for artists; printed matter and publishing; authorship and reproduction; medium specificity; professional practice pathways, skills and exchange; pedagogical foundations and shifts in contemporary art practice.

* On the occasion of the exhibition writer Niamh Dunphy is commissioned to write the essay ‘Trace and Use’ published in the Pull Bite Rally pamphlet available throughout the exhibition at NCAD Gallery.

Pull Bite Rally schedule of Exhibition Events

Wednesday 19 November 2014, 7pm.  NCAD Gallery.
● Exhibiting artist, Sarah Pierce performance on the opening night of Pull Bite Rally

Friday 21 November 2014, 5.30pm.  Harry Clarke House Lecture Theatre, NCAD.
● A screening of ‘Before the page has turned’ by Jaki Irvine.

Monday 24 November 2014, 6pm.  Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
● Ciara Phillips, artist and 2014 Turner Prize nominee in conversation with Declan Long. NCAD Research Institute funded keynote lecture.

Friday 28 November 2014, 2pm – 4pm.  Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
● Repeat. Don’t stop. In this MA Art in the Contemporary World public seminar, ways to critically engage with current forms of artistic repetition and reproduction, considering how ideas and processes explored in the Pull Bite Rally exhibition relate to the broader contexts of twenty-first century art are  considered.

Friday 28 November 2014, 5.30pm.   NCAD Gallery.
 Process Artists Talk, exhibiting artists event with the initial three Process project artists Brian Fay / Damien Flood / Jesse Jones with master printmakers Debora Ando / Mary A. Fitzgerald / print coordinator Dave McGinn, chaired by artist Colin Martin.

Monday 1st December 2014, 2pm. NCAD Gallery.
 Sarah Pierce in conversation with Donal Maguire, curator and Administrator of the ESB Centre for the Study of Irish Art at the National Gallery of Ireland will talk about the collaboration between the artist and the archive in the context of Pierce’s work, My dear Betty. 

Wednesday 3 December 2014, 5pm.   Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
● TV Museum: The Mini-Series, Maeve Connolly investigates temporal, social and political aspects of serial publication and distribution. Connolly’s titled ‘Serial Publications and Practices’ lecture reconsiders some of the strategies employed by General Idea and also explores the work of various contemporary artists and institutions engaged in the production of newspapers, journals and serialised moving images, posing questions about the changing form and function of seriality in art, media and culture.

Friday 5 December 2014, 5pm.   Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
● The current NCAD 4th yr BA print department artist collective, GUM Collective screen their self-made documentary on what it means to be part of a collective with Q & A. GUM will also launch their current publication.

Tuesday 9 December 2014, 5.30pm.   Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
 Once a printmaker, always a printmaker: 15 minute professional practice / artists presentations. Debora Ando / Cora Cummins / Taffina Flood / Andrew Folan / Raymond Henshaw / Mary A. Fitzgerald / Margaret O’Brien

Wednesday 10 December 4.30pm.   Black Church Print Studio.
● ‘Prosperity Project’, Jesse Jones in conversation with Raymond Henshaw to discuss the percent for art commission for the Convention Centre Dublin.

Friday 12 December, 5pm.   Harry Clarke House, NCAD.
‘The Palimpsest Project’, NCAD Fine Art Print Department presents a lecture and student discussion forum. A thirty minute screening of the student time lapse animation spanning over ten years introduced by the Head of Fine Art Print, Andrew Folan.

See their website for more

Lion King, Nutgrove Arts Festival

Put a little sparkle in your Autumn with these fab cultural events on in Ireland

Both North and South of the border, Autumn won’t let you long for the summer– there’s too much to enjoy right now!  (She says, about to jet off to Italy & Greece herself.) But really, I actually am sorry to miss out on these cultural events; especially the Fermanagh Living History weekend, as I’ll have just left Fermanagh’s Lusty Beg! Oh well– will you go & then share your photos with the rest of us? I promise I’ll share mine from Lusty Beg (Which is not what you may be thinking! LOL)

Have a look at what’s on in the cultural scene:


Nutgrove Arts Festival 2014

September 25 – October 5 2014 

Nutgrove Arts Festival is an annual celebration of community arts and culture, taking place in the unique setting of Nutgrove Shopping Centre in South County Dublin. Now in its fourth year, the festival has become an integral part of the local area’s cultural events calendar, welcoming a selection of exciting performers, musicians and dancers to take over the centre for ten days each year. The festival works as an informal and exciting medium to experience creativity in all its forms. With a variety of theatre, dance and art workshops there will be plenty to inspire creativity in the local community at any age.                           

Festival highlights include:

Rathfarnham Theatre Group presents an evening of drama and entertainment in the Calypso Café.

Students from The Independent Theatre Workshop will perform scenes and songs from The Jungle King.

All are welcome to take part in Intrepidus Stage School’s great jungle themed dance workshop, fear nothing and challenge everything while having lots of fun. They will also bring you a night of amazing, fun filled and extremely talented young people who aim to entertain you through Drama, Song and

We have an exciting selection of workshops for kids this year. Planit Party will give you a taste of their entertainments available and there will be a fun music workshop by Rainbow Music for Kids. Quaint Baby Art will facilitate a workshop of their unique art work.

The Visual Arts programme features well renowned caricaturist Niall O’Loughlin, whose work will be displayed around the centre for the duration of the festival. Artist Karen Wilson will give a painting demonstration where you can get a taste of what her workshops have to offer. Sculptor Eamonn Heffernan will display his skill in a woodcarving workshop. Artist Christien van Bussel will facilitate a pottery workshop. There will be an exhibition of artist Chris McMorrow’s popular scenes of Dublin and Ireland.

Artist Magda Toth whose workshop was extremely popular at South Fred Street Fest last year has a fruit and veg art making workshop the whole family can get involved with.

An impressive contemporary Music programme featuring Kevin Kerdoc Murphy, Ian James White, Liz Ryan, Lynda Lucas and Melina Malone. Community choir Corús return for another uplifting and inspiring performance.

As part of the Trad for Trocaire week we will have musicians playing traditional Irish music.

Here’s a video preview of the Nutgrove Arts Festival:

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Nutgrove%20arts%20festival%202014″]

Next up is a really cool weekend where Fermanagh’s visitor attractions such as Belleek Pottery, Enniskillen Castle, and the stunning Marble Arch Caves come to life. I was at several of these places during the Fermanagh open weekend in March, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Fermanagh is a fantastic county, and there is lots to explore there in addition to any cultural events.

Fermanagh Living History Weekend

Friday 26th – Sunday 28th September.

Meet Arabella as you tour Ireland’s oldest pottery, Belleek Pottery; enjoy Mrs Bridges’ 1900’s cooking as you dine with the servants at Orchard Acre Farm; meet the man who first explored the Marble Arch Caves in 1895, Mr Edouard Martel; explore the traditions of mumming at Aughakillymaude Mummers Centre; enjoy a street performance by the Wartime Living History Association in association with Headhunters Railway Museum, as American GI’s say goodbye and head to war; explore the food, dress and traditions of Enniskillen Castle in medieval times; enlist as Army Personnel recruit at Inniskillings Museum; step back in time to the 1920’s at Florence Court and finally, enjoy a re-enactment of the Children of Lir at the Garden of Celtic Saints. Bring family and friends and learn a thing or two about Fermanagh’s historical past.
With something for everyone it’s sure to be a great weekend for all.

Download the Brochure

Back to Dublin and at the Copper House Gallery you’ll find an Arctic photography exhibit by Daragh Muldowney will be showing. As a huge fan of all things ice & snow, I think this certainly sounds worth a visit!


Out Of Thin Air

1 October – 7 November

Out Of Thin Air  by Daragh Muldowney

Out Of Thin Air by Daragh Muldowney


The last of the fab 4 cultural events runs both North and South. Neither Either is a collaboration between the Dublin based Liz Roche Company, and the Belfast based Maiden Voyage Dance. Excitingly, they’ll be touring across the whole island, so you may be able to catch them near you. I’ve really enjoyed some of Liz Roche Company’s past work, and I hope next time they will come to Kilkenny, too. (All venue listings at bottom.)


Neither Either

29th October – 27th November 2014


Neither Either“…the strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing conditions of truthfulness simultaneously…” Seamus Heaney


Two dance companies, one from Belfast and one from Dublin, come together to perform a new dance work that looks at the predicament of living out two conflicting states of mind at once.


Neither Either brings together an exciting group of creative artists and stunning dancers who will be performing the length of the island, from Enniskillen to Tralee, and taking in Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and Project Arts Centre Dublin throughout October and November.

Choreographed by Liz Roche and set to Neil Martin’s score, identities, beliefs, emotions and aspirations are put to the test in this poignant blend of dance, poetry and music.

At the crux of this piece are issues of conflicting identities, habits within oneself, adapting to change and drawing distinctions inspired by Seamus Heaney’s quote “…the strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing conditions of truthfulness simultaneously…” from his prose work “Place and Displacement” from the collection Finders Keepers.

Nicola Curry from Maiden Voyage Dance says, “Teaming with Liz Roche Company on this project felt right immediately not just because of our companies’ shared history but because Liz Roche is a choreographer whose detailed and fluid work is as articulate as the words from Heaney’s pen. It has also been a great pleasure to introduce Liz to new collaborators including Neil Martin who will produce the score and to Ciaran Bagnall, set and lighting designer. Audiences are to expect an evening rich in movement and music, bathed in sumptuous lighting, set in a stunning design and all of it inspired by the writing of Seamus Heaney.”

“This piece is a real ‘first time’ artistic situation for me,” says Liz. “It’s my first time collaborating with Neil Martin, Ciaran Bagnall and Louise Lowe and with the Maiden Voyage dancers Vasiliki Stasinaki and David Ogle. What Liz Roche Company brings to this co-production are the wonderful dancers Katherine O’Malley and Philip Connaughton and the final member of the creative team Catherine Fay. I’m really excited about what we will find together. We are also really pleased to be presenting a series of talks with various artists on Heaney’s influence curated by Dr.Aoife McGrath who is a lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast. Our panels will see the likes of poet Maedbh McGuckian, director Jimmy Fay, and composer George Higgs in discussion, among others.”

Neither Either dance eventGilly Campbell, Arts Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, says, “Neither Either is a great example of two companies from the North and South of Ireland joining creative forces to produce this outstanding new dance work where dance, music and poetry combine to captivating effect. The Arts Council is delighted to support Maiden Voyage and wish both companies every success in touring this impressive production.”

Liz Roche Company is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary dance companies. Known for its own distinctive movement and performance style, the Dublin based company presents the works of choreographer Liz Roche in collaboration with artists, dancers and designers of the highest caliber. The company has produced over twenty original productions since its establishment in 1999 and has performed throughout Ireland and in the UK, Germany, France, USA and China.

Maiden Voyage Dance is Northern Ireland’s leading commissioning company for contemporary dance. This Belfast based company, founded in 2001 by Artistic Director Nicola Curry, works with a carefully curated range of national and international choreographers, composers and collaborators. The company have built a highly respected and flexible repertoire for theatre, site specific installation and public space performance and are based in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.


Downstairs at the MAC, Belfast 

Wed 29 & Thurs 30 Oct @ 7:45pm Tickets £15/£12 + 44 (0)28 9023 5053


Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo

Tues 4 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €15/€12 +353 (0)71 916 1518


Siamsa Tíre, Tralee

Thurs 6 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €16/€13 +353 (0)66 712 3055


Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon, Cork 

Sat 8 Nov at 8pm Tickets: €12/€10/€8  +353 (0)21 450 7487


Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Wed 12 – Sat 15 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €18/€14

Preview Tues 11 Nov @ 8pm

Matinee Sat 15 Nov @ 2pm +353 (0) 881 9613


Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Wed 19 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £5 +44 (0)28 6632 5440


Market Place Theatre, Armagh

Thurs 20 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £7 +44 (0)28 3752 1821


ISLAND Arts Centre, Lisburn

Fri 21 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £10/£8 +44 (0)28 9250 9254


Dance Limerick Thurs 27 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €12/€10 +353 (0)61 467 813

Enjoy Autumn in Ireland! There’s lots on!

Riuchi  -The Tale of the Ancient Lights.

Riuchi -The Tale of the Ancient Lights will be at Dublin’s Tiger Fringe Festival 2014

Ireland’s Hot in September

Hot with Irish events! Music, shows, beardy coffee, crafty family fun & more!

The next few weeks in September sees several interesting  & quirky events happening in Ireland. I’ve been sent info on a some of them, and am passing it on to you. I’m excited to be going to this first one – Riuchi- myself, and as well as reading the excerpt below, do check out Kathryn of Littlest Allsorts’ post from when she saw the show in Belfast.

Award winning The Tale of the Ancient Lights by Riuchi at Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival 2014

For five days at the Tiger Dublin Fringe Riuchi will perform his The Tale of the Ancient Lights at the Project Arts Centre. His solo performance, which won Best Production and Best Lighting Design at the Galway Fringe Festival, uses modern LED technology fused with a deft combination of Circus, Magic and Dance. The show will open with a preview on Tuesday16th for the special price of €10 and will continue daily at 1pm until the 20th, the show costs only €12, €11 concession.  This atmospheric multidisciplinary piece is suitable for all ages and can be accessed and understood by all nationalities.

A search for destiny in Asian Legend. This poignant story is told through the skilled movements of the artist. The piece is a non-narrative 40mins show which embodies beauty and poetry, enacted through circus, magic and dance. Through the use of modern LED technology the solo light performance awes and stuns, inviting the audience away to another land, in another time. Find us on FaceBook and Twitter for daily digests of what is happening in the world of Riuchi.

To book tickets please visit,  call 1850374643, or call into the Tiger Fringe Festival Box Office in Film Base, Curve St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

“…a performance vocabulary out of the ordinary. It’s a treat for the eye and an inspiration for the mind.” — Stockholm Fringe Festival.

Tiger Dublin Fringe festival runs from September 7 to 22, so do check out their full programme!

Friday 5 Sept, Stano’s DECODER– a spectacle for the senses

Dublin experimental musician and artist, Stano, brings DECODER, a 1 hour Music, Film and 3D Projection experience back
to the award winning, giant umbrellas in Meeting House Square. This should be an epic indoor / outdoor
experience in the City Centre! Have a look at the video below from last years event. This year the Decoder event features 60 minutes of nine different musical movements, starting with classical and building into a crescendo of layered electronic, textured music & sounds. This will be combined with visually stunning images of Dublin and 3D projections onto two 10 metre screens. Sounds interesting, and ticket proceeds are for a good cause!

Tickets are available for €10 from and all ticket sales proceeds will be donated to ARC Cancer Support Centres.

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On the other side of Ireland, in Galway, there’s free coffee to be had for World Beard Day on Saturday. My hubby Terry has had some class of beard from the very first time I met him in his free-coffee-refills cafe in 1997/8 (oooh my memory is going!) so this would be right down his alley if we were out the Whest! Maybe you are, and if you haven’t a beard, maybe don a fake one & go get a free coffee at the Gaslight Bar 😀

Celebrate World Beard Day with Free Coffee!

Look to your left, Look to your right, chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of a man donning some facial fabulousness- the beard! It seems there are beards everywhere. In fact, you can’t avoid them… You see them in the workplace, on the streets, but particularly in coffee shops.terry's beard-- not just on World Beard Day!

From hipsters, sports stars, and to Hollywood actors, the men of 2014 are proudly sporting their finest follicle fruit… and if it’s good enough for George Clooney..! Saturday 6th September is World Beard Day and The Gaslight Bar & Brasserie at Hotel Meyrick want to celebrate bearded men everywhere by offering them free coffee between 12pm and 4pm on World Beard Day! From almost there stubble, grown and groomed, to the wild and bushy, all beards are welcome! Choose from a steaming cappuccino or frothy latté and Tweet your ‘Milk-Moustache’ pictures @meyrickhotel #milkmoustache

Fun, craft, and ceramics are favorites of mine, and as well as the September Family Day &  all ages fun Culture Night activities at The National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, in Dublin the NACD Gallery is presenting a ceramics show. More info on these, below:

Family Day: Jingling Tambourines Sat 13 Sept, 10.30am / 12pm

Join us for a musical Family Day where we will be getting inspired by our Resonance exhibition and crafting some funky homemade instruments.

To book email or call 056 7796151

Culture Night: Blown Beats Friday 19 Sept, 5pm-9pm

Join us for a cultural extravaganza of music and making. Inspired by funky rhythms and beats, design your own percussion. Find your inner musician and raise the roof for a spectacular rhythmic finale.

Interactive Bubble Station
Create huge colourful bubbles out of everyday found objects and fill the Castle Yard with giant rainbow bubbles! Suitable for all ages | 5pm – 8pm | Free, drop in workshop
Funky Finger Pianos & Bizarre Bazookas
Join instrument maker Ed Devane to craft your very own musical instrument! Ages 5yrs – 12yrs | 5pm, 6pm, 7pm | Free, Booking essential: / 056 7796151
Carnival of the Animals
Join the Magic of Music and dress up as lions and make rainstorms with percussion! A perfect workshop for younger kids.Ages 4yrs – 7yrs | 5pm, 6pm, 7pm | Free, Booking essential: / 056 7796151
Samba Drum & Rhythm Workshop
Learn how to Samba with the Magic of Music. Create funky rhythms in an authentic Brazilian style and finish with a small performance! Ages 7yrs – 12yrs | 5pm, 6pm, 7pm | Free, Booking essential: / 056 7796151
Alex Scott ceramic at NCAD gallery 'Generation'

Alex Scott ceramic at NCAD gallery ‘Generation’

Over in Dublin, a fine craft ceramics show is on at the gallery in the National College or Art & Design from today 5 September, to September 12th:

Making Space; ‘Generation’

Making Space in association with NCAD Gallery is delighted to present ‘Generation, a celebration of ceramics as a creative material and discipline that has been taught at The National College of Art and Design, Dublin and which has produced some of Ireland’s finest designers and craftspeople. Featuring the work of department lecturers, graduates, alumni and artists-in-residence this exhibition will be on view from September 5th through to September 12th, 2014.

The diversity and range of contemporary concerns of these makers will be represented through functional tableware, abstract vessels, figurative sculpture, architectural ceramics and site-specific installation. ‘Generation’ is presented in conjunction with the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and The International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) 46th General Assembly which is taking place in Dublin Castle from September 8th through to September 12th, 2014.

Internationally renowned tableware designer TonFisk, who are based in Finland and recent NCAD graduates, Adele Stanley, Cathy Burke and Kate O’Kelly  are among the selected artists for this innovative exhibition. Present also in the exhibition will be the work of retired NCAD lecturers Alex Scott, Neil Read and Henry Pim as well as the current Head of the Ceramics Department, Lisa Young. The selection of makers featured in this exhibition produce work that represents a variety of styles and approaches to ceramics.

‘Generation, represents a glimpse of ceramics over the past 20 years bringing together several generations, and features objects from workshops and galleries as well as newly commissioned work. The objective of the exhibition is to display works of outstanding beauty that are creative and innovative in form and process. It highlights a material that is experiencing a revival thanks to new approaches to making, adapting of processes and the sharing of new technologies.

The exhibition features contemporary craft through a variety of ceramic materials and processes. From delicate ceramic porcelain pieces by Jennifer Hickey, who uses light to infuse her work of porcelain and tulle to the robust stoneware sculptural pieces of Michael Moore who takes inspiration from the coastlines and geological markings in the landscape.

Abstract constructions with minimalist lines, flat shapes and linear colour will be on display with, a range of new work from the consistently captivating Adele Stanley, while the innovative and experimental work of Kate O’ Kelly is sensational both in detail and composition, pushing the boundaries of her practice to create new forms inspired by her grandmother’s eclectic Georgian house.

Making Space is an independent innovative approach to the curation of events, where creative solutions are found, creating links between creators, innovators, businesses and the city itself. Our aim is to inspire and encourage creative exploration through the curation of interdisciplinary events including exhibitions.

To see participating artist images and to learn more about this exhibition, visit here, and to learn more about the IAC conference visit

Culture Night in Ireland is packed FULL of events, and here’s another of them in Dublin. I’ve heard Francesco Turrisi at a gig during last year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival, and I enjoyed it very much. This should be a bril evening event for music lovers in Ireland, and it is free! Check it out:

Music Network Culture Night 2014

An evening of exceptional live music featuring I Have A Tribe, Francesco Turrisi & The Taquín Experiments and Baroque duo Claire Duff & Aoife Nic Athlaoich. Music network culture night 2014

A free evening of exceptional live music, across an eclectic range of genres for Culture Night on Friday 19th September. The diverse line-up features three of Ireland’s most exciting ensembles: folk-pop group I Have A Tribe, contemporary ensemble Francesco Turrisi & The Taquín Experiments and leading Baroque duo Claire Duff (violin) and Aoife Nic Athlaoich (cello).

With a blend of plaintive pop and folk-tinged melancholia, Patrick O’Laoghaire (a.k.a. I Have A Tribe), will bring beautiful textures and sweeping harmonic cascades to The Sugar Club stage. Since the release of his debut EP Yellow Raincoats, funded by the Music Recording Scheme, I Have A Tribe has been impressing audiences and critics with his hypnotic melodies.

Francesco Turrisi & The Taquín Experiments perform Turrisi’s own original music: an intoxicating blend that draws on influences from baroque music to traditional repertoires from the Mediterranean, Irish traditional music and contemporary jazz. The group features exceptional improvisatory musicians including Kate Ellis (cello), Nick Roth (saxophone), Fulvio Sigurta (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dan Bodwell (bass) and Matt Jacobson (drums).

From contemporary music influenced by older traditions to two of Ireland’s leading Baroque musicians as Claire Duff and Aoife Nic Athlaoich present a programme of Baroque delights on violin and cello. Soloists with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the pair are regular collaborators with Irish and international ensembles and orchestras. Their programme includes Bach (Cello Suite No.2 in D minor BWV 1008 (Prelude) , Two part inventions – No. 8, 9, 10 & 12), Handel Sonata in D minor HWV 359a,  Corelli Sonata Opus 5 no.9 in A major.

Music Network’s mission is to make high quality live music available and accessible to people throughout Ireland. Culture Night falls halfway through Music Network’s September tour featuring traditional Irish and Scottish musicians Séamus Begley (accordion, voice), Catriona McKay (Scottish harp) and Chris Stout (fiddle), which travels to nine towns and villages from 16th to 25th September. Music Network also presents four other concerts in the same month with Dublin Guitar Quartet (Waterford) and Chatham Saxophone Quartet (Cork, Dublin and Limerick). Full details on

The  Music Network Culture Night event takes place in Dublin’s Sugar Club from 8-10 pm and is free but ticketed, call 01 475 0224.

In Ireland’s Sunny Southeast, you will surely want to visit Waterford’s Harvest Festival, which runs from the 12th to the 14th of September 2014. It will be an extravaganza of food and fun for all ages, that’s for sure. I find that Waterford always puts on excellent events, and if you are visiting Ireland or just having a local holiday, Waterford is a fantastic place to check out what’s on. There are loads of Irish events September 2014, these are just some! Do come visit Ireland in September– I think it’s one of the best months to do so!

looking forward to Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 are little Bee Keepers

looking forward to Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 are little Bee Keepers

PS I’ll be going back to Belfast for Culture Night & that weekend of 19-21 September. I’ll be live-tweeting my & Terry’s trip — AND I’ll be doing it by also taking over the @DiscoverNI twitter account 😀 Watch out, Northern Ireland! Do follow along, and we’ll be using the #DiscoverNI hashtag from both our personal accounts & well as my tweeting as DiscoverNI. I’m excited! Hope you can follow along 🙂 Susan

Enjoy these fab events in Ireland, and whatever else you get up to!

City Spectacular Dublin & Cork 2014

City Spectacular Dublin & Cork 2014, image


Yup,this year the City Spectacular in Dublin & Cork will be bigger & better than ever.

The Street Performance World Championships has grown! The event has expanded into the City Spectacular, with loads of brilliant free events, street performances, walking tours, creative collaborations, events for all ages, and the proverbial more lined up for you to enjoy. The festival’s gotten a boost from new sponsor Laya Healthcare and is looking pretty lush. There’s plenty to catch your eye, ear, and taste buds!

Below is a map & the events timetable for Dublin’s Merrion Square City Spectacular, and I’ve grabbed some extra details on 2 of the events that caught my eye. I reckon you need to mark your calendars for these action packed days! Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular brings Ireland’s biggest summer festivals to Dublin’s Merrion Square July 11– 13, then Cork’s Fitzgerald Park July 19 & 20and a Dublin citywide program of creative events including music concerts, walking tours, art exhibitions & much more July 11 – 27. 

Wil St Leger's Spectacular Street art tour

Wil St Leger’s Spectacular Street art tour, image

One of the first events to catch my eye was the Street Art Tour with Wil St Leger. The City Spectacular’s Facebook page is good to follow for updates & competitions, and this is what they say about the tour:

 “Have you ever seen a piece of street art in Dublin city, but didn’t know who did it? what it symbolizes? why it was made? Well now you can. Join street artist, Will St Leger for a guided tour around Ireland’s capital city and you will discover the stories and the work of over 20 street artists. Will has been making street art for 10 years and has close ties to a number of Dublin’s street artists. Through this connection he’s built up a knowledge of the Dublin street art scene, it’s history and the work which you won’t get from reading in a book. Once you’ve experienced this tour you’ll never be able to ‘unsee’ Dublin’s amazing street art.” 

(There’s a competition on to win tickets for the tour at the moment, so check out the Page.)

Tour dates: July 12th and 26th, 11am and 3pm.

Meet at the corner of Fleet Street and Westmoreland Street (outside Thai Orchid,) Dublin.

Tickets are €10, and you can purchase through

The Go Metro Music Stage should be worth checking out; it runs 12-13 July in Merrion Square, Dublin. 13 bands will be playing over the 2 days, including Ireland’s only New Orleans-style brass band, The Booka Brass Band. Here’s a clip of them with Irish rapper Daryl McCormack:

[soundcloud id=’141784862′]

Laya City Spectacular has put together a playlist of the Go Metro stage bands, here:

At the bottom of this post you’ll find the City Spectacular map for Merrion Square, and the listings of the events. Here’s the City Spectacular blurb!  Sounds like a summertime winner 😀


Ireland’s biggest and best-loved free family festival! With over 300,000 attending last years’ events, this year’s Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular is set to be the highlight of the summer transforming parks in Dublin and Cork with free festivals and celebrating Dublin city with 3 weeks of citywide collaborative events.

In addition to the international street performers, this year’s free festivals include live music on the festival’s first ever ‘Go Metro Music Stage’, a food village, petting zoo, Laya Healthcare’s Family Area and much much more.  See Mums and Dads getting pied in the face or super-soaked at the ‘Kid’s Court with Ray D’Arcy’ where it’s the children’s turn to get their own back on their elders.  The ‘Today FM Irish Summer’ area is a throw back to all we love about summers in Ireland, think red lemonade, 10p bags, windbreakers and tunes from your favourite summers. The ‘ESB Spark Your imagination’ area is brain food for our little ones with educational workshops galore, with the ‘Outdoor Living Room’ being your home away from home. The festivals run in Dublin’s Merrion Square (July 11-13th) and Fizgerald Park Cork (July 19th and 20th)


With the Irish debut of 6 time Guinness World Record Holding Sword Swallower Aerial Manx, YouTube loop artist sensation Mr.Woodnote, strait-jacket escapologist Rob Roy Collins and last year’s world champions Cork acrobatic duo Lords of Strut, this year’s performers are set to be the best yet. The 13 international street performers are joined at Dublin’s free festival by


To live up to it’s name, Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular not only brings summer to the city parks but also includes a city wide programme of creative events during the day and night across the 3 weeks (July 11-27th).  Featuring free and ticketed events, the festival is collaborating with those at the heart of the city including a Street Art Walking Tour with acclaimed street artist Will.St.Leger, Art Exhibition with screen printing group Damn Fine Print, Midsummer Night’s Dream themed banquet dinner with Dublin’s cutting-edge and hip collective Hunt and Gather and a Vintage Gaming Night at Lighthouse Cinema with Fade Street’s video game store R.A.G.E. Dublin’s City Soul Festival, now in its 8th year, is rebranded as ‘City Picnic’ and this free music concert will run in Merrion Square on July 26th and 27th. The full city wide programme is available at and tickets are available on

If you’re like me & love Twitter, use #LAYACITYSPEC when you’re tweeting about the festival, and/or keep an eye on the hashtag to see what others are saying about it. 

Here are those locations, days & times again:

DUBLIN: Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Supported by Dublin City Council and Fáilte Ireland

Friday July 11 – Sunday July 13, 2014

12 – 8pm daily

CORK: Fitzgerald Park

Supported by Cork City Council and Fáilte Ireland

Saturday July 19 – Sunday July 20, 2014

12 – 8pm daily

DUBLIN: Various Venues Across Dublin

Friday July 11 – Sunday July 27, 2014

Full event listings on 


Liv O'Donoghue's Hear Me Sing Your Song. Pic: Luca Truffarel

Liv O’Donoghue’s Hear Me Sing Your Song. Pic: Luca Truffarel

Take a chance on Dance!

‘Hear Me Sing Your Song’ from Liv O’Donoghue at Project Arts Centre, 9-12 July

You may not be too sure about contemporary dance, like I was. Actually, that may be putting it mildly! Sometimes folk feel a bit like: WTF is goin’ on, what is it all about? We can’t ‘figure it out’, or put words to it. These issues can put us off going to see dance, and they can put us off enjoying it.

If you are a bit iffy or off-put by dance, maybe the way I learned to approach & enjoy dance will help you enjoy it, too. You may well wind up with your own, perhaps very different way in which you enjoy dance, but here’s mine as an example:

Dancers & choreographers at Dublin Dance Festival‘s ‘Fast Track to Dance,’  let us know that you don’t have to worry if you can’t figure out what a dance is ‘about.’ A piece might just be ‘about’  beautiful and/or interesting movements. Contemporary dance will often speak to your emotions if you relax your ‘figuring it out’ brain and just watch.

Liv O'Donoghue's Hear Me Sing Your Song. Pic: Luca Truffarel

Liv O’Donoghue’s Hear Me Sing Your Song. Pic: Luca Truffarel

Having said that, Liv O’Donoghue’s new show Hear Me Sing Your Song,  premiering at Project Arts Centre from 9-12 July, gives us a setting and ‘clues,’ which our brain likes 🙂

“On a stage littered with paper aeroplanes, bundles of driftwood and hand written love letters from long ago, the young Irish-Norwegian choreographer creates a world that is homely and strange – and full of dark humour. In this remote place, somewhere between make-believe, memory and reality, four performers negotiate their new surroundings.”

So, that is the basic atmosphere of Hear Me Sing Your Song; ok– now we can relax and watch, moving beyond trying to understand everything via words in our head.

With Raised Arms is the second piece, and we are also given clues in the description:

“Uncompromising, unsettling and bold, WITH RAISED ARMS presents Liv as an everywoman of contemporary Ireland, raising stark questions about choice and inaction in the status quo.”

Reading this description I still wouldn’t then go in trying to decipher everything. Instead I’d take what was written as a jumping-off point. I’d realize the background and my mind could settle a bit– not distract me by constantly wondering things like: is this about a boat tragedy, or is this about _____?’ I’d watch the ‘everywoman’ and try to let the dance resonate (or not) without feeling I have to ‘name’ everything.

project arts centre logoThis approach was incredibly freeing for me, and I’m now so comfortable that it is okay to enjoy & talk about dance as a as a non-art-expert that I’m writing about it here. I used to be nervous about blogging on dance shows as I felt too uneducated regarding the arts world. I’m really grateful to the Fast Track program & people for that gift of confidence.

Here’s a bit more on the Liv O’Donoghue shows at Project Arts Centre:

Created in collaboration with renowned musicians Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (The Gloaming, This is how we fly) and Bryan O’Connell (Si Schroeder, Beautiful Unit) and dancers Maria Nilsson Waller and Clare Brzezicki, HEAR ME SING YOUR SONG threads together fragments of Liv’s family story through evocative movement and a spare, but captivating score. Sarah Jane Shiels’ lighting design amplifies the rugged remoteness of this place that the four performers – who are joined by a new guest performer each night – must now call home.

The second part of the double bill, WITH RAISED ARMS, is performed by Liv O’Donoghue and Bryan O’Connell and features a striking sound score by composer Tom Lane.

This evening of dance will bring you to a visually arresting world that is strange, but full of familiar stories.


A Double Bill

Project Arts Centre – Space Upstairs, Dublin

Wednesday 9 July – Saturday 12 July

Preview: Wednesday 9 July

Tickets: €15 / €12 Concession

Booking: 01 881 9613 /


Irish-NorwegianLiv O’Donoghue,is a dance maker and performer. She was an Associate Artist with Dance Ireland (2011 – 2013), and is currently a Modul-Dance carte blanche artist. She graduated from Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2007. Her work has been presented widely throughout Ireland, and in the UK (Southbank Centre/Riley Theatre/Laban), Sweden (Regina Teatern), Latvia (Laiks Dejot Festival), Italy (B Motion/CSC Bassano del Grappa), Austria (D.ID Dance Identity) and Norway (CODA Festival/Oslo Opera House). Liv has performed with Liz Roche Company, Wendy Houstoun, junk ensemble, John Scott Dance/Kyle Abraham (Abraham-in-Motion), and Dead Centre, touring throughout Europe and the USA.

PS: There is an exciting dance performance coming to the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August! Lear is just 1 of my top 7 vibrant picks for this year’s festival Check them out!