WHAT: If your idea for a perfect staycation is to learn a new skill, relax and forget about the worries of the last few months, then why not immerse yourself in the meditative craft of throwing pots. Arran Street East, a pottery studio based in Dublin 7, is offering a range of pottery workshops this month. These range from a two-hour handbuilding class to three-day summer workshops, and an evening course spread out over seven nights. All are aimed at beginners and participants will learn to throw pots on a potters’ wheel, ending the course with a pot of their own, which will be fired and glazed by the Arran Street East team. Class sizes are from six to ten participants to allow for social distancing, and prices are from €60. To book visit: www.arranstreeteast.ie.
WHY: Droichead Arts Centre is celebrating its 30th birthday this week, and part of the celebrations include [email protected], a video podcast series which will be streamed between August 6 – 9 on Droichead’s YouTube channel. Musicians featured include Nuala Kennedy, renowned for her reimagining of Irish songs and her distinctive flute playing; Libyan-Irish songwriter and singer Farah Elle (pictured), who uses music to spread positivity and awareness; composer of improvisational piano compositions Úna Keane; and award-winning composer, producer and guitarist Breifne Holohan. The idea of the podcast is to give an insight into the lockdown experience of these four, disparate musicians and present a performance by each. Tune into Droichead.Arts.Centre on Youtube.
WHO: Kilkenny Arts Festival is also presenting a programme of events under the title of “Kilkenny Arts Festival X” from August 7-16. One event is new work by artist Luke Murphy in the Digital Gallery at Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. Murphy’s quiet yet virtuosic performance of dance, film and process called “Mapping Terrain” is about conceiving, developing and dismantling a project. When the pieces are torn apart what remains? What lingers? And how do you respond? Luke invites the audience into the intimate setting of the Digital Gallery to observe the creative process.
WHERE: Time to get your best pjs out – these are from M&S – for a stylish sleepover with friends. The Shelbourne Slumber Party experience has all the elements for a fun night in with a friend and includes an in-room Elemis Spa Experience, followed by a movie night with a bottle of chilled rosé and sweet and savoury treats (including nachos with guacamole, cheese and charcuterie boards, chocolate brownies, candyfloss, popcorn, and Shelbourne Sweet bags). The Shelbourne Slumber Party experience is available until November from €379 based on two people sharing, and includes a breakfast in The Saddle Room the next morning; www.TheShelbourne.com.
WHAT: Two Dublin businesswomen have joined forces to open a new health and beauty oasis in Dublin 3 – Calm Beauty on Richmond Road, Dublin 3. It is a serene space, offering a range of treatments from massage and reflexology as well as baby massage. Kudos to the joint owners and friends – Jenny Faison and Jenny Fitzpatrick – for opening the business in the midst of a pandemic. They swapped high-stress roles in insurance and finance to open separate beauty and holistic therapy businesses, before deciding to merge. “The outbreak of Covid-19 has made people slow down, and realise the value of self-care, and time for yourself. This is what we aim to give people at Calm Beauty – relaxation and expert care. Jenny and I both come from corporate backgrounds so we know the stresses that juggling a busy work and family life can cause. We also know how beneficial it is to spend time in a place that is geared for relaxation, peace and quiet – that’s central to our ethos at Calm Beauty.” www.calmbeauty.ie
AND … Remember back in April, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray, Directors of the Abbey Theatre, created Dear Ireland – when 100 self-isolating artists reflected on the crisis? This was the beginning of a national conversation, and the next phase of the project continues at 7.30pm on Monday, August 10. In a virtual “open house” letters, poems and songs from the public (400 letters have been shortlisted to 20 which will be read by 20 actors) will express the different hopes, experiences and challenges facing Ireland at this time. The evening will feature a diverse range of voices alongside musical performances from Damien Dempsey and recitations, poems and spoken word from Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, Sabina Higgins, Catherine Martin TD and Fintan O’Toole. Irish artist Maser was commissioned to create a bespoke look for Dear Ireland and his artwork will be woven through the visuals, while composer Ray Harman’s music will underscore the digital project. Streaming on the Abbey’s Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter channels, details of the open house can be found on www.abbeytheatre.ie. The performance will then be available online for six months.
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