We’re hopefully nearing the end of spending our bank holiday weekends in lockdown, make the most of the May Bank Holiday with these activities you can enjoy at home …
Read: Some poetry. It’s Poetry Day Ireland today, with lots of online events. This year’s theme “New Directions: Maps and Journeys” is both literal and metaphorical. For further information read our Poetry Day post.
Fire up the barbecue: Apparently our collective grill master skills are now on a par with South Africans and Australians. According to a survey by Weber a barbecue is no longer a “fun in the sun” pastime for the Irish – 69 per cent admit to taking it very seriously – with 64 per cent rating themselves at professional level with a pair of tongs. Time perhaps to graduate to open fire Caribbean cookery? It’s one of the twelve interactive Zoom sessions being organised by Sprig Cookery School. Founded by Eamon Lynch, he will be co-hosting twelve sessions with a different theme alongside chefs such as Grainne O’Keefe (of BuJo Burger Joint), Niall Sabongi (of Klaw, The Seafood Café and Salty Buoy Food Truck), pastry chef, Aoife Noonan and Claire Dowling (of Tiller + Grain) among others; www.sprigcookery.com.
Enjoy: A special “Irish Producers Afternoon Tea” from Overends Kitchen at Airfield Estate. Head Chef Luke Matthews and his team is committed to using and supporting Irish artisan food producers. Their special afternoon tea for two, €40, can be enjoyed at home or as a picnic in the stunning surrounds of Airfield Estate. Customers will enjoy a selection of Cuinneog Buttermilk raisin and plain scones with G’s Gourmet Irish raspberry jam and cream followed by savoury treats including an Inch House black pudding sausage roll; smoked Goatsbridge trout on Overends Kitchen Guinness bread; quiche and sandwiches with Ballylisk triple cream cheese and beetroot chutney. Mini pastries, tarts and raspberry lavender meringue kisses complete this treat. Pre-order online at www.airfield.ie/online-food-orders/ for collection Saturday May 1 from 9.30am – 11am, Sunday, May 2 and Monday May 3 between 11.30am and 1pm.
Catch up: On Ireland’s Edge, by the creative minds behind Other Voices. This is an eight part podcast series presenting conversations and stories from some of the most compelling voices across Ireland and internationally. These include the host of the podcast, Christopher Kissane, a historian and writer from Kerry; Grammy and MacArthur award winner, Rhiannon Giddens; Chief Justice Frank Clarke; Senator Lynn Ruane; author Mark O’Connell; writer and broadcaster Manchán Mangan, and aerospace engineer and economist, Sinéad O’Sullivan, along with spoken-word performances from wordsmiths FeliSpeaks and Dyrt. Listen on ACAST; www.irelandsedge.net.
Celebrate: The Dawn Chorus on Sunday morning, May 2, between 4.30am and 6.30am. The Sanctuary is hosting an online event to celebrate this natural wonder and for early risers it’s a morning of mindful practices with yoga led by teacher Riana Walsh, poetry from spoken word poet Stephen James Smith and song from members of The Dublin Gospel Choir. The session finishes with a “Tea Meditation”. This is a fundraising event (€30) with proceeds going towards the work of The Sanctuary and its new biodiversity field, to find out more visit www.thesanctuary.ie.
Participate in: The Cork International Choral Festival, currently taking place until Sunday May 2, featuring 82 choirs from across Ireland and around the globe. On April 29, watch a specially produced documentary film about Ireland’s best known and most diverse choral ensemble, Anúna, made by their founder, director and composer Michael McGlynn. On Friday, April 30, Chamber Choir Ireland, the festival’s choir in residence, will perform from Cork’s St Finbarre’s Cathedral including no fewer than three world premieres. Saturday night will see one of Ireland’s most acclaimed vocal ensembles, Resurgam, performing an array of early choral music. Sunday night’s closing gala concert promises an exciting performance from Berlin based a capella group Onair. Details of all concerts, workshops and competitions are available on the festival website. For more information or to book tickets see www.corkchoral.ie.
Book: The Sidecar Gin Experience At Home – everything you need to create the perfect gin cocktail. This chic kit, €145, includes two crystal balloon gin glasses, one bottle of The Sidecar Gin, created by Stillgarden Distillery in Dublin, four bottles of tonic, a gold measuring jigger and mixing spoon and a gin infusion kit containing juniper berries, cinnamon, and star anise. Having had a special tasting session I can attest The Sidecar Gin is elegant and aromatic and derives its flavour from locally foraged wild lemon verbena, nettles and herbs, balanced with ginger, bitter orange and juniper. Each kit also includes a QR code giving access to an exclusive playlist on Spotify, featuring music synonymous with bar. The Sidecar Gin Experience At Home is available for delivery within a 10km radius for €10, while click and collect is available within Dublin directly from The Westbury Hotel, Balfe Street, Dublin 2. www.sevenrooms.com
Plant: some seeds. I’m a bit late but will be planting some sweetpea and also checking in with Avoca’s Head Gardener, Des Carton. He advises, “When it comes to planting sweet pea, you first soak the seeds in water for 24 hours and then place three seeds in a pot with soil and water, or in a small rootrainer for planting multiple seeds. Ensure to feed them once a week with tomato food. This annual climbing plant can then grow much larger once there is suitable support available.” Check out Des’ how-to videos on Avoca’s Instagram channel for more tips and inspiration: www.instagram.com/avocaireland/.
Spruce up: Your outdoor space. Flowers and plants are not the only thing that are great at injecting colour into your garden. Consider a coat of Graphenstone’s (ecological) paint that can be used on both metal or wooden sheds to energise your garden this summer. Keith Byrne CEO, Graphenstone Ireland, says, “Our outdoor spaces are now more important than ever, that’s why keeping them in good condition and on-trend with colour styles and tones is now key. Whether it’s entertaining, relaxing or just enjoying the sun with the kids, Graphenstone offers a range of durable and water-proof paints ideal for the Irish climate.” www.graphenstone.ie
Order: The Bank Holiday Box, €88, from The Nude Wine Co, which includes a sparkling organic Rose Prosecco, two white wines – Giol Organic Pinot Grigio, Venezia, Italy (Giol have been farming organically since the 1980s and are one of the oldest family run wine families in Italy) and a Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier, Canforrales, Lamancha. There are also three red wines including Lopez de Haro Crianza, Rioja which recently won Best Red Wine in Ireland at the NOFFLA awards. Even though Malbec from Argentina is vegan, it pairs amazingly with steak! Last but by no means least is Frentana’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It’s soft, fruity and easy going; www.thenudewineco.ie.
Peruse or purchase: some limited edition prints. “Parallels” is the first collaboration between the National Print Museum and Atelier Maser, commissioned to celebrate the museum’s 25th anniversary. Maser chose as his starting point the 1916 Proclamation and the craft of letterpress printing, both central aspects of the Museum’s history. The most important printed document in modern Irish history, the Proclamation was, and remains, a remarkable text in its aspiration, idealisation and courage. Maser explains: “I wanted to honour and respect the original document, but as a living breathing call for hope and action for Ireland today.” “Parallels” is available as a limited edition of 200 standard prints, a special edition of 35 personalised with handset type, and a deluxe edition of 25 handmade embellished by Maser. Prices range from €190 – €400; www.maserart.com.
Make sure: you order in advance one of The Butcher Grill’s selection of boxes, sides and cocktails which is available for nationwide delivery as of next week. It’s also available on a click and collect basis too. Each box has everything you need to recreate The Butcher Grill in your own home with very little effort and hardly any clean-up! There are two options: the Chateaubriand Steak Dinner, €75, or the Côte de Bœuf Steak Dinner ,€65, which includes nibbles (cold meats, smoked almonds, Nocellara olives), 24oz côte de bœuf, smoky beans with bacon and its signature mashed potatoes in addition to charred broccoli and hazelnut dressing and two chocolate cremeux desserts. For more information visit: thebutchergrill.clickandcollection.com.
Shop: The Circular Room on www.arnotts.ie a partnership with Designer Exchange, which allows customers to digitally browse a coveted collection of pre-loved designer and vintage pieces. The edit comprises pieces from Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Mulberry, Valentino, Chloé and many more.
Listen to: “Wakening” on May 2 at 3pm, part of a series of online concerts featuring The Irish Chamber Orchestra directed by conductor, violinist and chamber musician Thomas Zehetmair from the stage of the University College Hall, Limerick. The Series will also welcome pianist Hugh Tinney and cellist Christopher Marwood on May 9 with a programme of Debussy and Prokofiev. Tickets from €15; www.uch.ie.
Main featured image: River Island
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