Yes, it’s getting claustrophobic indoors, but there’s still plenty going on!
Wexford Festival Opera has a new series of pop-up events called “Sunday Up” – free to view each Sunday at 5pm, starting this week on November 22. These mini gems will be devised, produced and performed by artists who took part in the inaugural Wexford Factory this autumn. The first “Sunday Up” will see Andrew Gavin, tutored and accompanied by Andrew Synnott, in “Walking on Grafton Street”, a 15-minute journey through Irish folk songs. Each Sunday a different artist will perform their 15-minute pop-up. To join in visit the Wexford Festival Opera Facebook page or YouTube channel for Sunday Up.
“Failure is a word and something we all attach such negative feelings towards, but really when you think about it, it is what we learn the most from,” so believes wellbeing coach Tony Og Regan. He is launching a six-part online programme beginning on November 23, to help people to build and maintain the positive habits to be a resilient high performer – not only in challenging periods such as this, but in the time far beyond it. The programme, which runs until December 1, will cover key areas of performance including self-identity/discovery and emotional intelligence. In the process Regan will integrate neuroscience, psychology, human behaviour analysis, and his own business and sporting experiences. Tickets via Eventbrite.
Alison Dickson’s uplifting art strikes a chord with me at the moment and she will be sharing an insight to her work on The Doorway Gallery’s Facebook page tonight at 8pm. Her paintings take inspiration from the natural world as she explains: “My rural upbringing, surrounded by the beauty of Fermanagh and helping out on the farm and the gardens, instilled in me a strong awareness of the passing of the seasons and the growing cycle. This is where I began to develop my love of painting both garden and wild flowers from the verges and hedgerows. In my still life paintings of flowers and everyday objects and I try to achieve simplicity and subtlety of line and colour, often simplifying shapes and playing with perspective. I’m also interested in creating a narrative through my work, perhaps prompting the on-looker to consider what the story might be, behind the objects on a table or the view through an open window.” www.thedoorwaygallery.com
If you are hoping to revamp your living space before Christmas then do register for the free Finished.ie Virtual Home Show, which takes place this Saturday, November 21, from 11am – 4pm and is hosted by Lorraine Keane. Whether it’s inspiration you need or free expert advice Finished.ie will showcase virtual stands where you can chat face to face virtually with a representative, take a live tour of a showroom, walk through a brochure or sample book, organise a private consultation, or order a product in real time all from the comfort of your own home. There will also be an Irish crafts area so whether you are in the market for a new kitchen or want to do some Christmas shopping and support Irish, you can do both; www.finished.ie.
So yes, we would all prefer to be strolling around a Christmas market with some mulled wine or hot chocolate, but the next best thing is the new online Christmas market co-ordinated by Kilkenny Tourism. Take a peek and you’ll find inspiration for gifts from craft makers across the country. From bespoke cut glass pieces from Jerpoint and Duiske Glass; hand-crafted pottery from Nicholas Moss gift range to jewellery, knitwear and china all under one virtual roof. An added incentive is a number of promotional offers will be run by many of the businesses over the coming weeks, including a Black Friday Blitz on November 27, where shoppers can avail of exclusive on-line discounts; www.visitkilkenny.ie.
There’s still time to nominate your healthcare hero. Organised by the medical scrubs supplier Happythreads, it is asking the public to nominate deserving recipients be they nurses, midwives, carers, doctors or those serving on the Covid-19 frontline. Three winners will be selected and they will each receive a pamper package worth over €1,250, containing €500 Ireland’s Blue Book gift voucher, an artisan food hamper, luxury Irish skincare goodies from Oxmantown, plus a €500 voucher to spend on scrubs. The competition runs until the end of November, with winners selected and notified in early December. Visit www.happythreads.ie for more information.
I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get off the sofa in the evening (it’s dark, it’s wet and there’s a good book to read!) and am aware that my immune system may be depleted as a result. That’s why I’m taking more vitamins at the moment. One such is supplement brand, Revive Active, which is lending support to Breast Cancer Ireland through the sale of 1,000 limited-edition Revive Active Immunity Support Gift Packs. Each pack contains two 30-day boxes of Revive Active super supplement and a shaker for the discounted price of €100. The normal recommended retail price is €125. All proceeds will go to the charity, which is a win win situation; ie.reviveactive.com.
More reasons to be cheerful: my colleague Sarah Halliwell tells me mad hatter Anthony Peto now has an online shop, so you can browse his fabulous creations and choose ways to keep your head both warm and wonderful this winter; www.anthonypeto.com.
Missing your favourite wine club or bar? Winelab’s First Look Club is a monthly subscription that supplies members with a mixed case of wine which includes one special bottle. This will be a wine that Winelab has identified as having potential to join the “Bottle Project”, but only First Look Club members have the privilege to try it. Additionally you have the option to join a group video meet-up with the winemaker to learn more about the wine and give feedback. You can choose to have a two, three or six bottle case delivered each month with prices starting at €40 per month; www.winelab.ie.
Have you taken up letter writing and need some new stationery? Have a look at Irish illustrator Conor Merriman’s new online store. It includes a greeting card set (€10) or postcard set (€45) as well as fashion illustrations and art prints. As an added incentive Merriman has a “Green Friday” sale which offers 20 percent off all stock; www.conormerriman.com/shop.
Coming up in December: Seamus Heaney HomePlace Marks the 25th Anniversary of Heaney’s Nobel Prize. Actors and authors will present a one-off programme of performances on Friday December 11. The occasion will include a keynote address from Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador for Ireland to the United States, Fiona Shaw will read an excerpt of Beckett’s “Happy Days”, the life and work of George Bernard Shaw will be analysed by Fintan O’Toole, who will also be part of the panel discussion on Yeats with Mark O’Connell and Emma Dabiri (pictured), titled “The Centre Cannot Hold”. This event also celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the publication of The Second Coming and is presented in conjunction with Yeats Society, Sligo. Tickets have gone on sale already priced at approx €17, for more information visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com.
Do you like browsing auctions as much as I do? I’ve been reading Adam’s Auctioneers Fine Jewellery & Watches online brochure which includes this stunning 1950s sapphire cuff by Mario Buccellati. The auction takes place on Tuesday December 8 at 4pm, and there is also an At Home online auction currently taking place; www.adams.ie.
There’s still time to bid in Gormley’s Christmas Online Irish Art Auction before the auction takes place on November 24, 7.30pm. I’ve spied this Brian Ballard painting, called “Mortar and Pestle”, which has an estimate of €450-€550; gormleysartauctions.com.
Need help with your reading list? Bookseller Dubray has launched a new gift consultancy service – its team is available by telephone or email for (free) individual consultations. Maria Dickenson, who leads the Dubray group of bookshops, comments, “We find customers particularly value help when buying children’s books and it can be so rewarding to help children along their reading journey.” Once you’ve decided on the perfect titles, books can be sent to you or directly to your recipient. Delivery is free on each parcel over €20, or you can collect your books at your local store. The service will be available until December 20. To schedule an individual consultation, visit dubraybooks.ie.
Further inspiration for bibliophiles: this year, the An Post Irish Book Awards will be going virtual with an awards ceremony online from 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 25 hosted by Evelyn O’Rourke. You can tune into at rte.ie/culture and see who the winners are of Specsavers’ Junior and Senior Irish Children’s Book of the Year categories.
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