The much anticipated return of Design Pop to Cork city takes place this weekend from August 27 – 29, celebrating architecture, design and food. Part of this year’s line-up is the (free) “Milking Stool Project” exhibition showcasing the diverse talent of Irish furniture designers. Traditionally milking stools were carved from elmwood with legs of ash wood. Most were three-legged so that the milkmaid could lean forward into the cow without toppling over. On uneven ground, three legs are more stable than four.
Translated to Design Pop, designers (including Sara Murphy, Colin Harris, Brian Tyrell, Rory Drinan, Warren Hayes and many more) were asked to create a stool from one piece of hardwood timber. The stools form the exhibition that is displayed in the secret garden in Nano Nagle Place, Cork from 12 noon – 3.30pm, from Friday – Sunday. The furniture pieces will be sold during the festival. For a full programme of exhibitions and events visit: www.designpop.ie/exhibitions-shop
Galway International Arts Festival 2021 opens in spectacular fashion this Saturday, August 28, with the unveiling of “Mirror Pavilion” by John Gerrard – one of several intriguing visual arts events and exhibitions which will be part of the festival. “Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work” – the centrepiece of the Festival – is a response to the escalating climate crisis and is a striking three-sided structure with the roof clad in reflective mirror. The artwork is powered by sustainable energy sources and can be found in the historic Derrigimlagh Bog, Connemara (also the transmission site for the first transatlantic radio signal from the Marconi station in 1907 and the landing place for Alcock and Brown’s first transatlantic plane crossing in 1919). The Pavilion will be in situ at Derrigimlagh Bog until September 18 (from 9am – 9pm). For the full programme of theatre, music and visual arts events, visit www.giaf.ie
Few of us need a reason to savour a nice bottle of wine, but if you do, it’s National Red Wine Day on August 28. Aldi’s wine expert Tom Doorley recommends some award-winning reds including the Specially Selected Kooliburra Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, €8.99. Doorley says its flavours of ripe blackcurrants with vanilla-scented oak and a touch of mint/eucalyptus works well with roast beef or even pizza! And if you think red wine and salads or seafood do not mix, think again. Try the crunchy, dry finish Specially Selected Chassaux et Fils Cotes du Rhone Rosé, €8.99. Finally, for something more exotic pick up Specially Selected Lebanese Red, €10.99. Lebanon has been making superb wines in the French tradition, the best known being Château Musar. Says Doorley, “This is a stunning traditional Bekaa Valley blend of Cabernet, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan, with cedarwood, rosemary, blackberry, spice. Just fabulous.” www.aldi.ie
“Better Normal” is an upbeat “concept concert” based on skiffle music (which is influenced by blues, jazz and American folk music) being filmed in O’Reilly Theatre, Belvedere Colleage and available to stream at home from August 27. With a cast of 21 singers and a five-piece skiffle band augmented by a New Orleans-style brass ensemble and a ten-piece gospel choir, Eleanor McEvoy, Jess Kavanagh and Pauline Scanlon (pictured) will perform original skiffle songs from the 1900s and some new ones commissioned for the show written by Eleanor, Paul Brady, Derek Ryan and Dave Rotheray (ex-Beautiful South).
The songs celebrate everything from working from home to friendship, community, love, life and music. As for the title, it poses the idea – rather than wanting to go back to normal, wouldn’t be great if we moved to a Better Normal? Tickets are available from www.ticketco.events
Are you looking for inspiration for a late getaway? I recommend Screebe House, an elegant Victorian home restored by the Burkart family, which is tucked away in the idyllic surrounds of Camus Bay, Connemara. Screebe, (from the Irish word “scribe” meaning destination), combines comfort, cuisine and curative treatments. Adjacent to the house is a modern Spa Lodge which features a saltwater indoor swimming pool, a large sauna flooded with natural light and panoramic views, a fitness area, seaweed baths and an outdoor hot tub. Guests are encouraged to jump off the nearby pier into the Atlantic followed by a warm sauna and a soak in the outdoor hot tub. As for the fine dining menu – it’s been curated by head chef Max Schindler whose innovative dishes feature fresh fish caught on one of Screebe’s lakes or venison from the land. Enjoy a two-night “Mid-week Escape” from €798 for two adults sharing. This includes a la carte breakfast, a three-course dinner on one night, and an Irish cheese board with a glass of wine on a night of your choice. Available from September 1 – October 25; www.screebe.com
If you are doing some shopping at Kildare Village (do pop into the new Pinko boutique) and want to try somewhere different to dine, the new Saba restaurant opens this weekend. The restaurant will seat 130 guests indoors, with a sunny outdoor terrace for 45 guests. There’s also private dining facilities too. The new Saba restaurant will open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a “Thai on the fly” take out menu with wine and cocktails to go. I recommend the Prawn Grapefruit Mieng Kam which is steamed tiger prawns with shredded roasted coconut, cashew
nuts, ginger, shallots, lime, and birds eye chillis with shrimp paste, fish sauce and a palm sugar sauce. Yum! www.sabadublin.com
The Saltwater Grocery (97 Terenure Road East, Dublin 6) has created a new programme of evening events on the theme of iconic foods and pairings, starting with “The Return of the Native” (coincidentally my favourite Thomas Hardy novel). This is all about native oysters – how best to prepare them and pair them with Le Caveau wines. With two sittings per night at 7pm and 9pm, over three nights, guests will enjoy an oyster shucking masterclass with wine pairings and tapas. Future events in the series will include: Blue Fin Tuna Night with tuna cutting by a sushi master and pairings with sake, as well as a Jamon and Sherry Night featuring a six-year aged Bellotta and the best of Spanish Sherry. To book visit @saltwatergrocery
Just landed at Boots Ireland is Skin Proud – a vegan and cruelty-free skincare range which combines science-led ingredients with natural extracts. Though originally created for millennials (it launched on Asos in 2020) I’ve been fortunate to trial some of the products which smell divine and feel light and fresh. Particular favourites include the Refresher Hydrating Face Mist with rose water for a 4pm pick-me-up al desko. In the evening, I’ve felt the benefit of using the Sleep Hero Overnight Sleep Mask with niacinamide. This also contains cranberry seed oil and raspberry extract so smells like a particularly posh yoghurt. In the mornings, the Sorbet Skin with hyaluronic acid complex is a deceptively simple moisturiser to restore, revitalise and renew. The products won’t break the bank and are a perfect payday treat. Prices start at €8 (no, that is not a typo!); www.boots.ie
Good news for gourmets: Taste of Dublin 2021 returns to the Iveagh Gardens from September 1- 5 next week. Chefs including Michelin starred additions, have been added to the line-up for 2021. Jordan Bailey of two-starred Aimsir, JP McMahon of Aniar, Galway and Jess Murphy of Kai, Galway join Taste stalwarts Rachel Allen, Kevin Dundon, Aoife Noonan, Holly White (pictured) Compass Ireland ambassador Kevin Thornton and many more. Other additions include Instagram favourite cookalong hosts Eric Matthews and Trisha Lewis as well as Euro-Toques Gareth Mullins and Gráinne Mullins. Tickets priced from €20 (excluding booking fee) are on sale now, for more information or to purchase tickets go to tasteofdublin.ie
Make sure you are first in line for Ikea’s much anticipated collaboration with fashion and textile designer, Zandra Rhodes, which launches on September 1. The bold “Karismatisk” collection, named after the Swedish word for “charismatic”, channels Rhodes’ confidence and charisma via 26 bright products. Standout pieces include the iconic “Frakta” bag as well as a glamorous snake printed cushion cover, bold floral rugs, busy pre-cut fabrics, vases and statement lamp shades. With the collection, customers can mix and match; Karismatisk is all about having fun with home furnishings and letting an optimistic outlook shine in our spaces; www.ikea.ie
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