Tuesday 27 September 2016

Think outside the box... the unusual outdoor events lined up this summer

The great outdoors provides the backdrop for all kinds of unusual events this summer

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Just like the movies: Weather permitting, there'll be drive-in and outdoor cinema fun around the country this summer. Photo: JR Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Image
Just like the movies: Weather permitting, there'll be drive-in and outdoor cinema fun around the country this summer. Photo: JR Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Image

We may not get much sunshine in Ireland, but we certainly know how to take advantage of those precious rays when we do. Event organisers across the country will be making the most of the clement conditions this summer by using the great outdoors as a seasonal venue. Here we bring you some of the quirkier outdoor events taking place over the next few months.

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MOVIES

The team at Happenings has their fingers and toes crossed for sunshine this summer - their events depend on it. The guerilla event organisers "unlock the potential of public spaces" with reasonably priced pop-up cinema screenings in public parks. Events are weather-dependent and confirmed just a few days in advance. Sign up at happenings.ie to stay updated.

Elsewhere, the good folks at Lunaflics (thelunaflics.com) are bringing their drive-in cinema to Kilkenny this summer. The programme kicks off with a screening of Grease on July 8 at 10.30pm and costs €25 for a car holding up to five people. Marlay Park in Dublin also hosts an outdoor cinema in August, with a number of films especially for little ones. Stay posted at dlrcoco.ie.

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

Practising yoga in the great outdoors beats any indoor studio experience. It's also cheaper. The Outdoor Yoga Project runs every Saturday at 11am from May 7 in St Stephen's Green and the Phoenix Park. Participants are asked to donate whatever they can, with all donations going to charity. Check out yogahub.ie or find them on Facebook.

The aforementioned Happenings are also running outdoor yoga in Dartmouth Square, Ranelagh, Dublin on Saturdays during the summer months for €5. Stay posted on the Happenings Facebook page.

For a gentler pace, the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin runs occasional, free-of-charge Qigong classes on its roof garden (or indoors if the weather doesn't comply). The next one takes place on May 14 at noon. See cbl.ie for more.

FITNESS

It's hard to go to the gym at the best of times. It's near impossible when the sun comes out... Why not get fit in the great outdoors instead?

Bootcamp Ireland offers "military-style" fitness in almost 20 outdoor locations in Dublin (bootcampireland.com). Fota Island Resort in Cork also offers an outdoor bootcamp on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6pm-7pm. Email fitness@fotaisland.ie for details.

If you'd prefer a short, sharp shock, personal trainer Jen Feighery recently introduced HIIT the Park. Participants can expect 30 minutes of high intensity interval training in Herbert Park, Phoenix Park and St Anne's Park in Dublin. See jenfeighery.ie for more.

MUSIC

Most of the outdoor musical events taking place this summer have already been scribbled into diaries. However, some of the more unusual ones may go under your radar. Interlude Festival in the RHA Gallery, Ely Place, Dublin (Dimitri From Paris, The Sugarhill Gang and many more) is back and this time there's a block party. It runs from June 24-26; interludefestival.com.

Elsewhere, Beatyard (July 30-31) makes the most of the seaside views in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin and welcomes legends like Roy Ayers and George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic to the stage (the-beatyard.com).

Opera fans are also in for a treat. The Loughcrew Opera Festival runs from June 23-25 and takes place in Loughcrew Gardens, Oldcastle, Co Meath. Bring a blanket and make it a date by ordering a 'Mozart Picnic' (€30 for two people). See loughcrew.com for ticket prices.

LEARN & EXPLORE

The magical Hunting Brook Gardens in Blessington, Wicklow hosts all manner of events throughout the year. The best way to acquaint yourself with these extraordinary surroundings is to visit the Sunday Opening Day on May 8 (or 12/6, 10/7, 14/8, 11/9) and partake in a number of free events including a walk-and-talk and an introduction to green woodworking. Entry fee applies. See huntingbrook.com for more.

Celebrated landscape photographer Peter Gordon is running an Ireland-wide landscape photography festival from September 26-October 2, with workshops from the leading lights of landscape photography. See irishlight.ie.

Finally, the wickedly funny and much-loved author David Nicholls (One Day) will be giving an outdoor reading of his work in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar on May 18. The first reading is at 6.30pm and repeated every 30 minutes until the last reading at 8.30pm. The event is free of charge. See dublincityofliterature.ie.

FOOD & DRINK

The events calendar at Airfield Estate in Dundrum, Dublin is becoming ever more enticing. We're looking forward to Forage for the Pot on May 14. Expect a foraging walk around the estate and a cookery demonstration back in the kitchen. From 10.30am-1.30pm; €45 pp. See airfield.ie.

Wild Kitchen in Lahinch Co Clare also offers regular guided food walks, exploring both forests and seashores (wildkitchen.ie). If you'd prefer not to forage for your dinner, we recommend the outdoor supper clubs at the aforementioned Hunting Brook Gardens (the next one is on May 6) and Killruddery House in Bray, Co Wicklow (every Thursday evening from May to September; killruddery.com).

And don't miss Streetfeast. The country-wide community initiative that encourages neighbours to enjoy an outdoor lunch together is on June 12. Check out streetfeast.ie for inspiration.

THEATRE & DANCE

The Chapterhouse Theatre Company is once again touring open-air theatre productions across Ireland from June until September. Expect performances of Sense & Sensibility, Wuthering Heights and more at unique locations around the country. See chapterhouse.org.

Meanwhile, the Dublin Dance Festival recommends that Dubliners pack a picnic for Moveable Feast, a free family day of dance and entertainment in Merrion Square on May 22. See dublindancefestival.ie.

CHILDREN

If you go down to the woods today, you'll find the Forest School Camp by Earth Force Education. The founders believe Mother Nature is the best teacher and they run summer camps that help children reconnect with nature through activities like den-building and wood crafts. The camps take place in various locations throughout Wicklow. See earthforceeducation.com for more.

The Burren Wild Child Summer Camp is a similar initiative for six to 12-year-olds. It runs from July 26-28 in Carron, Co Clare. See burrenbeo.com for more.

Elsewhere, there's a Kids' Summer Sea Camp for future marine biologists in Bray, Co Wicklow (August 22-26, see marinedimensions.ie); a Teddy Bear's Picnic charity event in Barna Woods, Galway on May 9 (find it on eventbrite.ie) and an interactive story-telling adventure in Powerscourt Gardens, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow on May 8 (powerscourt.com).

Irish Independent

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