WHY: For those doing Veganuary there are plenty of options when dining out this weekend. Saba and Saba To Go have just launched a Plant Power Festival, running until February 9, with nourishing, satisfying vegan-friendly dishes on offer. Try the “Green Machine” with kale, pak choi, carrots, Thai basil, sugar snap peas, ginger, cashew nuts, broccoli, Chinese leaves, lime and chilli in the special Saba paleo sauce; www.sabadublin.com. The sustainable Italian eatery Sprezzatura, in Dublin 8 has also unveiled a Veganuary menu including small plates such as tomato carpaccio, a vibrant tomato and basil rigatoni and a wild mushroom tagliatelle; www.sprezzatura.ie. And for those close to Avoca Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, there’s also a new pop-up serving bowls of hot and hearty ramen, try the tasty vegan fermented kimchi ramen; www.avoca.com. At Dundrum Town Centre there’s a special fitness and wellbeing weekend with many events, one of which is a visit by Roz Purcell to Easons on Saturday when she will be signing her new No Fuss Vegan recipe book, which I endorse wholeheartedly; www.dundrum.ie.
WHAT: In need of some theatrical inspiration? The 24 Hour Plays originated in New York in the mid-90s and is now an annual gala on Broadway, as well as at the Old Vic in London, with performances in Chicago, Athens and around the world. Now in its ninth iteration, The 24 Hour Plays: Dublin will return to the Abbey Theatre on Sunday, January 19 in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre. Six short plays will be written and presented all within 24 hours by the best of Irish writing and directing talent and over two dozen actors of stage and screen. Tickets cost from €35-€120, with all proceeds going directly to DYT. www.abbeytheatre.ie
WHERE: Any excuse to stay at Ballynahinch Castle is a valid one in my opinion and if you book in either this weekend or next there is some inspiring theatre on offer. The one man show, Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin returns this Sunday, while on January 26 Curlew Theatre Company presents The Muse & Mister Yeats a “play for voices” performed by Tegolin Knowland and Seán Coyne, written and directed by Eamon Grennan celebrating the women WB Yeats was romantically involved with. Each show begins at 5.30pm with tickets available for €70, including dinner in the Owenmore Restaurant after the performance. An overnight stay with dinner and tickets to the theatre evening is available from €135 per person sharing. www.ballynahinchcastle.com
WHO: Galician and Irish traditional music stars Anxo Lorenzo (gaita/whistles), Jim Murray (guitar), Dónal O’Connor (fiddle) and Jack Talty (concertina) will be performing on a 14-date Music Network tour that runs until January 26, and concludes with a performance in London. Thrilling, soulful, sincere and highly communicative, their music is of people and place and of stillness. This weekend they will be performing in Clifden, Drogheda and Dun Laoghaire. Ticket prices range from €5-€20, depending on the venue; www.musicnetwork.ie
WHEN: Dry January be gone! Café en Seine is teaming up with Boutique Wines for a showcase and a three-course wine pairing dinner on Sunday, January 19, with Cuna de Reyes vineyard. Alfredo Ciria will be in attendance to tell diners about his winery, founded in 1999 in the town of Nájera, in La Rioja region of Northern Spain, which combines traditional winemaking techniques and state-of-the-art facilities to produce his characterful wines. Tickets are limited and cost €70pp, available via Eventbrite.
AND … We’re booking ahead for a yoga retreat in Lough Eske Castle Hotel from January 24-26. This retreat is designed to help participants switch off and reset with four classes, suitable for all levels, guided by yoga teacher Tara O’Rourke. There will be healthy, locally sourced cuisine for guests, a wellness workshop and a guided mindfulness walk in the forests around the hotel. The Yoga Retreat package excluding accommodation is only €149 per person, while the Wellness Weekend based on two nights accommodation, breakfast, dinner and all yoga sessions and classes is from only €299 per person sharing (based on double occupancy), and guests will be able to use the facilities at the hotel’s Cara Organic Beauty Spa; www.lougheskecastlehotel.com