From planting bulbs to browsing museum exhibitions and from poetry to patisserie and new perfumes, here’s what’s new and happening now …
Time to visit Kilkenny
One of the most interesting press releases I received this week was about the results of a survey on the most luxurious cities in the world. No surprise Paris tops the list, but Kilkenny was nominated seventh (just after Cannes) because of its numerous luxury venues. Start a visit with brunch at the Aran Artisan Bakery and Bistro (recently named Ireland’s Best Brunch) before wandering the city’s Medieval Mile from the castle to St Canice’s Cathedral and then book in for afternoon tea at Butler House – its Orangerie offers lovely views, or visit Cake Face Patisserie for some Parisian-style treats. There are lots of interesting tours including (my favourite) the Kilkenny Cat Walk Trail – think 21 cat sculptures decorated by artists which are in and around the city. Finish the day at Sullivan’s Taproom and Brewery if you fancy a casual pint and pizza, or book into the stylish Mount Juliet, which is offering an “Autumn Dreams” escape from €343 per night in either the luxurious Manor House or Hunter’s Yard. Dinner is included in either the Lady Helen or The Hound restaurant and a memorable breakfast the next morning is promised; www.visitkilkenny.ie.
Lusting after some Italian jewellery
Adam’s upcoming auction of “Fine Jewellery and Watches” takes place at their St Stephen’s Green sale rooms on Tuesday, September 14 at 6pm. Comprising some 202 lots, the sale has been curated by Claire Mestrallet, Head of Jewellery at Adam’s and offers a great selection of both contemporary, retro and period jewellery pieces. Among the lots are pieces from the private collection of an aristocratic Italian lady. Anyone who loves Bulgari should have a look at this collection which includes a rare retro sapphire and diamond “Tubogas” bracelet by Bulgari, from the 1940s (pictured). Viewing begins today, Friday, September 10 until Tuesday, September 14, from 10am – 5pm. For further information visit www.adams.ie.
Visit a museum
A special programme of events will take place in museums this weekend, September 11 – 12, to encourage visitors back into museums. The initiative, called “Museums Now”, is a collaboration between the Irish Museums Association and the NI Museums Council which jointly represent more than 200 museums and collection-based organisations across the island of Ireland. Having been closed to visitors for many months, many of Ireland’s museums have once again opened their doors to the public, and are offering a range of exciting and safe experiences from free entry to special free-flow tours exploring “hidden histories”. With almost 250 museums across the island, specialising in everything from art to zoology, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Pictured is the sculptures from the current exhibition “Recasting Canova” happening at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; www.irishmuseums.org/MuseumsNow.
Plant some bulbs
To celebrate 35 years of Gaisce – The President’s Award, the organisation is encouraging people across the country regardless of age, location or size of back garden to take up their own Gaisce challenge this autumn and plant pollinator-friendly bulbs to protect bees. If planted now, the bulbs will bloom in spring. The #BulbsForBees campaign is supported by President Michael D Higgins and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan which has worked with Gaisce to undertake the largest ever pollination project in Ireland. There’s no excuse not to pick up some bulbs on your weekend shop. Over 250,000 bulbs are currently on sale in 160 Lidl stores where you’ll find Allium bulbs for €2.99 and pollinator friendly flower bulbs for €1.99, both at special discounted rates. For more information visit: www.gaisce.ie/bulbsforbees/.
Participate in Poetry Town
Poetry will be the beating heart of community life in 20 “Poetry Towns” across Ireland from Adare to Wexford this weekend. Indeed a Poet Laureate has been appointed for each participating town and the laureates will be presenting poems they have created for the occasion. Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell explains: “Over the past 18 months, many of us have become more aware of what’s around us – from local parks or nature walks, to landmarks and monuments, to the stories held within the collective memory of our communities. There is poetry waiting to be uncovered in our surroundings and our everyday lives. We hope Poetry Town will play a significant role in helping to ensure Ireland’s diverse and talented voices are heard and seen. We will give voice and visibility to well-known visionary poets and – importantly – to new powerful voices, broadening and diversifying the understanding of what a Poet Laureate looks like.” To find out more about this event visit www.poetrytown.ie and to discover some new anthologies see this post.
Take a flower arranging course
The Crate is launching a flower arranging workshop on September 16 at its new Dublin-based flower studio. Claire and Steph, the dynamic young founders of The Crate (pictured), will share their approach to freestyle floral design, discuss seasonal flowers, share tips and tricks and ensure an evening of collective enjoyment. The price (€80) includes tuition, seasonal flowers, vase and refreshments. The Crate also has a new dried Autumn Bunch, €40, or Wreath, €60, in russets, chestnut reds with soft wild grasses, pampas and birch which are available for delivery nationwide; www.thecrate.ie.
Try a new menu
Winedown on Montagues Street in Dublin 2, opened in December 2020, a bold move in the height of the pandemic. Since then it has ridden the wave of restrictions and re-openings, pivoting the business at each stage to provide quirky take-away options and accommodate outdoor dining. Now it’s welcoming diners to try a fresh new seasonal menu created by its owner Maeve O’Malley. This menu is perfect for post-work rendezvous and is all about elegant tapas-style small plates, sharing plates, nice cheeses and delicious wine pairings. The small plates cover a multitude of tastes and preferences with options From the Sea, From the Land and From the Ground. To share, the Chef’s Selection Charcuterie Board (€17.50) is a hit alongside the Cheese Board (€15) with cheeses including Schnebelhorn, St Agur Blue, 17-month aged Comte with truffle honey, St Tola Ash Log and Delice de Bourgogne. Taking inspiration from the cult favourite toasties of its sister restaurant Meltdown, the Toastie Croquettes (€12) are not to be missed with a selection of Mac Mama, Smoked Fungi and Spicy Cajun. Winedown, Montague Street is open Tuesday – Saturday from 5pm-11.30pm with last orders for food at 9pm; www.meltdown.ie.
Upgrade your perfume
With cooler days, transitioning from summer clothes to a more layered look should be mirrored in perfume choices. Just launched is Chloé’s Eau de Parfum Naturelle, a modern woody rose which has been developed with ethically sourced ingredients and lower impact packaging. Created by perfumer Michel Almairac, in addition to Bulgarian rose, the formula contains ethically sourced neroli, rose, cedarwood and citron from sustainable plantations in Morocco and Italy. I’ve been fortunate to have a preview of the scent which has got notes of blackcurrant which I love. Look out for the new campaign starring actress Lucy Boynton. Available from September 12, Chloé’s Eau de Parfum Naturelle, €105 is available in chemists and stores nationwide including www.arnotts.ie.
Take in Cork from a new vantage point
After months of planning and investment, The Glasshouse at The Montenotte Hotel, Cork has just been unveiled. This rooftop bar and terrace fits seamlessly with the design-led, eclectic vibe of the hotel (built within the former 18th-century residence of a merchant prince). Guests can expect to be wowed by the botanical-themed interiors and the antique brass and blue-tiled cocktail bar which takes centre stage, and is surrounded by booth seating. Why not pop in for a cocktail or book the limited edition “Sunset Breakaway Package”. From €295 per stay, the package includes one night bed and breakfast for two adults, with a reserved table at The Glasshouse on arrival where guests will enjoy “The Royale Rose” cocktail made with Montenotte gin, fresh strawberries and prosecco. The package also includes a two-course lunch at the Panorama Bistro either on arrival or departure day; www.themontenottehotel.com.
Visit Droichead Arts Centre
“Solo: Home from Home” curated by Irish songwriter and musician SJ McArdle, is an intimate concert series at Droichead Arts Centre, taking place over four Saturdays in September. Each week’s show will feature two artists. The award-winning folk singer Aoife Scott and poet/spoken word artist Dagogo Hart are performing on September 11. Next week, September 18, sees singer/songwriter Mark Geary and Indie rock and folk artist Seanie Vaughan take to the stage. Closing the series will be composer/pianist Michael Holohan and ambient neoclassical pianist/composer Úna Keane: www.droichead.com. While in Drogheda do take in artist Abigail O’Brien’s exhibition “Justice – Never Enough” (pictured) at Highlanes gallery; www.highlanes.ie.
Take a gluten-free cookery course
Pastry chef Tara Gartlan, of Michelin-star restaurant Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen will lead a six-week “from scratch” gluten free baking course starting on October 3. When studying Culinary Arts at DIT Cathal Brugha Street, Tara focused on pastry and nutrition. She was diagnosed with Coeliac disease in 2013 while studying and working as a pastry chef. She explains, “I will be sharing all the tricks and improvisations I’ve come up with over the years for creating restaurant-quality desserts. While the main theme of the course is gluten-free cooking, these recipes will appeal to anyone with an interest in baking and pastry, not just coeliacs.” The course will be broken up over six weeks with each episode lasting two hours from 2.30 – 4.30pm each Sunday with all non-perishable ingredients being supplied for each course. Prices for the course start at €70 per week for six weeks, bookings can be made now on www.thechefsupperclub.com.
And … Book some Opera tickets
The 70th anniversary of Wexford Festival Opera takes place from October 19 – 30, when live audiences will be welcomed back to the National Opera House. Over 50 events are planned from the main stage operas to concerts, pop-up events and lectures. Earlier this year WFO put a small number of tickets on sale which had sold out rapidly. Following the Government announcement that indoor venues can increase capacity, Wexford Festival Opera has announced that additional tickets will go on sale from Monday, September 13 via www.wexfordopera.com.
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