WHERE: Opera lovers will already know the 69th Wexford Festival Opera, titled Waiting for Shakespeare will run online from October 11 – 18. Everyone can dip in and watch performances by Irish soprano Claudia Boyle and Sicilian tenor Pietro Adaini, who open the festival on Sunday October 11 at 8pm, with Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle. It will be performed in its original version from the stage of the National Opera House with two pianos, harmonium, four soloists and chorus. Other highlights include a performance of Verdi’s Falstaff Chronicles over six days, as well as the The Rape of Lucrece – a new opera by Andrew Synnott (pictured) commissioned for the festival based on the Shakespearean narrative poem. Each day a series of pop-up events featuring music, drama, singing and dance, will take place around Wexford town. Concerts are free-to-view online on rte.ie/culture and for the full programme visit wexfordopera.com.
WHY: It’s World Mental Health Day on October 10. St Patrick’s Mental Health Services “Walk in My Shoes” campaign was first established in 2012 when a young man said, “he wished his friends could walk in his shoes to understand how he was feeling.” Since then, Walk in My Shoes has promoted positive mental health, working to change how people think about mental health. One way to support the charity is at Avoca, where its team of crafters have designed two products for the Walk in My Shoes campaign; a Sandalwood candle, €22.95, and pack of paper chain decorations €8.95, with all proceeds donated to this worthy cause; www.avoca.com.
WHAT: “Kilkenny Day … embrace our place”, (officially Sunday, October 11) is a programme of events both online and in situ showcasing what the city and county has to offer. Look out for the air corp who will do a “fly pass” over the city, while all churches and chapels will ring their bells at 3pm. Other community activities include free access to tourist attractions (including the Medieval Mile Museum and Kilkenny Castle) while all restaurants will be serving favourite local produce. Those living in Kilkenny are encouraged to wear the (chic) county colours of black and amber.
WHO: Over a year ago, artist Fiona McDonald set out to explore Bull Island as part of a public project. The aim was to create an artistic response to the influences of climate change and its effects on the biodiversity of the area. From her explorations Fiona McDonald created Sensing Ecologies, a new free app, which anyone can use. Sensing Ecologies encourages users to put on their walking shoes and headphones and really immerse themselves in Bull Island. For example, as you walk along the iconic wooden bridge, the app senses where you are and a specific soundscape or interview is triggered. Voice-overs on the journey include those from the past (Darwin), the present and speculations on the future. Discover how researchers from various fields working on Bull Island and across the planet, use environmental sensors, bio indicators, human senses and phenology (the life cycle of plants and animals) in understanding and mitigating the effects of climate change.
WHAT: It’s definitely been the sort of weather for snuggling in bed with a good book and for bibliophiles next week’s online and offline Red Line Book Festival (from October 12 – 18) is sure to provide inspiration. Get ahead by buying The Art of the Glimpse (chosen as the Red Line Book), edited by Sinéad Gleeson with contributions from over 100 Irish writers, past and present. Gleeson will be joined in conversation by two of The Art of the Glimpse contributors, the writers Melatu Uche Okorie and Blindboy Boatclub. Information about the programme as well as tickets for all festival events can be booked at redlinebookfestival.ie.
AND … In need of a pick-me-up or want to send someone a gift box to pamper, protect or repair? Consider those by Oxmantown Skincare, an ethical and cruelty-free range, founded by Amy Cahill, and initially launched from her kitchen table in Stoneybatter. Cahill has a background in beauty therapy and aromatherapy, and her botanical products have been awarded the LEO Best Product Award at Showcase Ireland 2020. “Our new range of gift boxes has something for everyone – from mothers-to-be or men who’ve used the lockdown to cultivate their facial hair,” says Cahill. “The Hydration Heroes Facial Kit, the Perfume Discovery Giftbox, or the Citrus Hand Care Kit will provide the perfect treat to gift to loved ones, or keep for your own essential self-care!” Other gift boxes include the Rosehip Ritual Facial Kit, the Balance Bundle and the Emerald Gift Box; www.oxmantownskincare.ie.
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