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It’s back to reality with the Saturday Night Show


Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Airfield House

Airfield House

Strictly Laura Lynn

Strictly Laura Lynn

Baby elephant at Dublin Zoo

Baby elephant at Dublin Zoo

The Nualas

The Nualas


Brendan O'Connor

Summer is over and nothing signals a welcome return to normal as much as autumn scheduling on TV.

And so, with a sigh of relief, we can all begin to tune back into The Saturday Night Show each week. Over the last years, host Brendan O'Connor has set the agenda, made headlines and changed the way we view the world around us just a little bit.

There was Panti-gate, of course, followed by a sparkling debate on homophobia, Linda Martin singing Daft Punk, and Antony Worrall Thompson's first TV interview after being arrested for shop-lifting, as well as excellent interviews with Donal Walsh, Michael Harding, Jonathan Irwin and Peaches Geldof.

With that kind of track record, we can expect a season of headline happenings and water-cooler moments, kicking off with a bombshell revelation about one of the cast of RTE's new series Connected, an interview with Mark Cagney among others, and live action from the hotel where the brand-new winning All-Ireland team will be celebrating.



Something old something new-to-you

Was there ever a more promising observation than 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'? So it often is with antiques.

A piece that someone else has discarded or sold because it is too old, too large, too out-of-keeping with modern lines, will be fallen upon by someone else with cries of joy.

And increasingly, it is not furniture but gold and silverware, paintings and jewellery that buyers are drawn to. As investments and objects to be admired and cherished, these kinds of antiques do double-service: beautiful and beneficial.

The 49th Irish Antique Dealers Fair will take place from Thursday 25th September to Sunday 28th, in the RDS. On display will be antiques and collectables from established dealers and traders, along with talks on conservation, restoration and interior decoration.

A perfect chance to try your hand at the most pleasing of all successes: spotting something rare and valuable that others have over-looked.



Starry night dance-off for sick children

Laura Lynn is the only hospice care for children in Ireland, provided free to the families of children with life-limiting illnesses. Respite, transitional and crisis care are provided without charge, along with end-of-life care and ongoing support for tragically bereaved families.

The charity was started by Jane McKenna on the simple basis that "all children who need us, can access us." In order to raise funds for this essential service, Miriam O'Callaghan recently launched Strictly LauraLynn, a glam-and-glitz dance contest to be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Santry on Saturday 27th September at 7pm.

Judges are X Factor's Melanie McCabe and dancer Don King Rongavilla, and contestants will first perform a group sequence, then each couple will take to the floor with a selection of moves, including the cha cha and salsa. For the hilarity alone, this is pretty compelling, factor in the wonderful cause, and it's irresistible.



Talks to open up the world of gardening

Airfield is a city oasis, a breath of fresh country air in the heart of Dundrum, and a chance to visit chicks, ponies, pigs and cows, as well as explore the walled garden, greenhouse garden, vineyard and woodland. Equally engineered for children and adults, this is a charming way to spend a morning or afternoon, and with a jolly good café to round it off.

Throughout autumn, a series of monthly talks aimed at adults will open up the worlds of gardening, vegetable growing and herbal medicines. First up is Marina Kessopersadh, with Herbal Health for the Winter Months on September 27th, followed by Helen Dillon, Keeping the Show on the Road on October 25th and finally Klaus Laitenberger with Organic Vegetable Growing.

All are hugely credible and experienced within their fields, with a wealth of knowledge and top tips to share. Talks start at 11am and last about an hour-and-a-half.


Animal encounters at Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo is one of the city's great success stories, with close to a million visitors a year. A 28-hectare expanse of cleverly-designed and attractive plants, plains and water features, closely mirroring the natural habitats of the many animals who live here, this is one of the finest zoos in Europe and a model of good practice.

Luckily, it is also a delight to visit. As well as the excellent education and conservation projects, there is a highly successful breeding programme that means we all get to say 'ahhh!' when we spot a tiny lion cub, giraffe or zebra foal.

Over the summer, two baby elephants were born, and September is, fittingly, the Month of the Elephant, and included a naming ceremony for the two newcomers, now called Kave and Ashoka.

For their first weeks, these calves were barely visible, so protected were they by the herd, but now, as they get bigger and stronger, they can be seen trotting around. The keeper talk 'Elephant Encounters' happens at 12.30pm every day, which seems a pretty perfect time to visit.



Festival and family fun at Clifden

The 37th Clifden Arts Festival is an example of something that has gathered gravitas and glory as it has rolled along, with a busy and impressive line-up of things to do, see, hear and watch this year.

Among the many highlights, we are looking forward to Druid Theatre's version of Tom Murphy's powerful Bailegangaire, the story of a town without laughter, directed by the always-impressive Garry Hynes, with Marie Mullen, Aisling O'Sullivan and Catherine Walsh in the leading roles.

The hugely-influential composer Sean O'Riada is remembered by Micheal O'Suilleabhain, a former student of his, on piano and harpsichord, with Mel Mercier on percussion. Sean O'Connor will read from

Growing Up So High: A Liberties Childhood, and Paul Durcan will read too. There will be comedy from The Nualas, left, and exhibitions by Ian Wieczorek, Corey Naughton and Mieke De Roeck, along with film, dance, field trips, street theatre, oh, and a Johnny Cash tribute band, Walk The Line. Throughout, a general air of spirited fun will keep the action and energy bowling along nicely.


Sunday Independent