Pack your blanket and wellies, it's Picnic time
If you haven't got your tickets safe by now, it's going to take a miracle to acquire some. The Electric Picnic might just be the country's favourite music festival at this stage, with tickets selling fast and furious the moment they go on sale.
This year's line-up is a dream, and a showcase of everything the festival has become famous for - a combination of big-names with big-credibility acts, as well as the new and unexpected, and the quirky and hilarious. Grace Jones, The Boomtown Rats, Blur, Roisin Murphy, Underworld, Florence and the Machine, Le Galaxie and more - far, far more - together with plenty of entertaining sideshows, including the Current Affairs and Political Cabaret, Leviathan 3-D Debate, the Hot Press Chat Room. And then there's the food factor - offerings from Domini and Peaches Kemp, JP McMahon, the Happy Pear guys, Joe Macken and many more, meaning festival-goers are well-fed as well as entertained and educated. And that's not even counting the weather-predictors who swear its going to be a scorcher. . . Yes, it's all about September 4-6 right now.
One year on and all's well in a much tastier Ringsend
The Artisan Parlour and Grocery in Ringsend was opened by Martin Thomas a year ago, to a few quiet naysayers who muttered that it would 'never work'. One year on, and they have been converted into enthusiastic supporters, won round by the policy of "honest Irish grub" that Martin operates.
Voted one of Paolo Tullio's Top Nine Places To Eat in 2015, the Artisan Parlour serves things like slow roasted Ardee pork belly with lettuce, tomato and mustard mayo on good bread, and their famous Crowe's smoked ham hock and Hegarty's cheddar toastie topped with wholegrain mustard bechamel sauce. In doing so, they are bolstering a growing tradition of good food, well-sourced and well-served, around the area, extending the vibrant new dining scene beyond Grand Canal Street and down into Irishtown. With a clientele made up of locals as much as the new tech workers, they are clearly doing something very right.
Ludick takes his unique designs from ceramics vases to rugs
Andrew Ludick is an artist working in ceramics, creating bowls, jugs, vases and broches that are elegant, witty and very pleasing on the eye. Born in the USA, he studied Illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio before moving to Ireland in 2003, where he now lives in Kilkenny. Influenced by Native American and African indigenous art and music, as well as artists and musicians such as Paul Klee, John ffrench, Peter Bruegel, Lester Young and Thelonious Monk, Ludick's work is nevertheless very much his own; distinctive and attractive. Recently, as part of Irish Design 2015, Andrew has collaborated with Ceadogan Rugs, the Co Wexford company who create contemporary designer rugs and wall-hangings, in wools and silks, often designed for specific spaces. Together, Andrew and Ceadogan have produced a wonderful series of rugs and hangings, building on the ceramic designs, but on a much larger scale, and entirely in keeping with Andrew's style.
Taste the difference in Donegal
The biggest gastronomic extravaganza of the North West is undoubtedly The Taste of Donegal, running from August 28-30 in a specially-built tented village on the pier at Donegal town, set against a glorious backdrop of the Blue Stack mountains and Atlantic Ocean. Master of Ceremonies for the three-day event is the genial general manager of Harvey's Point Hotel, Noel Cunningham. With well over 100 food and drink exhibitors, including top hotels and restaurants, this is an action-packed foodie festival. The many stalls will showcase and sell artisan produce, wine and craft beers from all over Ireland and the UK, with tastings from a variety of producers of confectionery, specialist foods, meat, fish, and dairy products, as well as high-profile cookery demonstrations by celebrity chefs, including Catherine Fulvio, Neven Maguire and Kevin Dundon. Then there are master classes in a variety of skills, including cheese and tofu-making, as well as the 2015 Passion To Inspire Chefs Competition.