Saturday 7 December 2019

Everything and more on offer at Kinsale Arts Festival

The Pleasure List

COFFEE CONFIDENTIAL: TV and radio presenter Lottie Ryan is the face of the Coffee Morning event
COFFEE CONFIDENTIAL: TV and radio presenter Lottie Ryan is the face of the Coffee Morning event

A decade ago, the Kinsale Arts Festival started small but determined, and has since steadily grown into a significant annual celebration of local, national and international arts and culture. The festival deliberately chooses to avoid conventional spaces, trying instead to use the unexpected and quirky - boats, churches, harbours and beaches.

In their day, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Michael Morpurgo and Jean Kennedy Smith have all done the honours in opening the festival, and the line-up is invariably a selection of the finest contemporary artists and performers. This year is no different. Corcadorca present a new play by Enda Walsh, Tommy Tiernan and David O'Doherty perform stand-up, Roy Foster talks about the Revolutionary Generation of 1890-1923, and poet Roger McGough reads from his latest collection. On the visual arts side, Something and Son have been commissioned to create The Sweat Oratory. I think you'd better see for yourselves . . .

Lost movie masterpiece at Killruddery film festival

With a weekly farm market, extreme sporting events, al fresco dining and an artists' corner, there is barely a day or a part of Killruddery estate where something amusing isn't going on. Now, largely thanks to filmmaker Andrew Legge, a film festival is being added to the varied line-up. From September 19th to 21st, the festival will include workshops in sound and animation, talks, and a celebration of classic and silent cinema - including two short films produced by Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards. From Time To Time stars Patrick Bedford and Maureen Cusack, and Return to Glennascaul is introduced by Orson Welles. There will also be a screening of Too Much Johnson, made by a very young Welles in 1938 and presumed lost until 2008, when a print was discovered in a warehouse in Italy. Variety magazine called the restored movie "an unanticipated delight", and this is its first screening in Ireland.

Brewing up a coffee storm for charity

Next Thursday, 18th September, is Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning, the excellent annual fundraiser for the Hospice Foundation, now going for 22 years, during which time 15 million cups have been drunk and €30 million raised. This year, TV and radio presenter Lottie Ryan, is the face of what is by now an institution, both as a charity and a social event. The idea is simple - host a coffee morning, charge €2 per cup and, because Bewley's provide the actual coffee for free, all money raised goes towards hospice services in the local area where it is collected. With over 6,000 people accessing hospice services every year - a number that is on the rise - many of us have direct experience of the wonderful care the charity provides. So here's a chance to give something back, in the most sociable and civilised way possible. Maybe we can't all run polar marathons, but we can all manage a cup of coffee.

Time to start feeding the birds

The days may still be warm and bright, but nights are drawing in and there is a definite feeling of autumn in the air. Which means, for the ornithologically-minded among us, time to start feeding the birds, who will have trouble surviving the winter if we don't. Those who know a jolly garden ornament when they see one will be pleased too, because these very cute red and green apple-shaped bird feeders, from Arboretum in Co Carlow are decorative as well as functional. Fill with seed, hang from a branch or wall, and you will reap the rewards of kindness, in glorious birdsong and the cheering sight of various breeds of birds flitting in and out of your garden. You can also, while there, pick up bulbs and seeds for next spring, hand-made oak furniture, Le Creuset kettles and, in early anticipation of summer, a Jamie Oliver firepit set - basically a table set around a firepit on which you can grill food, and warm your hands if needs be.

Lots of inspiration for ladies who lunch

Inspiration is to be found in so many places if only we will look, but some manifestations are definitely easier to spot than others. We reckon Debbie Deegan, founder of To Russia With Love, the charity that does so much to help abandoned Russian children, is generally a pretty shining example of the genre, and now she and the charity have organised a lunch built around the theme. The Inspiring Women lunch, on at the Shelbourne Hotel this Friday 19th September, will showcase Miriam O'Callaghan and Constance Cassidy interviewed by Olivia O'Leary. With insights into how these impressive women balance busy lives, and what drives and motivates them, along with raffle prizes, lunch and bubbles, this will be a busy, fascinating event. Just as worth a visit is With Love, the gorgeous shop the charity have set up in Clontarf, where barely-worn Diane Von Furstenburg dresses and Chloe shoes mingle with jewellery, beautiful china, candles, pretty flower-shaped umbrellas, pictured, and yummy cakes. Lunch tickets cost €75 and all proceeds go to helping orphaned children in Russia.

Creative collaboration in Irish craft

The London Design Festival - until September 21st - is an ambitious bringing-together of many aspects of the creative industry loosely known as design. Glassware, chairs, textiles, technology, wallpaper, you name it, the Design Festival has deconstructed and re-imagined it.

Also to be seen is new work from contemporary Irish designers and craftspeople, in an exhibition called Weathering, curated by Steven McNamara, founder of Roji Designs. As well as pieces by Woodenleg, pictured, Jack Doherty, 31 Chapel Lane and Cushendale Woollen Mills, Weathering includes a series of ambitious collaborations between craftspeople. There's the chair designed by Andrew Clancy of deanta Design and boat builder Matthew O'Malley, and the pepper mills designed by Makers & Brothers that have been handcrafted by wood turner Matt Jones. Another chair, the Stanley Lounge Chair, created by Horizon Furniture, has been upholstered in Donegal Tweed by Molloy & Sons. Basketmaker Joe Hogan will give live demonstrations of his art, creating simple, functional baskets from the willows of Loch na Fooey in Galway. This is Irish craft and design at its excellent contemporary best.

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