WHAT: Julianne Brogan, owner of Blacksheep Foods and the Baa Baa Cafe in Dublin’s Chapelizod, tells me wistfully, “If time was not of the essence I would love to pack up a wicker basket full of delicious picnic ingredients, some flowers and a bottle of rosé and head to a nearby park or beach.” She certainly knows how to style and cater for any al fresco event and is offering some luxurious delivery boxes to make this dream come true for others. Her Sunday Picnic Box (€80 for two) includes organic baguettes, Wicklow brie cheese, Irish strawberries, homemade potato salad with turmeric, lemon and parsley plus tabbouleh salad with greens, feta, tomatoes and olive oil and a bottle of rosé. The picnic is beautifully presented and is part of a range of collection/delivery options – there’s also an Irish cheese charcuterie and grazing box, €55, as well as tempting cakes, breads and vegan options. www.blacksheepfoods.ie
WHY: If you’ve been watering and tending your plants, they should be at peak photographic perfection, so don’t forget to post your pictures (with the hashtag #BloomAtHome) this weekend as part of Bloom At Home festival which culminates on Sunday May 31. President Higgins will officially open the virtual event at 11am and there will be cook-ins with Neven Maguire and Donal Skehan as well as garden safaris and tours which include James Purdy’s wellbeing garden. www.bordbiabloom.com.
WHERE: Have you exhausted Netflix? Are you missing some some arty films and trips to The Pavilion Theatre Dun Laoghaire or at Irish Film Institute in Dublin? Well, put on a metaphorical black polo or a slick of red lipstick and pull up the sofa for a haunting short film, available to watch online at Kerlin Gallery. Directed by Willie Doherty, it was filmed in Derry just before lockdown began and features actor Christopher Ecclestone in the role of a solitary, unnamed man, in an empty building with bare brick walls and bare board floors. So far, so very French and existential! As the short film reveals his situation is one of enduring solitude and his story one of deceit, disguise and disgrace. It’s certainly mesmeric and chimes with Doherty’s ongoing themes of lingering, anxious views of post-conflict Northern Ireland and characters tethered to the past. www.kerlingallery.com
WHO: There hasn’t been much opportunity to dress up recently, but the charity Dress for Success Dublin, which helps women across Ireland (re)enter employment and campaigns for gender equality, is offering just that in tandem with local artist Karen Hickey. She is accepting portrait commissions throughout June (via email [email protected]) with 20 per cent of all proceeds being donated to the charity. Says Hickey, “Find a costume. Put on your finery. Whether it is big jewellery or your fanciest hat, or your most wildly patterned waistcoat, these portraits will be about having fun.” Subjects just have to email three or four photographs of themselves from the waist up for this virtual sitting, and there are three portrait packages, starting from €100 – €800, depending on size and framing. Hickey’s first portrait was of designer and entrepreneur Sonya Lennon (above), the founder of Dress for Success Dublin who says, “I’m thrilled with the outcome. Her style is just so fun and colourful – exactly what we need right now.” www.dressforsuccessdublin.org
WHAT: No, I have not yet made a sourdough starter nor written a screen play, though I did buy a new Octaevo Janus notebook (€15 at www.aprilandthebear.com) to jot down any inspiration (it’s empty so far). I am in awe of those who accepted the 600-word #TinyPlayChallenge. Initiated by Fishamble, which champions Irish writing, you can read 35 of the (250) submissions on their website. I’ve read a few and they’re very impressive with themes inevitably inspired by lockdown – from staying at a social distance as a funeral drives by, or a couple who find it hard to finish their sentences to a woman hanging a teddy bear in the window. www.fishamble.com
AND … Also out this week is Imelda May’s first poetry EP, Slip Of The Tongue, on Decca Records. For a sneak preview watch the tracks Home and Becoming on YouTube. Of the EP May says, “Slip of the Tongue is a small collection of my poems I’ve written and recorded. I constantly write. Writing pads are filled, backs of envelopes, scraps of paper are scribbled on and scattered around me in between books, trinkets and photos. Melodies swirl in my head. Footsteps become the rhythm to a song. But often words don’t feel like they need anything more than to be spoken aloud or read alone. They just feel good as they are. But I still hear music. It evokes such strong emotion. So I decided to combine my two loves. I think they dance beautifully. I hope you agree.” www.imeldamay.co.uk
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