10 things to do in Dublin this weekend

The Coronas - November 2010. Photo: Dara Munnis

There’s a break in the Six Nations this weekend.

We just know that some of you are secretly delighted about this. Others, not so much. But fear not, there’s plenty to keep us busy until the rugby returns. Oh yes, it’s another jam-packed weekend in the capital. Luckily, we’ve got your whole itinerary planned out. You’re welcome…


Cake (General Release, 15A)

Jennifer Aniston in a low-budget, award-nominated indie drama? Okay then. We’ve been saying it for years – Aniston is a terrific actress. It’s just those incessant, money-making romantic comedies that don’t do her any favours. But things might be about to change. Hey, if former rom-com beefcake Matthew McConaughey can turn his career around and bag an Academy Award for his troubles, then anything is possible.

In fact, some critics felt that former gal pal Rachel Green should have bagged an Oscar nod of her own for her stark portrayal of a grieving mother who strikes up a friendship with the widower of a fellow chronic-pain support group member who recently committed suicide.

Yep, things get deep and Claire (Aniston) is in a bad place. Physically and emotionally broken, and addicted to pills and alcohol, Claire seeks comfort in the family of a woman she barely knew. It might not end well. Co-starring Sam Worthington, William H. Macy and the superb Anna Kendrick, Cake may just signal a major turnaround for America’s big-screen sweetheart. We hope.

THE HISTORY LESSON Pals: The Irish at Gallipoli, Collins Barracks

Well, technically, it’s a play. And what a magnificent play it is, too. The untold stories of the 7th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the First World War, what we have here is a stunningly-crafted theatrical undertaking, the always reliable ANU Productions and their skilled team of actors deploying wonderful effects, speech and movement to create an unforgettable piece of historic drama.

Soldiers share stories of horror and hope. John Cronin reminds us why he is one of the most gifted theatre actors in the country right now. For 60 minutes, we watch (and follow) as a small band of ordinary men and athletes take us from courtyard to bedside, as they grapple with the horrendous hardships of war. Prepare to be amazed.

Morning/afternoon show/exhibition, running until April 30. Tickets: €5. For show times and further info, visit www.pals-theirishatgallipoli.com.


P. Mac’s, Lower Stephen Street

We’ve been popping in here for a while now, and you know what we never noticed? That P. Mac’s – the pub formerly known as Bia Bar, now an accordingly-decorated, hipster-friendly rock boozer – does board games. As in, you can borrow and play them in here.

Crikey, we need our eyes tested. Or, you know, learn how to enjoy more than just the tasty craft beverages and snug smoking area out front (but isn’t that what bars are there for?). Anyway, it’s a smashing spot. ‘Smashing’ is a good word, right?

The cool kids would approve, wouldn’t they? Of course they would. Get on down for a drink (and a game or two).


Elephant & Castle, Temple Bar

We could mention the pancakes, you know (and, erm, we just did). Or, we could go on about the delicious homemade burgers. But let’s keep it simple: everything you have heard about the (legendary) spicy chicken wings in this restaurant is true. Good Lord, they’re something else, folks. Nice spot. Oh, and the Elephant & Castle stays open till 11.30pm. You know what to do.

For a full breakfast, brunch and lunch/dinner menu, visit www.elephantandcastle.ie.


80s Night at the Twisted Pepper, Middle Abbey Street

The website tells us two things. One: all proceeds from the Twisted Pepper’s 80s Night go directly to the Irish Cancer Society. Two: there’s a picture of Will Smith next to the event. So, yeah, we’re expecting some Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, thank you very much. A bit of Michael Jackson will do nicely, too…

Friday. Tickets: €6. Doors: 11pm. For more, visit www.bodytonicmusic.com.


Circus at the New Academy

One for Saturday night, this. Sticking with Middle Abbey Street, have you tried ‘Circus’ at the New Academy yet? You really should. It’s “the greatest show on earth”, apparently. There are aerial and onstage circus performances (obviously), carnival games, fire dancers and everything, not to mention four DJs across four rooms – that’s some club night right there. Bound to be something for everyone in the audience…

Tickets: €10 / €8. VIP bookings available. For more, visit www.theacademydublin.com.


The Coronas, 3Arena

Danny O’Reilly and chums have been with us for the best part of a decade. Have a think about that for a second. Indeed, treasured Dublin quartet The Coronas released their fourth studio album, The Long Way, last November. Those pesky Kodaline boys may have replaced the Coronas as the go-to Irish band for guitar-sprinkled, heart-on-sleeve pop-rock balladry, but sure look it, there’s plenty of room in this town for the both of ‘em.

One of the most nondescript music groups to ever come out of Ireland (we’re just being honest), O’Reilly’s gang step out of the cosy environs of the theatres and onto the big stage for what should be a massive night for everyone involved. And, we’ll be even more honest with you – these lads are a lot better live than they are on record. Seriously.

Saturday. Tickets priced €39 / €41 available at www.ticketmaster.ie.


Breaking Dad, Gaiety Theatre

The year is 2022 and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly is now Forty-Focking-Two. He’s also coming to terms with the fact that he may never play the egg-chasing game for Ireland. But hey, the recession is over, the “Celtic Phoenix” is in full swing and Bertie Ahern is back in power. So, things are good for the former southside ladies’ man / school rugby legend. Alas, his teenage daughter Honor’s new boyfriend, Traolach, may just ruin everything. And we mean EVERYTHING.

Believe the hype. The funniest (fictional) dysfunctional family show in town (say that ten times fast), Paul Howard’s Breaking Dad is a hoot, with an exceptional cast (Rory Nolan does good Ross and Laurence Kinlan is brilliant as his son, Ronan) and a sharp script to boot.

Indeed, after three live outings with the Rosser, writer Howard has finally found his feet as a playwright. There aren’t many celebrated newspaper-columns-turned best-selling novels-turned stage plays out there, you know. This just happens to be one of the good ones.

Friday (8pm) and Saturday (3pm / 8pm). Tickets from €27.50 available at www.ticketmaster.ie


Neil Delamere at Vicar Street

Didn’t we already mention the Fresh Prince above? Well, as it turns out, everyone’s favourite funny man / comedy documentary-maker from Offaly is back in Vicar Street this weekend with a brand new show, and you know what it’s called? The Fresh Prince of Delamere. We’ve seen him before – several times, in fact (he’s quite good). But whatever happens on that stage this weekend, we think he deserves an award for the title alone. Come on, it’s bloody brilliant.

Friday and Saturday. Tickets priced €25 available from www.ticketmaster.ie.


Collaborations 2015 at Smock Alley Theatre, Lower Exchange Street

A “festival of ideas”, Collaborations 2015 is basically a platform for emerging artists to present their work alongside that of established theatre-makers looking to try out something new. So yes, you could catch an early glimpse of something exciting here. The new plays are broken into blocks with each one lasting an hour and taking in either two short productions or one full-length show. Simple. It just kicked off this week, too, running until March 7…

Tickets: €12 / €10. For a full programme of events, visit www.smockalley.com.