WHERE: Galway International Arts Festival Autumn Edition starts today, with a programme of live arts events and an enhanced digital component. The centrepiece of the programme is the unveiling of a major new visual arts commission by John Gerrard. His dramatic “Mirror Pavilion” installation will be in situ on the Claddagh Quay until September 26, before moving to Connemara in October. From September 5 at the Festival Gallery, visitors can explore new work from Hughie O’Donoghue and American video art pioneer Bill Viola. There’s also an interesting mix of in-person and online talks from the Black Box Theatre, exploring topical themes and issues such as Black Lives Matter and experiences of racism in Ireland, climate change and what may the post pandemic future look like. Speakers include Colm Tóibín, Eamon Dunphy, Mark Duncan, Samantha Power and Roisin Ingle among many others. For a full programme visit: www.giaf.ie.
WHY: If you are planning to visit Galway for the festival or a weekend escape The Hardiman hotel is currently offering a “Autumn is in the Eyre” – a two-night stay with bed and breakfast with an evening meal for €159 per person. Alternatively, an overnight stay with a main course and a glass of wine in the Gaslight Brasserie, and breakfast the next morning is just €89 per person. The Hardiman has also partnered with sister hotels The G hotel and The House Hotel for a versatile “Re Unite Package” offering mini spa treatments and Afternoon Tea, dinner in The Hardiman and cocktails and snacks in House Hotel. A courtesy car can ferry guests between locations. For further details visit www.thehardiman.ie.
WHAT: Culture vultures will be spoiled for choice this weekend as Dublin Fringe Festival gets underway too. Entitled “Dublin Fringe Festival 2020: Pilot Light Edition” the festival will run for 16 days, staging 107 performances of 23 events in 13 venues, including 21 world premieres and two Dublin premieres! Live shows will return to theatres including the Abbey Theatre, Draíocht and Project Arts Centre, as well as iconic venues such as Dalymount Park Dublin Castle courtyard and gardens, the Irish Georgian Society and Temple Bar’s Gallery of Photography. There’s also digital theatre, for example, Fionnuala Gygax and Dan Colley (pictured) create an intimate performance called “Twenty Fifty” looking at the outcome of effects of climate change in the year 2050. A new guest will be interviewed live each night and the audience will contribute to the narrative of the interview. Sounds intriguing! www.fringefest.com
WHY: It’s time to get active for a good cause. You may have spotted a number of determined cyclists over the last two days, actually some Intensive Care Unit doctors, who are taking part in a charity cycle from Cork to Dublin in aid of four charities supporting people specifically affected by the Covid-19 crisis. This “ICU 4 U” charity cycle aims to raise at least €100,000 for Alone (older people), Breakthrough Cancer Research (new cancer treatments), Aware (mental health) and ICUsteps (ICU patient aftercare support). Meanwhile, Orbis Ireland is setting the challenge – Swim for Sight. This international charity works towards preventing avoidable blindness in Ethiopia and is currently providing essential supplies to hospitals and rural communities in Ethiopia as well as continuing with emergency surgeries. Its flexible new fundraising initiative allows participants to choose where and how far they swim each day. Whether it’s 20 swims in September, or for 20 minutes over the month or simply 20 strokes – whatever your level, set your target. For more information visit www.irl.orbis.org.
WHO: If your weekend is determined by weather, and it’s being temperamental, then bibliophiles may like to snuggle up with a good book. Ten novels have just been shortlisted for the 2020 International Dublin Literary Award. Celebrating 25 years, this award is the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000 to the winner. If the book has been translated the author receives €75,000 and the translator receives €25,000. The winner will be announced on October 22 and until then there’s time to check out some of the shortlist, which includes Milkman by Irish author Anna Burns, The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan and three novels in translation (Disoriental by Negar Djavadi, History of Violence by Edouard Louis and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk). All the novels nominated are available for readers to borrow from public libraries around Ireland. Readers can also borrow most of the shortlisted titles on BorrowBox – eBooks and eAudiobooks for limited periods by way of digital loans. To see the full longlist and short list of titles and add some diversity to your reading visit www.dublinliteraryaward.ie.
AND … If you want to introduce some much-needed zen to your life, join one of Ireland’s most respected yoga philosophy teachers Michael McCann for MySatsang’s inaugural live zoom session on Tuesday, September 8 from 10am – 12 noon, €15. (Satsang being an ancient Sanskrit word broadly translated as “truth-company,” or being in the company of the wise). McCann is committed to making yogic wisdom accessible to all: “All you need is to have an open heart and mind and to let your own inner wisdom shine forth,” is his mantra. During this session he will explore the Vedic tradition and Isha Upanishad – the roots of Surya Namaskar, the Gayatri Mantra as Vedic prayer and the Chakras as Seven Suns; www.saolbeo.ie.
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