The pleasure list: Sunday afternoon delight at the NCH
The Sunday Matinee series at the National Concert Hall, now in its second year, is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, watching and listening to the best of the current generation of chamber music artists and established stars, with renowned operatic and concert performers, as well as a range of award-winning chamber ensembles and soloists.
British baritone Sir Thomas Allen performed Schubert's emotive and poignant Die Winterreise, the setting to music of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller, back in October, and today, at 3pm in the National Concert Hall, it is the turn of the renowned Austrian mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager, justly famous for her operatic and concert performances and recognised as one of the foremost interpreters of Richard Strauss and Mozart, who will perform with pianist James Sherlock, in a programme that includes pieces by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert and Liszt.
Next please - oh, please!
The truly organised will have done their Christmas shopping already, but for the rest of us - dare I say, normal folk? - now is the moment to begin thinking about what to get for family and friends. Nextdirect.com have made life, and present-buying, wonderfully easy, with a large and lovely selection of fashion, gifts, homewares, furniture and accessories. Beautiful bed linen, pretty candle holders and lamps, picture frames, luxurious cushions and throws, tea towels and ornate mirrors, there truly seems no end to the charming, useful and decorative things on offer here. Not to mention a full range of festive decorations, tree trimmings, cards and paper. And, good news, you can really get ready for Christmas with €15 off your first order over €30 at nextdirect.com. Their new collection is packed full of must-have collections for all the family. Just quote the code 'LIFE10', and get busy.
Seasonal market madness in Galway
We may have been slower than the rest of Europe to discover the joys of outdoor Christmas markets, but we have caught up in record time, so that now, nothing says seasonal festivities quite as clearly as those jolly little wooden huts selling everything from handmade toys to spiced wine and bratwurst sausages. In Galway, the Continental Christmas Market is back for its fifth year, running until Monday 22nd December, in Eyre Square. The square is transformed into a magical winter wonderland, scene of Christmas cheer and enthusiastic festivities, lit up by a thousand twinkling lights, with carols, live entertainment, and stalls offering Irish crafts, trinkets, festive food, gift ideas and more.
www. galwaychristmas market.ie
Taking history in hand at Newbridge Silverware
This year marks the 80th anniversary of one of our iconic brands, Newbridge Silverware. The company have been designing and crafting cutlery since 1934, taking their rightful place on the dining tables of those who believe that style and elegance will enhance the way we eat. Not only are Newbridge still creating beautiful tableware, they are also now the only such manufacturing plant left in Europe, using a team of highly trained craftsmen who continue to use the century-old techniques with which the brand began. To celebrate this remarkable achievement, Newbridge Silverware are expanding the cutlery range, increasing the accessory collection, and offering the opportunity to personalise cutlery. The Bead, Dubarry, Anna Livia, Continental Thread, Antique and Plain Fiddle patterns can all be engraved with initials, monograms or even a coat of arms. Perfect as an anniversary or wedding gift, this is a sure-fire way to create something special and enduring.