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Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Limerick

You may be able to explore inside the largest Loughcrew megalithic tomb via Loughcrew Megalithic Centre

You may be able to explore inside the largest Loughcrew megalithic tomb via Loughcrew Megalithic Centre

What the heck is choreosonography? How can I visit a locked 5,000 year old megalithic tomb? Some November events events & ideas for cultural adventure in Ireland!

This is the first in a series for the more adventurous person; not as in bungee jumping or skydiving kinds of adventure– this is for those of us who enjoy being a bit adventurous in the areas of Arts & Culture. Are you a cultural adventurer Check these out! 

In this week’s suggestions we have 2 cultural adventures that involve the outdoors, a challenging piano concert, a charming book and tour idea, plus several tips for enjoying Ireland’s very first City of Culture, Limerick. 

Let’s start off with some ‘easier’ adventures. Irish thatched cottages are the darling of many a postcard, but they are actually an endangered architectural species, with less than 1,600 left on the whole island. Many are private homes, but some are open to the public; one such one can be found at the Loughcrew Megalithic Centre. I visited it last week, and the young men reviving this family cottage are a delight, as is the cottage itself. I’ll have more on the centre in an upcoming article focusing on county Meath, but it’ll pop up again here when we explore the 5,000 year old megaliths. In an example of perfect timing, this landed on my desk:

Map of Irish Thatch Cottages by Emma Byrne

Map of Irish Thatch Cottages by Emma Byrne

A charming book to inspire gentle adventure.

Irish Thatch by Emma Byrne Provides a rich visual theme for a gentle adventure round Ireland. Emma and her husband Johnathan live in a county Wexford thatched cottage, and the author is well versed in the joys and judders of living under thatch in a 200 year old cottage. (Fancy water pouring out of a ceiling light, anyone?) In her book, Emma brings you through the history & craft of Irish thatched cottages, and on a charming pictorial tour of these traditional beauties throughout Ireland. She took to the open road (or, winding road as the Irish case may be,) visiting these cottages herself; the book contains over 350 photos and an illustrated map listing thatched cottages open to the public. The thatched heritage cottage at Loughcrew was not yet open at the time of the book’s writing, so you’ll have to pencil it in yourself. You can purchase Irish Thatch at many bookshops, or order online from O’Brien Press.


This November, why not dream up a journey centered around Irish Thatch Cottages? Book by Emma Byrne

This November, why not dream up a journey centered around Irish Thatch Cottages? Book by Emma Byrne

While we are on the subject of thatch, let’s just also have a spot of Seamus Heaney, which is always a good idea 🙂


Bespoke for weeks, he turned up some morning
Unexpectedly, his bicycle slung
With a light ladder and a bag of knives.
He eyed the old rigging, poked at the eaves,

Opened and handled sheaves of lashed wheat-straw.
Next, the bundled rods: hazel and willow
Were flicked for weight, twisted in case they’d snap.
It seemed he spent the morning warming up:

Then fixed the larder, laid out well honed blades
And snipped at straw and sharpened ends of rods
That, bent in two, made a white-pronged staple
For pinning down his world, handful by handful.

Couchant for days on sods above the rafters,
He shaved and flushed the butts, stitched all together
Into a sloped honeycomb, a stubble patch,
And left them gaping at his Midas touch.

-Seamus Heaney

Explore the 5,000 year old ‘Hill of the Witch’ megalithic tombs at Loughcrew

With amazing views of approximatly 11 counties, and built around the same time as their famous neighbor Newgrange (which is now complete with fancy visitor center and a steady stream of huge tour buses), the cairn complex at Loughcrew near Oldcastle in county Meath is a very large, and much quieter, site. The feeling of wildness, of being generally ‘untamed’ by the OPW & tons of health and safety regulations, is strong. To get the most out of your visit to, arranging for a guide is best; usually your guide can get a hold of the key so that you may actually enter into the largest cairn on Slieve na Calliagh (The Hill of The Witch/Hag.) This ancient tomb/ritual place is home to the Hag’s Chair, and one the largest amounts of megalithic art in Ireland. At the autumn and spring equinoxes the rising sun sends its rays into the chamber, illuminating the back stones and rock art. A powerful sight! The aforementioned Loughcrew Megalithic Centre can give you updates on what equinox events may be happening, and as they are also open all year they’re super handy for a cuppa tea or coffee with cake or lunch in their cafe. Needed after the fairly steep walk up to the cairns! (Note; the way up to the cairns is not wheelchair friendly at time of writing; all steps.)

Guide: I had Malachy Hand as my guide– what a treasure trove of info and stories this gentleman is! You can contact him at 

Loughcrew Megalitic Centre: The two young men running it are Niall and Fechin. Theirs is a real labour of love, and as well as the thatched heritage cottage and cafe, they also provide camping & hostel accommodation. Shoot them an email at and I’m sure they’ll be happy to answer any enquiries you may have.


Float Through Time! A Medieval River Tour of Trim

You can do a Medieval Float Through Time in Trim, Ireland

You can do a Medieval Float Through Time in Trim, Ireland

On a raft but no real paddling required! It’s all play and not really any work required as you float downstream on the river Boyne. I reckon you’ll love this fascinating and just oh so pretty journey through medieval Trim offered by Boyne Valley Activities. We went last week; the autumn leaves where ablaze and the hour & a half gentle float was just gorgeous. James knows tons of interesting facts and stories that you probably won’t find out elsewhere, so listen up! If you don’t capsize the boat anywhere (I imagine that would be pretty hard to do!) at the end of the river tour you’ll call into the tiny 14th century pub Regan’s at the riverside for a sip of what you fancy before the van brings you back to the centre. At the time of writing this, the Medieval River Tour is priced at €25 per person, and I feel that this is a terrific bargain & perhaps even a bit too low for all the work that James puts into it. Don’t miss this wonderful cultural adventure in Trim, county Meath! I’ll have more on this in my upcoming Meath article, too.

Tip: Depending on the state of the river & weather, this tour may not run in the wintery months. Contact James at to check. Do have a look at their other activities too!

Challenging the boundaries of music and dance

Figures, by Óscar Mascareñas

Figures is a new work for piano conceived, devised and directed by Irish-based, Mexican-born composer Óscar Mascareñas in collaboration with Mexican dance artist Nora Rodríguez. The work is the result of eight years of research in sound and movement that Mascareñas has been undertaking at the University of Limerick in Ireland.The aim of this project is to transform somatic forces into sounds through an exploration of the relationship between the piano and the body; the former not only seen and understood as a musical instrument, but also, and most importantly, as a space where the body moves, plays and interacts with its physicality and its sonic potential.  To describe the work, he coined the term choreosonography, a concept that involves the physicalisation of sounds and the sounding of physicality. A choreosonography is both a process and a work.

This conceptual work is the first of its kind, and represents a unique, innovative, state-of-the-art proposal that aims to challenge the boundaries of music and dance, as well as to provide a space for collaboration between artists of different disciplines, creating a discourse that will eventually change the way we approach, think about and experience composition and performance.

Óscar Mascareñas began to collaborate with Nora Rodríguez in September 2014  as part of their work at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, in the University of Limerick, and have worked on Figures since the beginning of 2015.

The full work will consist of seven to ten studies for piano, with a projected programme duration of one hour.

When? Thursday, 12 November, 8pm

Where? Tower Theatre, Irish World Academy, Univeristy of Limerick (see map below the video)

How much? Free

What else is in Limerick to see? Plenty! The Hunt Museum is always a good choice for the culture lover; have a look here for the Hunt’s current exhibitions. Until the 19th of November, there will be works by Brian MacMahon  on view, amongst others. You can check out the talks on at the Hunt Museum here. Just up O’Connell Street from the Hunt is Ormston House, another arts venue worth checking.  Also see another music event here, farther below. 


Limerick Docks by Brian MacMahon

Limerick Docks by Brian MacMahon

Any other tips? Whenever I’m in Limerick, I love to spoil myself by either eating or staying at One Pery Square in Limerick’s Georgian Quarter. (The Limerick City Gallery is just across the street.) One Pery Square does wonderful Afternoon Teas– and if you really want to indulge, how about an Afternoon Tea combined with a Thermal Spa? AHHHH! Check out their daytime menu with Afternoon Teas here. If you’d like to explore the Georgian Quarter a bit more, get in touch with Declan, over on Limerick Walking Tours. He’s great! He also does Medieval & Angela’s Ashes tours.

What’s for lunch? Well, there’s lots; if you are visiting the Hunt Museum their cafe is good, and just a wee stroll up O’Connell Street is one of my favorite Asian places, the award winning Aroi. Check out the Eat In Limerick guide map here.

Artists Biographies

Óscar Mascareñas (PhD) (Mexico/Ireland) is a poet, composer, performer and musicologist. He has given concerts, conferences and master classes extensively in Ireland, the UK, Slovakia, Hungary and Mexico. He is the founding course director of the BA in Voice and Dance, and was acting and assistant director of the MA Ritual Chant and Song at the Irish World Academy. Óscar is also founding director of the Irish ensemble HIBERNIA, and founding chair of the Cage-Cunningham Professorship in Contemporary Performance at the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey in Mexico. His forthcoming poetry book ‘[Sketches for] A Poetry of Desire’ will be published at the end of the year by the University of Nuevo León press in Mexico. He currently lectures and researches in music and contemporary performance at the Academy.

Nora Rodríguez (Mexico) is a versatile dance artist based in Limerick, Ireland. Her main interest is to develop live performance and video. Since 2009 she has been exploring the notions of corporeality, emotion, memories, space and sound. Nora has presented and performed work internationally. She is currently Dance Co-ordinator of the BA in Voice and Dance programme at the Irish World Academy in the University of Limerick. Nora is continuously engaged in the development of interdisciplinary projects. She is currently working with Óscar Mascareñas on a series of musical explorations between movement and sound, and on her piece (ALLOW) EVERYTHING SOMETIMES with actor Kevin Kiely Jnr. and poet Shane Vaughan.

Info via Limerick 2020, do give their Facebook page a like as they often share interesting cultural events happening in the city.

Trailer for Figures, by Óscar Mascareñas:[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Figures%20″]


Also in the area that day, you may also like to check out this free daytime performance by Eve Stafford (soprano) and Yonit Kosovske (piano,) which is based on four elements: poet, composer, singer and pianist.

“An art song strives to be the perfect combination of music and text. Songs become a marriage of exquisite music and beautiful poetry.”

This programme features works by renowned Irish, English and other European composers, including Michael Head, Haevlock Nelson, Hector Berlioz, Hugo Wolf, Hubert Hastings Parry, Eric Coates, Armstrong Gibbs and Roger Quilter.

Soprano Eve Stafford has won numerous competitions at the Féile Luimní, including ‘Voice of Féile Luimní’ (2013), in operatic solo, art song, lieder and sacred music. She won prizes at Feis Maitiú Corcaigh in early music, show songs and the soprano soloist category.

While specializing in classical repertoire, she sang Rosalia in West Side Story, her first musical to date, with the Cecillian Society. A student of Olive Cowpar, she enjoys a freelance performance career and has sung in various venues throughout Limerick, including the Hunt Museum and the University Concert Hall.

When? Thursday 12 November, 1.15pm

Where? Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, University of Limerick, Limerick

How Much? Free

What can I eat nearby? La Cucina Italian isn’t far, and is very tasty! Tis only small inside, but they also do a top notch Italian takeaway menu; check that out here.

So, which cultural adventures do you fancy doing? If YOU know of or have an event, book, tour, etc that you think would fit in well with the Vibrant Ireland cultural adventure articles, get in touch! You can email hello AT Thanks!

October is a terrific month to be in Ireland! SO many festivals!

And I don’t just mean the fantastic Halloween festivals, there are many, many others. I made a podcast to tell you about some of my Top Picks for October in Ireland, but in the few days after I became aware of a few more I’d like to mention. So, read on & then have a listen to the others on the podcast. Enjoy your October in Ireland 😀

Cloughtoberfest Gypsy Jazz & Swing

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia 

Cloughtoberfest is Ireland’s annual festival of “Hot Club” Gypsy Jazz and Swing celebrating the legacy of Django Reinhardt. It takes place in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, and the combination of the cosy village setting with a host of lively international musicians makes for quite a unique atmosphere!
This year, the festival is celebrating its 5th anniversary by extending the festival for an extra day… which means even more amazing, uplifting music, workshops and free fringe events right through the October Bank Holiday weekend. Concerts are all held in the intimate setting of Cloughjordan House, bringing together some of the world’s finest guitarists… and if you play yourself, you might just be invited onto the stage! After the concerts there are legendary jam sessions going on into the wee small hours, where you get to play right alongside the festival stars.
All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

There’s lots more music to enjoy at “Trad Manouche” sessions all around town where Gypsy Jazz meets local Trad, “Devlesa”, a gypsy campfire BBQ, or you can brush up your guitar or violin skills at a music masterclass with one of the headline performers. The fringe programme also includes swing dance, film shows and much more to keep you busy. With a great selection of fine Irish foods and craft beers to keep up your strength, this weekend is the perfect autumn pick-you-up to keep you swingin’ right through the winter!

This will be the final outing for this quirky festival, so make sure you don’t miss out.  Full details, ticket bookings etc. can be found

My podcast is below, and underneath that is a quick listing of even more October festivals in Ireland

Top Tips for October Events in Ireland

The Belfast International Arts Festival 9 October to 1 November 2015

Cuisle: Limerick City International Poetry Festival 14 October to 18 October 2015

The Waterford Festival of Architecture  13- 18 October 2015 (check out the interesting guided walks!)

The Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford, 15 October to 25 October 2015

The Cork Jazz Festival 22 October to 26 October 2015

Links for festivals mentioned in the podcast:

Savour Kilkenny

The Burren Winterage Weekend

Wexford Fringe Festival

Many Halloween Festivals can be found here

Spirits of Meath

What will you do this October in Ireland?



Limerick is a very creative city, and one of my favourite Irish city – break destinations. I’ve just been sent the info on the Open Night of Limerick Craft Hub as they celebrate National Design Week. Have a read, and apologies if my layout is off- as I’m in London I’m posting this from my phone! So much for *my* design 😉

Love beautiful things? Love local? Want to support talented designers and get something unique? Then come and meet the makers at our celebration of National Design Week on our open night of the Limerick Craft Hub on Thursday November 6th at 6pm.

Showcasing the best of craft and design handmade in Limerick, the Limerick Craft Hub is a vibrant addition to the Limerick city’s creative culture. Inside is the city’s newest and largest craft shop, a craft gallery, a craft classroom and open studios where you can meet the craftworkers and watch their skills at work. Come along and browse the handmade crafts, see how they are made, take a class – get crafty!

Take the opportunity to get your hands on some beautiful, hand-made designs from the best of Limerick talent, and visit Limerick’s most exciting cultural legacy project, experience Forgotten Silver jewellery being made before your eyes, enjoy bespoke felt-making by Fabulous Felt.

This is more than a shop, the Craft Hub is a centre of design excellence with designers working in their onsite studios that make up part of this design co-op. If you choose to invest in a unique hat by Olainn Milinery, or a piece of ceramic design by Clare Jordan, your money is going directly to the artists who are choosing Limerick as their base and workplace. Why spend your hard won cash on pieces that everybody else has when you can be happy in the knowledge that every euro invested in beautiful things at the Craft  Hub is an investment in Limerick’s legacy as a centre of design excellence, and in your fabulous wardrobe and home! Give beautiful gifts, be proud of what you buy, let your gift have it’s own story.

The evening culminates in a fashion show featuring knitwear from Caroline Mitchell, Hanora K, Daivas’ Textiles and unique pieces by Susan McCarthy Designs. For a chance to pick up a piece that nobody else has, made by hand and made in Limerick, don’t miss this opportunity on this special showcase evening.

The Craft Hub plays host to ongoing workshops for children and adults in crafting, knitting, ceramics, felt-making and silversmithing. Vouchers for workshops make unique and priceless gifts that just might help make that budding artist in your life.

Photo note:
Model is wearing a knitwear ensemble by Hanora K Designs and the scarf is Daiva’s Textiles, pictured at the Craft Hub

Royale de Luxe Limerick City of Culture. Photo,Tom Swift

Royale de Luxe Limerick City of Culture. Photo,Tom Swift via


Limerick is full of excitement this year as City of Culture, and now Royal de Luxe Limerick Giants are coming!

A new video was launched today, specially created to highlight the flagship event of this year’s Limerick City of Culture programme, ‘The Giant’s Journey’. The event, presented by renowned French street theatre company Royal de Luxe, will take place over 3 days and 3 nights in Limerick this September. It promises to be a wonderful spectacle, and I reckon you’ll want to be there! (See link to map of the Limerick Giant’s path at the bottom of this post)


One Pery Square, boutique hotel Limerick city

SO relaxing! One Pery Square boutique hotel, Limerick city

If you are staying overnight in Limerick City (and you should, there’s lots to see & do!) I so recommend the gorgeous boutique hotel One Pery Square in Limerick’s historic Georgian Quarter. This has been the 3rd year in a row that we’ve stayed at One Pery to celebrate my birthday, and we love it. Ace rooms, food, wine & cocktails, super staff, Spa; it has the whole delicious package. Even if you aren’t overnighting in Limerick, check out their Brasserie One for Dinner or Sunday Brunch; or maybe Afternoon Tea. You can even combine Afternoon Tea with a visit to the Spa’s Thermal Suite. Heaven! (I could stay forever in that beautiful Spa..)

Anyhow, this is our favourite Special Offer at One Pery Square. It is a terrific deal, so much included! (See other Specials here)


2 Nights Wine & Dine Escape

Description : Enjoy 2 nights B&B, seasonal a la carte dinner in Brasserie One on one night with a bottle of wine to the value of €30.00.  An hour in the Spa’s Thermal Suite. Package also includes tea & scones on arrival and car parking.
A selection of sample dinner menus can be viewed on

Min Stay : 2 nights
From : €169.00 per night

So, Limerick Giants! A 60-second film has just been released featuring the giant, elaborate marionettes of Royal de Luxe winding through the streets of Nantes, in France – giving people a flavour of what to expect when this dramatic pageant comes here this autumn.

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Limerick%20Giants%20Royal%20de%20Luxe”]

Limerick is Ireland’s first-ever City of Culture  – and now the spectacular street theatre of Royal de Luxe is another wonderful opportunity to increase awareness of one of our favorite Irish cities as a cultural and historic destination.

Limerick has such a great vibe about it the past few years, and it keeps getting better. Particularly exciting is the Draw Out group and the fantastic street art that has been created around Limerick City by international giants in the scene, and by local artists and school kids. There are pieces gigantic and small all over Limerick. Check them out on Draw Out’s map here. Note: it doesn’t seem to show on mobile, at least not on my phone.

Excellent new street art is being added all the time, and Draw Out aims to keep the map updated fairly frequently. August 16-20 sees more artists arriving, so keep your eyes peeled! Limerick City street art

Draw Out’s Culture Night Tour

This is probably the most complete tour we have. This is an amazing option for those who want to cover as much ground as possible in one day, experiencing all of the urban Art in the city and getting an insight into the process of delivery for each piece.

September 20, 2.30pm

For a taste of Historic Limerick, try a Medieval, Georgian, or Angela’s Ashes walking tour with Declan, The Limerick Guide. Terry & I have done the Georgian walk with him, and though Terry pretty much went along to humour me, he ended up loving it. Declan doesn’t give you dry old facts, he shares interesting stories, and is a humourous, friendly guide. Another Limerick ‘giant’ of hospitality 😀  Declan’s website is here:

Speaking of taste, for a really tasty Asian dinner at a brilliant price, try Aroi on Limerick’s O’Connell Street. It is open at noon until 10.30pm, and we’ve found it delish, friendly & scrupulously clean both times we ate there.

street art on Limericks Paint Parade

Aroi is not far from the street art on Limericks ‘Paint Parade, by Bank place

TIP: Do note that if you’ve an egg allergy, you’ll need to ask for no egg in your fried rice dish, as they include egg as standard but this is not (yet) noted on the menu.


Aroi is associated with the eating experience in Asia. Pronounced (Aroy) means delicious or tasty.

Aroi is a casual dining venue which offers a single course dining experience and service with the minimum of fuss.

Our ethos is to serve market fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Our healthy cuisine avoids the obscure chemicals and additives so common in our food today.

Aroi sources authentic herbs and spices and we do not use M.S.G. in any of our preparation.

Have a look at the Menu at Aroi, Limerick

If I were you, I’d mark my calendar & get booking a place to stay for September 5-7 when those Giants will be in town 🙂

 Limerick Giants! Royal de Luxe

The world renowned company will unleash the Giant Saga on the unsuspecting Irish public – an original tale, developed and specially scripted for the city of Limerick. Limerick will be transformed as the massive Giant rambles through the streets, transfixing audiences for 72 hours of free entertainmentYoung and old will rub shoulders as they follow the Giant’s progress on its epic three day journey.

Already more than 18 million spectators have been moved by the universal sagas of the Giant’s stories and the ‘Limerick Story’ will soon be part of this international saga and make a mark on the collective memory of the city for future generations.

This project is partnering with local cultural organisations, local artists, technical crews and other Irish suppliers & supporters to realise this inspiring vision of Royal De Luxe.

Find out more at and the MAP of the Giant Granny’s path is here.

The first time we stayed at One Pery Square 3 years ago, I wrote this post. I’ll have one from our 2014 stay soon.

See what’s on at Limerick City of Culture 2014 

 Have fun in Limerick City!


Pimms at Afternoon Tea, one Pery Square

Pimms at Afternoon Tea, One Pery Square

Cabin Fever Music FestivalGet outta the house!

Lots on this weekend, including Cabin Fever– the music event, not you being bored at home 😉

I’ve been sent  a few notices of what’s on for the 4th July weekend in Ireland, so I’m passing the news on to you. Terry & I have my birthday-month weekend away booked for our fav boutique hotel, One Pery Square in Limerick, & we’ll be checking out:

4th Of July Limerick

Fri 4th- Sun 6th, with:

4th July Launch Party     American Race Day     Family Picnic
Night At The Dogs      American Roller Party

As an ex-pat American myself, this will be kinda special fun, and as the owners of 4 rescued dogs, we are looking forward to seeing the Rescued category in the fundraising Dog Show at Saturday’s Picnic. Click the 4th of July Limerick to get more info on all the events.

Limerick is Ireland’s City of Culture 2014, and there’s plenty on all year during that. There are 3 Limerick events on the weekend of 4-6 July I’d like to mention:

Eva International, Ireland’s Biennal

Limerick Dog show

This is the last weekend of EVA, Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art. Get to Limerick to see it in the various venues (not all galleries,) around town– Sunday is the last day!

“Every two years EVA International works with guest curators to create a 12-week programme of exhibitions and events that engage with the people and city of Limerick, Ireland. Since its foundation in 1977, EVA International (formerly e v+ a) has worked with some of the world’s leading artists and curators, bringing outstanding exhibitions to audiences on the west coast of Ireland.” via EVA

Find out more on EVA’s website, where you can also download the Exhibition Guide.

Also in Limerick this weekend, starting Thurs 3 July is:

Limerick, Make a Move festival, Saturday events

Limerick, Make a Move festival, Saturday events

Make a Move Festival

3-6 July 2014

Music, street art, theatre, discussion, workshops & more, there’s bound to be something that will catch your eye. Loving the sound of the Paint Parade on Saturday! Check out the full programme here.

Friends, it’s all happening in Limerick! (Ok not all, but lots!) Here’s another super cool set of events on this weekend & beyond:

Draw Out

“Draw Out is an urban regeneration initiative that uses the most contemporary examples of Urban Art to reinvent space. Draw Out works in partnership with Limerick city council to select derelict sites across the city within prime locations.” via Limerick City of Culture

Draw Out urban artists will begin arriving in Limerick from the 2nd of July, and create work at undisclosed locations, as well as being part of the Paint Parade. I reckon looking around for ‘Limerick’ tweets on Twitter will tip you off to when & where the newest artworks appear.Find out more on the artists & other Draw Out projects here.

If you’re on the Eastern side of the country, then here are 2 for you:

Cabin Fever Music Event

Saturday 5th July, from 3pm

Bands including Big September, Red Empire, Hogan, Ruaile Buaile, V3 and Darragh Cullen. 

This is a new event! I received an email with the scoop:

“The event is called Cabin Fever as the clubhouse is made from Canadian logs which were built “jigsaw like” in Canada, taken down, numbered and put back together in Carbury! The unique aspect of our venue is that it is set within the walled tennis courts, with decking and bars alongside the venue. There is onsite parking facilities, and proximity to Dublin is only 40 mins!! “

Sounds like a good setting– bars & no mud! Find out more on Cabin Fever here.

There’s another fun 4th of July type celebration on in the sunny southeast: 4th July, Limerick Festival

Irish America Day

There’s a packed programme of events for Ireland’s official July 4 celebrations on Friday in New Ross, Co. Wexford. Irish America day promises to be an exciting weekend for all the family to celebrate the U.S holiday in style with events continuing throughout the weekend.

Friday , 4 July

Keeping in line with US traditions whereby the Declaration is read from the ‘Old State House’ in Boston, there will be a reading of the ‘Declaration of Independence’ by the ‘Town Crier’ at The Tholsel at noon.

From noon to 6pm:

Arts and Crafts and a Picnic on the Quayside. Live entertainment along the Quay with a fantastic line up of local bands at the JFK Memorial Statue. Members of Wexford Food Family food producers will create a vibrant Quayside market all weekend. The Dunbrody Famine Ship will host a series of Boston Tea Party Reenactments and American Tea Parties will take place throughout the day at participating businesses across New Ross.


Friday’s celebrations will come to a close with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Barrow.

Saturday, 5 July

Joining in the festivities will be Hook Lighthouse who will host the Waterford Wolves American Football Club, as well as all day barbeques, family fun and events.

New Ross host the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in the Town Park, followed by a Pipe Band parade through the town at 6pm. Take in some Al Fresco Dining at South Street plus the Dunbrody Strongman Competition will take place at the town park on Saturday afternoon.

Evan Walsh age 7 , Lilly Kehoe age 1 and Tadhg Carroll age 8 took to the streets of New Ross today (Monday, June 30th) to celebrate the towns U.S. links ahead of Ireland’s official fourth of July celebrations set to take place in the county Wexford town this weekend. Picture: Patrick Browne.

Evan Walsh age 7 , Lilly Kehoe age 1 and Tadhg Carroll age 8 took to the streets of New Ross today (Monday, June 30th) to celebrate the towns U.S. links ahead of Ireland’s official fourth of July celebrations set to take place in the county Wexford town this weekend. Picture: Patrick Browne.

Sunday, 6 July

Busker’s Sunday promises to be an eclectic finale to the celebrations with a variety of musicians lining the town’s streets, adding to the festival atmosphere. A Pirate Festival Day will take place at Hook Lighthouse and Al Fresco dining with members of the Wexford Food Family will take place on the Quayside along with Arts and Crafts.

For further festival details check out

Have a great 4th of July weekend in Ireland 😀

Culture & Chips Limerick 1920s spiegel tent

How cool is the Culture & Chips Limerick spiegel tent from the 1920s

Quirky, foodie fun with a vintage flair? You’ll want to be there!

Culture & Chips is a unique food carnival taking place this June bank holiday in Limerick city centre– in a specially transported 1920’s Spiegeltent!

We’re big fans of Limerick City since our first visit 2 years ago, and now with the city being Ireland’s City of Culture 2014, even more exciting things are happening in Limerick. Check out Culture & Chips!

Of course the Irish are famous for their love of the potato, but most ALL of you international folk love to scoff some  good chips/ French fries /potato wedges / frites! So come feast on some world-class chips with other tummy-delights & cultural enjoyments from 29 May to 2 June, 2014. If you’re not lucky enough to be local, add a trip to Limerick to your  Ireland vacation or staycation!

Culture and Chips in Limerick

Your tummy & mind will both enjoy Culture and Chips in Limerick

Curly or thick-cut, wedged or crinkled, made traditionally from potatoes but so often from many other vegetables now too, it is high time we celebrate the chip!

Limerick has decided to do just that! An authentic specially transported 1920’s Spiegeltent will be erected in Arthur’s Quay Park for the duration of what promises to be one of the best weekends of the year.


What’s On:


The Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow will be resident in the tent on Thursday, 29th May.
Friday, 30th May 30th The Culture & Chips Spiegeltent will host a Culinary Carnival banquet on the evening. Pull on your best bib and tucker as chef Paul Williams of Canteen serves up a menu of locally sourced produce from the region featuring matching wines and craft beers.

Saturday, 31st May sees the World Chip Championship taking place to find the best-tasting chip on the planet! This will be an open contest to all cooks with a passion for the frite, each hoping to cut the mustard and take home the inaugural title.

Saturday morning will see children’s theatre take over the Spiegeltent.

‘Pommes in the Park’ on the Saturday promises to delight with a fantastical evening of cabaret and chips.
Sunday morning promises a breakfast with a difference!

Jack L will bring his special brand of entertainment to the Spiegeltent on Sunday, 1st June
The weekend winds down on Monday afternoon courtesy of Salon du Chat to the sounds of the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra

At the time of writing, it seems the best place to keep up with what is happening with Culture & Chips is on their Facebook page. You can also check their website but it isn’t really active as of yet (25 March)

Some Tips for Limerick

When you are visiting Limerick, don’t miss the newly refurbished King John’s Castle– especially if you have children. We loved it even without kids- do go check it out. (They also have family ticket prices)

Also, if you’ve been on a Limerick Walking Tour with Declan, the Limerick Guide– which we’ve done & really enjoyed, you’ll get a discount into King John’s Castle.

The Hunt Museum is full of interesting finds & treasures from Neolithic times to the 20th  century, and the cafe there has tasty food that is reasonably priced- not always so in visitor attractions.

And of course, check out what’s on at Limerick City of Culture 2014! And if you enjoy food don’t miss the Saturday food stalls at the Milk Market.

If you’d like to spoil yourself, stay over or just have dinner at One Pery Square in Limerick’s Georgian quarter. A trip here has been my birthday treat for the past two years. We love everything about it.

Go get yourself some Culture, and Chips, in Limerick 😀


Riverdance is coming! 20th anniversary show at Limerick City of Culture 2014

Riverdance is coming! 20th anniversary show at Limerick City of Culture 2014 Pic Sean Curtin Photo


The Limerick and Belfast shows are sold out! Check my newest post for dates still available elsewhere, and that fab Riverdance inspired ice skating video 🙂

 Riverdance !

20th Anniversary show launches in Limerick City of Culture 

Six-show run in UL Sport Arena will kick-start Riverdance 20th Anniversary World Tour

 Riverdance holds many wonderful memories for people all around the world, and yes, I’m one of them. I wouldn’t really have been a big fan of Irish dance, but when I saw Riverdance all those years ago the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Yep. Can’t really explain it, but, yep. Yes. Now that Riverdance is returning with a 20th anniversary show, you should go see it. Especially when it opens in Ireland’s City of Culture, Limerick 2014. Terry & I have become big fans of Limerick, and we go there each year for my birthday– so lookit, if that’s not an endorsement, what is? I hope we’ll see you there– I plan to be in Limerick lots in 2014– just look at what’s on; and they are still adding more!

So, back to the 20th anniversary show of Riverdance; here’s what the show’s originators had to say.

PS I reckon you’ll want to book your ticket quickly, the show is going to be very popular.

 Riverdance composer Bill Whelan said that the Riverdance ‘homecoming’ in Limerick next January is a lifelong dream fulfilled. 

Composed by Bill Whelan,  produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, the global phenomenon Riverdancewill be the flagship January event for the year-long Limerick National City of Culture 2014 celebrations as it makes its long awaited debut in Whelan’s home city on Thursday, January 16th for a six-show stint, including two matinees, through to Sunday, January 19th.  It will then move on to nine other European countries in the first half of next year.

Riverdance is coming! 20th anniversary show at Limerick City of Culture 2014

Riverdance! Pic Sean Curtin Photo

The captivating show, which exploded onto the world’s consciousness as the seven minute interval performance at the 1994 Eurovision in Dublin, will be staged in the UL Sport Arena, which will be specially adapted for the performances as it is turned into a 2,500 seat venue.  Tickets for the shows are on sale through the UL Box Office, tel 061 331549 or

Speaking in at the headquarters of Limerick National City of Culture 2014, just yards from where he grew up, the composer of the world’s most successful ever dance show said,

“When I was growing up in Limerick I used to dream about making music my life. I could never have imagined that one day I would be bringing a show which had spent 20 years touring the world back to my own birthplace.

“To do so as a celebration of Limerick as the 2014 National City of Culture has made that dream even more special. I am delighted to see Riverdance finally on stage on the banks of the Shannon and I am so proud as a Limerick man to have been part of its creation.”

Riverdance Composer Bill Whelan and producer by Moya Doherty  Riverdance limerick City of Culture 2014

Riverdance Composer Bill Whelan and producer by Moya Doherty Photo Sean Curtin

Whelan was joined at the event by Riverdance producer Moya Doherty, who said that Limerick would be an appropriate stage from which to launch the milestone world tour.

It’s very fitting that we start our 20th anniversary celebrations for Riverdance in Limerick, the home of our composer Bill Whelan.  When Bill and I started to work on the Eurovision interval act in 1994 little did either of us think that 20 years later, not only would Riverdance have grown into a world-wide phenomenon that has been seen by over 23 million people, but that we would be mounting a 6 show run in a specially created 2,500 seater theatre in Bill’s hometown!

“There’s a nice symbolism to having this anniversary tour begin on the banks of the Shannon.  It has long been my desire to bring Riverdance here but it is only now, for Limerick’s year as National City of Culture, that it has been possible to mount such a large scale production in the sports arena at UL.”

For more on Riverdance, see


‘…the original…The Best’   The Irish Times

‘One of the most entertaining shows you will ever see’  Evening Herald

‘Dance does not often get so good’    The Guardian

‘A phenomenon of historic proportions’ – The Washington Post

The sort of spectacle and experience that comes once in a lifetime’ – The Holywood Reporter


Limerick City of Culture 2014

Limerick City of Culture 2014 launch- from fashion to trad & loads more!

Exciting things are happening in Ireland’s West for 2014, and this photo post is a wee taster for you; a preview of two fantastic new additions to Ireland’s many temptations: Limerick City of Culture 2014 and the Wild Atlantic Way.

I say temptations because I find that every time I look at my twitter feed I see another Irish event, activity, place to eat, artist or craftsperson, museum, special place to stay or place of natural beauty that I want to visit and tell you about.

Lahinch, Wild atlantic way ireland

Surfers coming in for lunch on along the Wild Atlantic Way, Lahinch strand, Co. Clare.







As well as the upcoming events of music, art, dance, history, fashion, food, sport, literature & more, another thing special about visiting Limerick during the City of Culture is that in just around an hour you can be in the Burren & on county Clare’s stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way. If you enjoy both culture & the outdoors, this combination really is the best of both worlds.

With this in mind, when I was in Limerick for the 2014 launch I stayed in ‘Ireland’s friendliest town,Ennis Co. Clare– which is right in the middle of  both the Burren & Limerick. As I live in Kilkenny, & Kilkenny City was voted by Conde Nast the 9th most friendly city in the world, I had high standards for Ennis! I wasn’t disappointed though, and as I wandered the town I was greeted in the shops and got friendly service/chat everywhere– from the petrol station to the interesting Clare museum.

Ennis has a lovely buzz about it, with cute shops & people saying hello to each other on the streets. There seems a good community spirit, and this weekend the Ennis Trad Fest is on. There’s also a free Ennis app you can get for your phone! I think you’ll enjoy Ennis. I stayed as a guest in one of the private rooms at Rowan Tree Hostel, and below is the photo I took from my balcony- nice isn’t it!

River Fergus from Rowan tree Hostel ennis Ireland

The river Fergus in Ennis. The view from Rowan Tree Hostel- great value, friendly staff- I’ll be back!

Just a scenic half hour’s drive away is the Burren and the Wild Atlantic Way running along its western edge.  The day I went was misty, grey & windy, and after spending time being buffeted by that wind on  surfers’ favorite Lahinch Strand I headed to the market town of Ennistymon. There the cozy Guru Teahouse is a nice spot for lunch &  one of their 100s of special tea blends. I could feel a head cold starting on my trip, and I got helpful advice in Guru tearoom on choosing a tea to help combat it. The tea was was delicious- spicy and fruity; it didn’t taste healthy at all 😉 A stop here can warm your  body & heart.

Guru Teahouse was perfect before my next adventure: a decent deep into the Burren’s still-close-to wild Doolin Cave! I’m saving the cave details & photos for another post, but let me say I loved it! They’ll be open again in Spring, so consider a visit when you are travelling the Burren & the Wild Atlantic Way.

Burren cows wild atlantic way ireland

Cows are healthy & hardy on the Burren’s Wild Atlantic Way. These were exploring just across from the sea



You may know that even though visitors to Ireland are increasing again, for the more rural places there is a catch-22 situation with some attractions & accommodations in the low seasons. I experienced it myself during this trip; places like Ennis Friary, the Burren Perfumery, and even the Burren Centre weren’t open because visitor numbers are too low this time of year. (As well as due to cuts in government money for the Heritage centres, etc.)

But, when I went by the Burren centre there were 2 tourists wanting to get in. If tourists can’t get in, they’ll often tell others not tot bother to go to the area– the catch 22…. so please check beforehand that the places you’d like to visit will be open, and if they aren’t, maybe let them/tourism board/Irish government rep know you would have liked to have gone…. it can’t hurt.

This awkward situation is another reason why you may enjoy having the balance between Limerick City, the Clare towns, and the Wild Atlantic Way– there is plenty of buzz and things to see & do, but also there are wide open wild spaces where you’ll not see a soul. The best of both worlds, any time of year. 

Limerick City odf Culture 2014

There was some impressive street dancing at the launch of Limerick City of Culture 2014

limerick city ireland

Yikes! Turn the corner into this Limerick City side street and you may get this fright!

Clare, Wild Atlantic Way ireland

The evening light falls onto the water, Clare, Wild Atlantic Way. Not a soul around


Wild solitude.Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren

Wild solitude.Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren

Evening on the sand dunes, Fanore strand. No one else around. Wild atlantic Way

Evening on the sand dunes, Fanore strand. Wild Atlantic Way

Back to civilization-- a lovely glass of wine in a beautiful dining room at Rowan Tree cafe in Ennis

Back to civilization– a lovely glass of wine in a beautiful dining room at Rowan Tree cafe in Ennis

After a day out in the Burren’s Atlantic elements, it is extra enjoyable to relax with a glass of something gorgeous. Even better is to also have a wonderful meal served to you in a lovely Georgian dining room with a fire going–and yet be only a few steps away from your room! This is the case at Rowan Tree Hostel- the Rowan Tree Cafe is right next door. You may even want to take a photo & tweet it, like I did– free wi-fi means your trip back into modern civilization is complete 😉

Ahh, did I say the best of both worlds? Yes? Well,I’ll say it again- perfect!


For the Limerick City of Culture 2014 website, click. PS: even though there are lots already listed, not all events are listed yet!

 In Limerick City, treat yourself to fantastic place to stay at One Pery Square– one of our favorites anywhere!

Click for more about the Wild Atlantic Way on

Disclosure: My opinions are always honest, even when I’m a guest or sponsored on/by something, as you will know from my Paddywagon post.  I was a guest of Rowan Tree Hostel and of Doolin cave. I also had 1 dinner voucher for Rowan Tree Cafe, but I actually ate there twice as I enjoyed it so. I’ll be doing review posts on these places soon. 

light floods in to the beautiful Vanderkiste room
Absolute Bliss!
If you are looking to treat yourself, Limerick’s Georgian quarter gem at One Pery Square is a great choice! Maybe you hadn’t thought about visiting Limerick, but we found that Limerick City was a good base for exploring the West, and is an interesting place in its own right. (As rural folk, we tend to stay in cities on hols- just for the change.) For my birthday we splurged & booked the 2 night Gourmet Getaway package (great value, you get so much!) and every minute of it was wonderful. We took one of the period rooms, the Vanderkiste, which I highly recommend. Staying in such a gorgeous Georgian house it seemed to make sense to pay that little bit extra to stay in one of the period rooms, and it was so worth it!
(Tip: as One Pery Square is a listed building there are only stairs to the period rooms.)

Out to the garden terrace, or up the stairs to the period rooms

The room was spacious and beautiful, looked out onto the park, & the bed was incredibly comfy. The roll top slipper bath was inviting, & the excellent shower was large and very powerful. We also loved the peppermint & lavender bath items- natural smelling; not cloying or fake-y. Everything was, of course, scrupulously clean.

The Vanderkiste room, a few of the Drawing room & bar; 1 Pery Square

Dinner, wine, and after dinner port was included in our package, and we enjoyed every single bite and sip in the lovely dining room. From starter to dessert the food at Pery’s Brasserie One was full of fantastic flavour, interesting, and cooked perfectly. The service was superb, never hovering, but always there just as you may need it- attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, we both agreed that ALL the staff at One Pery Square were incredibly welcoming and helpful.– the whole team was excellent; genuine and warm. Juan in particular was so helpful at dinner, and assisted my husband the next day at Pery’s Wine Shop, picking out some delicious bottles to take home.

Wines from Pery’s Wine Shop
Gleaming Clean!
Hubby & I also had the funny experience of coming out of the respective restaurant toilets, looking at each other & hesitantly saying: ”Was that the cleanest restroom you have ever seen??” I’m not exaggerating- on the night we were there you could have eaten your dinner there– it GLEAMED! (and, no, we hadn’t drank more than a glass of wine yet!) 5 stars for cleanliness, and an extra 6th star because it was so shiny clean 🙂

We also had breakfasts included in our package, and once again everything was tasty and service was good. The menu isn’t massively extensive like Hayfield Manor’s but we had no complaints. I loved the honeycomb with my porridge. (see photo)

Brasserie 1 breakfast & dinner, 1 Pery Square


Bar, & Terrace Patio
One evening we had a drink on the garden terrace, which was a nice little oasis of herbs & plants- very inviting on a mild evening. The next evening was cooler so we had a few drinks in the bar- a cosy spot. Terry had a very tasty pint of Guinness, & I had a lovely French Martini- recommended by Juan as I wasn’t sure what I felt like having. We had great chat with Niamh, who was working the bar and connected reception; another example of the excellent staff– we really felt as if we were guests in her home, not that she was there because it was her job. Wonderful! I think that this is what a small boutique hotel is about- not just stylish rooms and good food, but a genuine, person to person experience.
Also as part of the package we had use of the thermal suites in the spa. Oh, it was bliss! If I’d realized how beautiful and relaxing this would be we’d have gone loads of times instead of just the day we were leaving. Don’t make that mistake! The spa is just gorgeous- candlelit, stone walls, lots of treatments could happily spend ages in it. My absolute favourite of the different thermal rooms on offer was the ‘herbal cocoon,’ which has a dryer type of heat, and the most gorgeous amber-ish aroma. The showers were once again powerful and enjoyable, and we had a nice chat with lovely Tracy on reception as she showed us what else was available.
Tip: if you are a couple check out the couple packages the Spa have- they are very tempting!

The garden & terrace- perfect for a nice g&t!


We’ve Found Our Favourite Place To Stay In Ireland!
We fell in love with 1 Pery Square, and recommend it highly. We felt the package we got was quite good value, and that staying in a period room was definitely the way to get the full joy of the place. (Oh, & also there is a lovely drawing room to chill out in- I forgot to mention that!) Additionally, from Pery Square you can easily walk into the the main part of town (abt 10 minutes.) As well as the park, the Limerick Art Gallery is just across the street, & has lovely fresh cakes & more in its cafe, too. We’ll be keeping an eye out for 1 Pery Square’s package deals, and hope to return to this fabulous, welcoming, boutique hotel.