Get involved in: Keeling’s Great Rewilding initiative to address the reduction of Ireland’s bee and pollinator population. As a first step in this campaign Keelings will be giving away one million wildflower seeds (available by redeeming promotional codes online from special berry punnets). Each seed pack has a blend of 30 different species mixed by Sandro Cafolla, a wildflower grower in Carlow, who has helped Keelings to create its wildflower meadow in St Margaret’s, Co Dublin. There are lots of different ways to help rewild gardens and green spaces and everyone can play a small part to make a big difference. Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin is part of this campaign and will be sharing tips on his social media channels. Some of these include taking a break from mowing the lawn, planting window boxes and hanging baskets with colourful flowers and making an insect hotel in a sunny part of the garden for solitary bees to nest in; www.keelingsgreatrewilding.ie.
Participate in: Stillgarden Distillery’s “Collage and Cocktails” event to celebrate Earth Day. Starting at 7pm, it will be hosted by artist Sorcha O’Higgins, when attendees will delve into the mindful, meditative practice of composing and curating a collage while enjoying some social gin or cocktails. Each pack will also include a packet of seeds, two Stillgarden glasses and two garden tour tickets. All guests need are some magazines, newspapers, photographs, glue, scissors and paper to create a collage masterpiece. To book visit www.stillgardendistillery.com/events.
Visit: Mount Usher Gardens are open for visitors to enjoy within their 20km radius. The 22-acre garden, created by four generations of the Walpole family, is home to 32 “Champion Trees” as well as 4,500 varieties of shrubs and plants. The Walpole’s vision for the gardens was greatly influenced by Ireland’s famous gardener, William Robinson (1838-1935), who campaigned against the formal, structured layouts popular in his youth. Instead, Robinson proposed that gardens should be laid out in harmony with nature and the surrounding landscape and be maintained naturally – Mount Usher is recognised as one of the greatest examples of so-called “Robinsonian” gardens. After a wander around the gardens pop into Avoca’s Garden Café, which is open for takeaway food and drinks. Avoca offers an annual garden ticket (a lovely gift for garden enthusiasts and families); to view membership options visit www.avoca.com. Mount Usher Gardens is open daily from 10am – 5.30pm (last entry is at 4.30pm).
Watch: Adrian Crowley’s one-person show “Ascension of Larks” on Friday April 23 at 9pm. This is a special collaboration with acclaimed filmmaker Niall McCann, weaving together spoken word, ambient soundscapes, songs, stories, poetry and home movie footage. It’s just one of several interesting virtual events taking place this weekend as part of this year’s MusicTown programme. A further example – on Sunday April 25 at 8pm – is “Rooftop Lullabies”. This is a series of reworked and reimagined Irish songs delivered from rooftops across Dublin. “These reimagined songs will fill the void of these empty spaces and will once again fill them with songs of hope, love and loss.” Featuring Faye O’Rourke, Brigid Mae Power and Monjola, they can be viewed virtually; www.musictown.ie.
Order: The Mill Box from Cliff at Lyons – chef Sean Smith’s celebration of spring, showcasing his refined lightness of touch and taste in both menu and execution. The menu changes regularly, but includes six courses, with a selection of home-made breads and a choice of main course. His first menu features seasonal favourites such as asparagus, wild garlic and rhubarb. To add a little extra sparkle guests can choose from weekly changing cocktails and a specially curated wine list. The Mill box costs €95 for two people with collection on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings from Cliff at Lyons with select delivery areas available including all of Dublin and parts of Kildare and Meath. Alternately you can also collect The Pantry Picnic, €65, which includes sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches, hand pressed juices, wine and bubbles; www.cliffatlyons.ie.
Celebrate: Contemporary literature with Cúirt 2021, which starts today, April 22, for five days. This evening’s event of words and music begins at 8.30pm and is entitled The Times were Grand in Size and We Were Small. Six writers, thinkers, storytellers and musicians will reflect on their experiences of finding, losing, and maintaining connection throughout the past year. Louise Bruton will join Oein DeBhairduin, Arnold Thomas Fanning, Una-Minh Kavanagh, Maija Sofia, Suad Aldarra and Lisa McInerney for a diverse snapshot of life in Ireland during the strangest year of our lives. Other participants in Cúirt 2021 also include Emma Dabiri (pictured), Viet Thanh Nguyen, Danielle McLaughlin, Marian Keyes and Sophie White. For the full programme visit www.cuirt.ie.
Listen to: Feis Ceoil, one of Ireland’s longest running cultural events, now in its 125th year. It is holding a virtual gala celebration this weekend with performances from 20 talented young winners chosen from over 130 classical music competitions that took place virtually over a fortnight in March. The young musicians include cellist Emily Brazil, violinist Phoebe White, flautist Rachel Nolan, pianist Joe O’Grady, and harpist Maedbh Tyrrell. They will perform on the stage of the National Concert Hall which can be viewed online at www.feisceoil.ie from the morning of Friday, April 23 until midnight on Sunday, April 25.
Watch: Shadow and Bone which launches on Netflix and is based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels, and stars Irish actor Danielle Galligan. Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive. www.netflix.com
Read: I need no invitation to read but did you know it’s the tenth anniversary of World Book Night, which is taking place tomorrow Friday, April 23? Special online events include Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Kate Mosse from 6 – 7pm. The theme of this year’s event is “Books To Make You Smile” – Sandi Toksvig will be presenting a selection of uplifting stories at 9pm. Discover some of The Gloss team’s feelgood fiction through this link.
Predict: Who wins an Oscar. Sunday April 25 marks the 93rd Academy Awards, and for the first time it will be hosted across multiple sites in the US and Europe. My money is on Frances McDormand as Best Actress for NomadLand. It will also be interesting to watch the fashions and see how many actors participate in the Red Carpet Green Dress initiative. Several of this year’s nominees are having bespoke looks created from eco-couture materials made from Tencel. On the same theme, Zalando is inviting Irish and international fashion brands to apply for the second Zalando Sustainability Award, which will be presented at Copenhagen Fashion Week. The aim of this award is to encourage fashion brands to explore sustainable alternatives and strategies. The winner will partner with Zalando in developing an exclusive capsule collection and be awarded €20,000, the deadline for applications is May 4. For further information visit www.corporate.zalando.com.
Book ahead: for “Beautiful Speech: A Tribute to Eavan Boland” which is taking place on Tuesday April 27 at 7pm. This is presented by the Casey/Boland Family, Poetry Ireland and Stanford University marking the one-year anniversary of her death. Over the course of her long career, Boland was a revolutionary poet, an arts activist and a pathfinder for women in Ireland and around the world. Themes in her work included Irish national identity and the role of women in Irish history and civic life. Contributors include Paula Meehan, Tobias Wolff, Paul McCarrick, Maria Hummel, Roisin Kelly, Bruce Snider, Dr Jody Allen Randolf, Sarah Casey and Niamh O’Donnell. Registration is recommended and for further information visit www.poetryireland.ie.
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