Hot list: What we want to see, do and buy this weekend
You'll find it categorised under 'bridesmaids' on the website but the new occasion-wear collection by Oasis could arguably work just as well for the ordinary wedding guest or any special event.
Available exclusively online and created by the Oasis in-house design team, it offers up pretty pastel pleated numbers, slinky cowl-necked evening dresses and flattering midi frocks with removable lace tops. The collection also includes kitten sandals in three shades, which have plenty of leg-lengthening potential but are also comfortable enough to wear all night on the dance floor.
BUY: Dresses from €110; oasis-stores.com
At first light
From March 19-21, the OPW will open Cairn T at Loughcrew, Meath, one of the oldest monuments in the country for the spring equinox sunrise. The Loughcrew Megalithic Centre has a number of events planned around the equinox such as dreamcatcher-making and incense-making workshops, guided meditation, yoga and walking tours. The centre also offers accommodation for those who wish to visit the cairns for sunrise.
Join the parade
The country is awash today with colourful and exciting festivals. The theme in Limerick is 'Circus', celebrating 250 years since Philip Astley created the modern circus. Cork's theme is 'Democracy for All - 100 Years of the Vote for Women' and Spraoi will use large puppets to showcase the impact of the women's suffrage movement.
DETAILS: limerick.ie and corkstpatricksfestival.ie
Given the day that's in it, we are irresistibly drawn to Lulu + Belle's faceted green onyx earrings. Sandra and Andre Pokrant are behind the hand-made jewellery brand, based in Skerries, and their work is often inspired by the North Dublin coastline. The gemstones drop from a rolled gold marquise dangle on hand-forged ear wires, and at 4cm they're a subtle rather than in-your-face statement. Also worth checking out are the brand's freshwater pearl bracelets.
BUY: Earrings, €65; luluandbelle.com
Tonight sees the world premiere of Sweeney, based on Seamus Heaney's Sweeney Astray at Dublin's National Concert Hall, composed by Neil Martin with singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and narrator Stephen Rea, and presented by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. Sweeney Astray is Heaney's version of the Irish medieval work Buile Suibhne about a king cursed by a saint and driven mad.
DETAILS: Tickets from €15, nch.ie
Bogwood cigar pens, attractive beech egg cups and superb salad bowls are just some of the items hand-crafted by Conor Lynch. The Co Offaly-based woodturner balances his time between studying for an engineering degree and his craft, and was previously featured on Junior Dragons' Den, having invested his Confirmation money in a wood-turning lathe. Mainly self-taught, his contemporary pieces take several hours to complete and will be appreciated by anyone who favours simple, elegant design.
BUY: Pair of birch tea light holders, €35; conorlynchwoodturning.com
A celebration of the finer things in life runs from March 23-25 with the Eatyard and Bernard Shaw Wine and Cheese Festival in Dublin. Tastings, demos and cheesy karaoke are promised and vendors include Piglet, Corleggy Cheeses, Toons Bridge and Green Man Wines, with dishes like raclette being specially made for the weekend.
DETAILS: Tickets (€10) are optional but guarantee entry, glass of wine on arrival and €10 currency to be spent anywhere at the event; the-eatyard.com
A great family day out awaits at the Slieve Aughty Centre, Loughrea, Co Galway, with its Spring Festival taking place next Saturday and Sunday, open from 12pm-6pm. Children can go fairy-spotting and follow the Easter Bunny in the Enchanted Forest. They can also pet ponies and other farm animals, make a spring craft to take home, get their faces painted, and the entire family can try out a silly spring wardrobe for a family photo. After exploring the woodlands, the organic café here beckons for a cup of tea and moreish treats such as pancakes.
DETAILS: Entry €5 per person, open 12pm-6pm; slieveaughtycentre.com
Brought to book
Dún Laoghaire gears up for its annual and much-lauded book festival, Mountains to the Sea, from March 21-25. One of its themes is 'Cities and Stories', where writers explore how their locales shaped their work, and 'Present Tense', with contemporary writers reflecting on political change. New for this year is 'Lyric Note', where writers connect with musicians, and includes 'A Way with Words', which sees author Joseph O'Connor (above) reading, accompanied by Philip King and folk band Scullion. Another highlight is a conversation with Baileys Prize-winning, Man Booker-shortlisted author of the best-seller Autumn, Ali Smith.