Sun shining on festival fever for summer solstice
Fine weather will set the stage for the success of a host of festivals throughout the country. Met Eireann say it is shaping up to be a "very pleasant weekend," with weather staying settled right up to the end of next week.
At Dublin's Merrion Square, the AIB Street Performance World Championships delivers its fun for free -- with some of the world's best contortionists, jugglers, magicians, breakdancers and comedians battling it out for the coveted title.
At a preview of the event at Merrion Square yesterday -- with another one today -- a banner instructs: "Being grumpy is not permitted here."
"Hello Guys, you're late -- I was worried. Everyone else has already given me €20. Anyone have a balloon on them?" deadpanned "FireGuy" to a group of wandering school children who turned up.
The juggler, real name Brant Matthews who hails from Toronto in Canada, proceeded to juggle and eat fire before treating the children to a squeamish display whereby he snorted a flat balloon up his nose.
"Oh don't freak out on me now, it's going to come out of my arse in a minute," he warned them.
Actually it didn't -- it came out his other nostril, amid squeals of disbelief and horror from the children.
Several businessmen whiled away their lunchtime mesmerised by the hilarious jelly-boned antics of another Canadian act, Les Vitamines, which had the fifth and sixth class of St Kevin's Girls School, Kilnamanagh, Dublin, in stitches.
"They're absolutely brilliant," enthused Saoirse Wade (13) and Andrea Morris (13).
The Street Performance World Championships take place from 12 to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday at Merrion Square in Dublin, with face painting, balloon modellers and various events for children.
Audience members will also be asked to join in a Guinness World Record attempt for the most people simultaneously bouncing on space hoppers. The event takes place at 2pm on Sunday on Upper Mount Street.
The Summer Soltice will be celebrated in magical style at the Body & Soul Solstice Gathering at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, on Saturday and Sunday.
There will be barbershop style music by Kormacs Big Band, wood-fired hot tubs and a masquerade ball with a moonlit orchestra on Saturday night.
The lineup includes The Orb, Folktronica Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet and homegrown electronic group, JAPE.
Younger festival goers will enjoy the Soul Kids area nestled in one of the many beautiful walled gardens.
The festival promises an inticing lineup of waterside picnics, live music of all sorts, twinkling lights, impromptu parties and workshops.Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.
Tarawatch have also organised a Summer Solstice festival over the weekend at the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.
In Carlow, the continuing Eigse arts festival will see a weekend of traditional music.
Meanwhile The Festival of World Cultures takes place in Dun Laoghaire next month running from 19-25 July. Organisers describe it as Ireland's global carnival.