WHERE: Firefly Bray is a new hotel which is perfect for a quick overnight break or as a base to explore the Ancient East. Have you done the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk yet or had a jaunt up to Bray Head? As the cool little sister of the seafront hotel The Martello, it is also upping the staycation game. Firefly boasts the latest in self-service check-in technology – your room key is downloaded directly to your phone. There is no on-site staff, while supporting sustainability and local are at the heart of Firefly ethos. Comfort is key, with pillow top beds, microfibre duvets, smart TVs with Netflix available too. All of the artwork in the 18 stylish rooms are created by Irish artists. As for other details, you won’t find any single use plastics in the bathrooms, while in-room Nespresso machines are stocked by local Wicklow roasters, Pure (poured through reusable pods, of course). For breakfast-to-go, One14 Coffee nearby is recommend for a morning caffeine fix, while for dinner Firefly is just a short walk away from Bray seafront and its bustling restaurant scene, including Platform Pizza, Box Burger and the Harbour Bar; www.fireflybray.ie.
WHY: Sligo is arguably the home of the oyster with the Irish word for Sligo Sligeach meaning “abounding in shells”. The new Sligo Oyster Farm Tour offers an immersive guided tour and visit to the Coney Island working oyster farm on the shores of Sligo bay, overlooked by the majestic Belbulben and Knocknarea. The tour begins with a 15-minute Wild Atlantic Way coastal walk with tour guide and owner of Sligo Oyster Experience and WB’s coffee house, Aisling Kelly Hunter, whose husband Glenn is an oyster farmer. Along the way participants will learn about the history of Sligo’s native oysters and local folklore, before arriving at the Coney Island Oyster Farm where they will experience oyster farming and the process of cultivation first hand. Aisling will also introduce the group to coastal foraging showing participants where edible sea vegetables, such as sea kale and samphire, grow along the coast. The tour concludes with a visit to the Sligo Oyster Experience Cart where the group are treated to an oyster shucking demonstration before indulging in unlimited Sligo oysters with all the condiments, including a delectable seaweed dressing. The Sligo Oyster Farm Tour runs every Wednesday at 11am and 2pm and takes 1.5 hours. Tickets are €45 per person including the unlimited oyster tasting. Booking is essential and can be made online at www.sligooysterexperience.ie.
WHY: A new restaurant opens today Thursday July 30 on Wicklow Harbour. The new Blue Seafood & Bistro on South Quay (the former fully renovated Lighthouse Restaurant) has an impressive management team of co-owners. Greg Murphy, former general manager of Marlfield House and Ruadhan Furlong, former head chef at Marlfield, bring their combined experience to Blue. Murphy explains “One of our key goals is to strive to give customers a high quality dining experience that’s both affordable and enjoyable.” Furlong adds: “We strongly believe in food providence and using local suppliers and ingredients where possible, of which Wicklow has an abundance.” Blue opens for dinner from 5pm and over the bank holiday weekend it is open Friday – Sunday for lunch and dinner. For reservations telephone: 0404 67286.
WHO: Two new art exhibitions to enjoy this weekend include the Solomon Fine Art Summer Group Exhibition which opens today, Thursday July 30, until August 29. This vibrant mix of paintings, sculpture and print includes new work by some of Ireland’s leading artists including Margo Banks, Leah Beggs, Comhghall Casey, Tom Climent, Ana Duncan, Margaret Egan, Bridget Flinn, Stephanie Hess, Carol Hodder, Eilis O’Connell, Bob Quinn, Vivienne Roche, Frances Ryan [above] and John Short. The exhibition will also feature a stunning, life-size bronze foal by renowned sculptor Anthony Scott; www.solomonfineart.ie.
Meanwhile this evening, there is an opportunity to get to know figurative artist Trudy Good, whose solo exhibition is presently on at The Doorway Gallery. A Facebook question and answer evening takes place tonight (Thursday July 30) at 8pm on the gallery’s social media accounts, while Good’s exhibition is on until August 2. Her work is defined by its pared down approach to composition as well as Good’s love of charcoal and grisaille, where paintings are predominantly monochrome; www.thedoorwaygallery.com.
WHEN: If you have been searching for an al fresco Pilates class look no further. Starting on Saturday August 1 for a six week period, Oslo Health & Beauty will host two Saturday morning outdoor Pilates classes on Dylan Hotel’s newly redesigned outdoor Nurserie Terrace. Offering exercise enthusiasts both safety and comfort, there will be a Cardio Pilates class at 8am, using the Oslo Method – a high-intensity full body workout. Following this at 9am, there will be a relaxing Restorative Pilates session to help build flexibility and strength at the same time releasing any joint tightness and muscle pain. Don’t worry if the weather looks dodgy – The Nurserie Terrace is covered with a retractable awning and is filled with a mix of Victorian plants including tree ferns, creating a decadent urban oasis. For further information and class bookings visit www.oslohealth.ie. Class prices are €18 per class. Dylan Hotel weekend rates start from €179 per room per night and hotel residents can participate in the classes. www.dylan.ie
AND… Advance notice for a weekend event to help Dublin’s Simon Community, which is asking all households to join the Dublin Simon Staycation and camp out in the garden, the balcony or the living room on August 28 – 29. The aim is to help teach children about those less fortunate while raising much-needed funds. The Dublin Simon Staycation is a ticketed event, with each household being asked to pay €20 or €25 to take part. All ticket sales go directly towards people experiencing homelessness in Dublin and the surrounding counties – eg €20 could buy a personal care kit containing new socks and underwear, wipes, deodorant, body wash and tissues for someone who is sleeping rough. Upon registration, participants will receive an activity pack with recipes, stickers and a printed boarding pass. Campaign manager Kate Kavanagh explains: “Throughout the pandemic, we have all been mindful of the directions to “stay at home” and then “holiday at home” as the summer unfolded. “Home” has become our refuge and our vehicle to get us through these strange and challenging times. Sadly, as a result, people living in homelessness have never felt their vulnerability more acutely. The Dublin Simon Staycation is a chance to grab the family or the housemates to appreciate the comforts of home. It’s also traditionally the last weekend before the kids go back to school, so we want everyone to enjoy it while also raising vital funds for people experiencing homelessness in Dublin and the surrounding counties.” www.dubsimon.ie or register now at www.eventbrite.ie.
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