Hot list: What we want to see, do and buy this weekend
The stress that come with packing for holidays can often know no bounds. The ambition is always to develop a fashion editor-esque ability to plan the perfect sun lounger-to-dinner capsule wardrobe.
The reality is often an assortment of ill-chosen floaty things and only one swimsuit that actually suits you. The good people at Finery London have made the summer clothes challenge a little easier with a very stylish holiday range - the label's first. It's a colourful collection of mix-and-match bikinis, sundresses, shorts and other stylish separates that will have you sartorially ready for all possible occasions.
BUY: Bartley button-through dress, €89.57; BT2 and finerylondon.com
From today, a new exhibition in Castletownbere celebrates selected islands along the Irish coast. The Island-Oileán project is a collaboration between artist Angie Shanahan, painter Jacqueline O'Driscoll and ceramicist Eileen Singleton. The four-week show also features a short film by Aisling Browne.
DETAILS: Island-Oileán: Sarah Walker Gallery, The Pier, Castletownbere, Co Cork. See sarahwalkergallery.com
The Galway Arts festival launches on Monday. Musical highlights are Elvis Costello and the Attractions (above), Imelda May and Damien Dempsey, and Suede at the Big Top. Leading artist Hughie O'Donoghue has an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures, and there's also the world premiere of Enda Walsh's new play, Arlington [a love story]. DETAILS: See giaf.ie for the full festival line-up
Irish brand Eleanor Hall Jewellery is all about the eye-catching and the dramatic, with the Dublin-based designer sourcing materials from all around the world to create her handmade, hand-finished designs. As well as her own designs, EHJ also offers vintage accessories, including some beautiful brooches, and pastel-hued miniature faux leather satchels, which are the perfect festival arm candy.
BUY: Starfish choker, €48; eleanorhalljewellery.com
The write stuff
This summer, Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre has begun The Maeve Binchy and Famous Irish Writers Walk, which takes place every Friday. Visitors can view the works of 45 artists, including Bono, Samuel Beckett and Binchy herself, before a walk along the streets of Dalkey - listening to anecdotes of famous writer encounters - finishing up in the Maeve Binchy Garden in Dalkey Library.
BOOK: Tickets €8.50, see dalkeycastle.com
If ever an accessory were to bring a smile to your face, it would have to be the delightful Cori bag, which forms part of Irish designer Emma Manley's new bag range. Made from textured Italian leather, the hand-crafted leather bows are held in place by silver dome studs. And the strap can be removed to transform it to a clutch for nights out.
BUY: Bag, €275; Available at Made, Powerscourt Town House, Dublin 2, and manley.ie
Now in its fifth year, the Blarney in Bloom Summer Garden Fair returns to Blarney Castle in Cork tomorrow. The event is an aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, with free entry for the under-12s, and features specialist plant nurseries, garden talks and a farmers' market. Tickets also includes entry to Blarney Castle's grounds and gardens, featuring the Poison Garden and its collection of lethal plants.
DETAILS: From 10am to 5pm, entry is €5; blarneycastle.ie
Brought to book
The literati will descend upon Bantry next weekend for the West Cork Literary festival. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem (right) will be discussing her memoir, My Life on the Road, and there's also an evening with husband and wife writers Nick Laird and Zadie Smith. Acclaimed authors John Banville and Louis de Bernières are also on the programme line-up. A children's festival is also running throughout the week with workshops and readings, and the ever-popular book clinic, where a 'doctor' diagnoses children's reading needs. The festival runs until July 23.
With more than 250,000 visitors expected, Laya Healthcare's City Spectacular, which comes to Fitzgerald Park in Cork next weekend, is Ireland's largest summer festival - and it's free. International street performance, interactive family events, workshops and more are taking place over the two days, with jaw-dropping performances from the likes of hula hoopist Lisa Lottie and former Cirque du Soleil acrobat Reuben DotDotDot among the line-up. There's also a dedicated international street food festival within the event, as well as kids' aerobics, yoga and dance classes.