Saturday 17 March 2018

9 things to do this bank holiday weekend (whatever the weather)

It's officially summer so venturing forth for fun should be a given. Ed Power rounds up the best of this weekend's events, come rain or shine entertainment, no matter what the weather does

Making a splash: Joya Kuin and Eimear Fitzgerald at the Cork Harbour Festival;
Making a splash: Joya Kuin and Eimear Fitzgerald at the Cork Harbour Festival;
Thalia Heffernan launches a new stage at Forbidden Fruit

The good news: the bank holiday weekend is here (hurrah). The bad news: there's a fair chance it is going to be blustery, overcast and in places, very rainy (boo).

It's the classic Irish dilemma. Do you venture forth in search of fun at the risk of a dousing? Or stay tucked up at home, knowing that the moment you've cancelled your plans the clouds will inevitably part and sunshine will come streaming through?

This is a proper brain-bender. But fret not. We've put together the ultimate bank holiday 'to do' list, with options for both rain and shine.

Forbidden Fruit, Dublin (tomorrow - Monday)

Thalia Heffernan launches a new stage at Forbidden Fruit

The wellies, the tents, the idiots who spend the entire weekend blasting happy house from their camper-van… Music festivals are fantastic in theory but in reality are often a muddy endurance test. So take a bow Forbidden Fruit, Ireland's original urban festival, centrally located in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. This year features one of its strongest line-ups yet, with experimental folkie Bon Iver, headlining on Monday, cult electronica composer Aphex Twin on Sunday and, kicking things off tomorrow, "dad techno" boffins Orbital.

Lismore Opera Festival, Waterford (until Sunday)

The charming (and dry) interior of Lismore Castle provides the backdrop for this festival's new production of L'elisir d'amore, by the Italian composter Gaetano Donizetti. This is a classic "comic opera" (ie frothy but not actually funny), set in a Basque village in the late 18th century. Judging by the weather forecast, it will be as close as many of us come to Mediterranean sunshine. The weekend also features performances at St Carthage Cathedral, Salterbridge House and Fort William Estate.

Connemara Bog Week, Galway (until Monday)

Roundstone Bog, County Galway

This celebration of art and culture in the scenic West winds down with readings and musical performances. Kylemore Abbey features a concert by jazz ensemble The Jimmy Fitz Trio on Sunday while that evening Molly's Bar in Letterfrack showcases Irish flute players Michael Hynes, Gregory Daly, Plunkett O'Toole and Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha. An art exhibition celebrating 'diversity' runs at the Connemara National Park Centre through the weekend, with works by Tanya Doyne and Angie Williams. For lovers of the spoken and written word, the Park Centre welcomes poet Michael Gorman at 3pm today.

Bloom in the park, Dublin (from today)

Dublin City Council worker Dara O’Daly next to his ‘Greening the City’ show garden at Bloom 2017. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The annual horticultural showcase returns to Phoenix Park bigger and brighter than ever. Never afraid to push boundaries, the event will this year focus on such themes as the rise of fake news and Irish people's relationship with their dogs. With puppet shows and gardening lessons for kids, adults may wish to investigate the fashion and chef's food stages. A 'Bloom Fringe' also runs across Dublin, promising street art and installations.

Kraftwerk, Dublin (today and tomorrow)

Kraftwerk perform on the Obelisk stage during the Latitude Festival

It is no exaggeration to state Kraftwerk more or less created electronic music from thin air in the early Seventies. On stage, they present themselves as a fusion of technology and humanity, with songs that reference pocket calculators, robots and the excellence of the German motorway system. Tickets from €62.50, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin, tonight and tomorrow.

Britain's Got Talent Final (tomorrow)

Lords of Strut on Britain's Got Talent

Okay, it's raining and you really can't be bothered stepping outside. Awaiting you in your living room is charming Simon Cowell and his fellow judges as BGT reaches its last hurdle. There has been considerable Irish interest this year, though home-grown participants such as Irish dancer David Geaney and singer Leah Barniville were eliminated in the semis. But regardless of whether any Irish competitors reach the final, fun will be had watching the traditional hodgepodge of magicians, dancers, singers and comedians desperately chasing an approving nod from Cynical Simon.

TV3, 7.30pm

One Love Manchester (Sunday)


With Manchester still in shock after the bombing at an Ariana Grande show which claimed 23 lives last week, the singer returns for a fundraising concert, with a little help from friends Katy Perry, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams and many more. The performances will be aired live.

BBC One, 6pm to 9pm

Cork Harbour Festival (From Tomorrow until June 11)

Making a splash: Joya Kuin and Eimear Fitzgerald at the Cork Harbour Festival;

Down south, the week-long celebration of Cork's maritime heritage kicks off tomorrow. There's an open weekend at Camden Fort Meagher, recently restored and overlooking the harbour, while in the city, the Circus Factory holds a youth circus open day tomorrow. On Monday, meanwhile, there will be a fundraising cycle along a 40km course overlooking the sea (with the option of a 100km Challenge Cycle for those who fancy something more daunting).

Cat Laughs Festival, Kilkenny (Until monday)

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Comedian Tommy Tiernan

The comedy festival returns to Kilkenny this weekend, boasting one of its strongest line-ups yet. The programme is stuffed with Irish talent, from top comics Tommy Tiernan, Dara O'Briain and Deirdre O'Kane to up-and-comers like Al Porter and Aisling Bea. They will be joined by renowned international names such as TJ Miller, star of the cult HBO sitcom Silicon Valley, internet sensation Limmy and Aparna Nancherla, a favourite guest star on Master of None and Inside Amy Schumer. With tickets from €5, it's the perfect opportunity to catch some world-class comedy in a friendly, laidback atmosphere.

Also: Power boat performance and eight tall ships among highlights of Dublin Port Riverfest this bank holiday

Irish Independent

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