Plan a picnic: It’s International Picnic Day today which can be as humble or as grand as you like. One of the oddest press releases I’ve received this week is about songs scientists have calculated not to play at picnics. A survey (by Topp Tiles) has apparently identified the frequency of the buzz bees use to attract other bees and used this to find the songs most likely to attract bees. If you want to want to avoid bees joining your picnic, skip songs such as Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust, David Bowie’s Under Pressure, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars and Nirvana’s Come As You Are. (There is a full list on Topp Tiles blog!). On a more serious note, there’s a tempting “Pick your picnic” stay at Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, available from €330 per person for two nights bed and breakfast, and includes a choice of four luxurious picnics to enjoy on the grounds; www.ballynahinchcastle.com.
Read: Stuck for some reading inspiration, then look at the shortlists for the Emerging Writer and Novel of the Year part of Dalkey Book Festival, which is underway (the winners are due to be announced today). There’s still time to gain access to all events in the programme, with a festival weekend ticket. The ticket allows you to watch all the content, which includes 20 discussions, and access to rewatch all your favourite moments for 30 days after the events. On Saturday, U2 lead guitarist The Edge will be interviewing Professor Brian Cox on music, creativity and quantum physics. The conversation will be available to watch from June 19 to July 20; www.dalkeyfestival.org.
Get involved in: The first national Energia Get Ireland Growing Day is on June 19; a response perhaps to the surge in interest for growing our own food. Over the past 12 months, online searches for “organic food” has increased by 80 per cent apparently. To encourage people to get involved, Energia is giving away 1,000 large “GROWBoxes”. These include everything you need to start growing herbs and vegetables at home, as well as a bag of Irish wildflower beebombs to re-create bee habitats. Fill out a registration form to enter the draw online (see below). Presenter and Energia ambassador Maia Dunphy comments: “I’ve recently enrolled in a Masters in Climate Change policy to help expand my knowledge on helping to protect our planet. Initiatives like the Energia Get Ireland Growing campaign are so important, and help us to see how we can all do our part in creating a more sustainable future for Ireland. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still start growing on your windowsill or balcony, like I do. You might not grow quite enough to feed everyone, but it’s so rewarding when you can eat what you’ve grown from a simple seed, I challenge everyone to give it a go this summer and grow at least a little of your own!” Visit www.getirelandgrowing.ie and share your seed growing pictures across social using #GetIrelandGrowing.
Tune in to: Moon Medicine “Rebelles with a Cause with Angela Scanlon and Imelda May” on June 23, part of the ongoing Moon Medicine series by The Trailblazery the aim of which is to “help women remember, embody and reclaim their authentic powerful selves.” Each Moon Medicine gathering blends performance, meditation, live music and self care practices. Angela and Imelda will be discussing sisterhood, motherhood, daughterhood and everything in between. Kathy Scott, founder of The Trailblazery comments; “I am completely ‘over the moon’ to invite Angela and Imelda to our circle as guest luminaries. Both of these Irish women are brilliant trailblazers and inspire so many people to live their best lives. They are bright, successful, sensitive, generous, and partial to a little bit of craic. They are also kindred spirits and I can’t wait to welcome them to our Moon Medicine family. Join us and tell your sisters”; www.thetrailblazery.com
Visit: Mount Usher Gardens, Co Wicklow. If you are there on Sunday, Dads will have free entry. Visitors will also find a celebratory atmosphere with live music and a Weber x Avoca barbecue pop-up. Weber’s Grill Masters and Avoca chefs will be serving up a menu of barbecued dishes. Avoca is also selling a special Barbecue Pack for €54.95 containing delicious Avoca burgers, sausages, ribs and chicken wings to recreate the barbecue at home; www.avoca.com.
Gift: a standout whiskey for Father’s Day – one of the liquid treasures from Grace O’Malley Irish Spirits. Their flagship whiskey is the multi award-winning Grace O’Malley Blended Irish Whiskey, which recently scooped a much-coveted double gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021. Grace O’Malley Blended Irish Whiskey is a blend of triple and double distilled malt and grain whiskeys, which is unique in Ireland due to its high double distilled malt content. Combining multiple batches of whiskey from three to ten years old, each batch is aged perfectly in different barrel types including French oak, American oak, Bourbon and Rum casks. The resulting blend delivers a whiskey perfectly balanced between fruitiness, age character, complexity and smoothness. Grace O’Malley Blended Irish Whiskey retails at €37 at CelticWhiskey store, Irish Malts.com, Molloy’s off licenses, Carry Out, Super Valu, Centra, and leading off licenses nationwide; www.graceomalleywhiskey.com.
Support: Dublin Simon Community’s “Dip from Dawn to Dusk” in partnership with Jando on Monday June 21. The aim is to raise awareness and essential funds for Dublin Simon’s services by doing a sponsored swim, donating directly or purchasing a Jando “Dawn to Dusk” print – 25 per cent of every sale goes directly to the charity (www.jando.ie). For those who are experiencing homelessness, every day can feel like the longest day, not just the summer solstice. Those who wish to support and get involved can set up their own “Dip” challenge by picking a time of day, location and swim length that suits them to raise funds through sponsorship from family and friends. Registration is free and now open via the website www.dubsimon.ie/longestday2021.
Listen to: “Vanishing Ireland” podcast series, which debuts today on Friday, June 18 at 3pm on Spotify, Google and all podcast channels. The series features 16 interviews with elders of Irish society by historian Turtle Bunbury, who co-founded the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland project 20 years ago. The first to air will be 88-year-old Mary Stack of Listowel, Co Kerry, whose life is a story of romance, resilience and yoga. The aim of the series is to document the (often) extraordinary lives of our older population in a way that saves and celebrates their voices for future generations; www.vanishingireland.com.
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