It’s the last weekend in November. Chances are, some of you have tickets for U2 (they’re still in town, you know).
But hey, even if you’re not heading along to see the greatest rock show in the world, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in this fine city of ours over the next three days. Why not start with this lot?
The Acoustic Gig
The hardest-working band in Ireland touch down in Dublin 2 for their first ever headline show at the National Concert Hall tomorrow night. FYI, the ‘Home Again’ tour is an acoustic jaunt, but these lads are the real deal, with or without their distortion pedals (if you haven’t already picked up the magnificent Night Becomes Light, we suggest you stick it on your Santa list now). Four albums in and the boys will be rearranging some of their finest material with the help of a few very special guests. Unmissable.
Saturday, 8pm. Tickets priced €25 available at www.nch.ie
The Christmas Festival
Now in its fourth year, the annual Christmas on the Square shindig marks the beginning of the festive season in style. What we have here is the very best in Irish design, craft, culture, food and drink, as the Georgian houses of Merrion Square open up for a unique yuletide event featuring a craft market, lunchtime concerts, a carol singing workshop, Nialler9’s Vinyl Love, screenings, pop-up shops and cafes and a very special visit from the big guy in the red suit. We can’t wait.
Saturday, 10am - 5pm. Free entry. For a full programme of events, visit www.merrionsquare.ie
William Golding’s acclaimed 1954 novel, in which a gang of young fellas are stranded on a deserted island in the Pacific following a plane crash, gets the stage treatment. It’s actually a Regent’s Park Theatre production – the same company that brought To Kill a Mockingbird to these shores earlier this year. And whaddaya know? Lord of the Flies is also on the Junior Cert curriculum. It looks all kinds of epic, folks…
Tonight (7.30pm) and tomorrow (2.30pm & 7.30pm). Tickets priced €15 - €45 available at www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie.
The Next Big Thing
This is the band that Hozier has championed since day one. They’ve been on tour with him and everything. A debut album has yet to surface, but we suspect there are big plans for 2016. Indeed, Karen, Saoirse and Caoimhe - everyone’s favourite folk pop trio from Bray - could be huge this time next year. Catch ‘em in an intimate setting while you still can…
Saturday, 8pm. Tickets priced €15 available at www.whelanslive.com.
The Comedian #1
Do you know what we’ve been doing for the past seven minutes? We’ve been watching Nina Conti’s superb Live at the Apollo skit on YouTube in which the British ventriloquist presents a masterclass in improvised comedy. If Nina’s new show, In Your Face, is half as funny as that clip, then we’re in for a treat at Vicar Street tonight. Put it this way - Nina ain’t your average puppet master. Let’s just say that audience participation is crucial, and that every night is different. Oh, and Nina’s routine involves masks. Hilarious stuff altogether…
Tonight, 7.30pm. Tickets priced €25 available at www.ticketmaster.ie.
The Night Out
Funky Seomra, Ireland’s premier, alcohol and drug-free nightclub “for body, heart and soul”, celebrates its 7th anniversary this weekend at Filmbase, Temple Bar. We’re talking three floors complete with banging tunes, chair massages, a juice and smoothie bar, chill-out areas (they’ve got Buddha bags), an organic cafe, art installations, live musicians and much, much more. You know the rules. It’s gonna be a night to remember…
Saturday, 9pm. Adults only. Tickets €15 on the door. For more, visit www.dancefree.ie.
The Comedian #2
What, another night of comedy in the heart of Dublin 8? Sure, why the hell not. The Canadian king of the one-liners, stand-up genius Stewart Francis brings the ‘Pun Gent Tour’ to Ireland. What’s he like? Well, there’s a clue in the title, but how about this for a sample of Francis’ deadpan wit: “Did I already do my déjà vu joke?” Come on, that’s kinda brilliant…
Saturday, 7.30pm. Tickets priced €25 available at www.ticketmaster.ie.
The Big Concert
Don’t you forget about them. Oh yes, one of the biggest Scottish rock bands of all time are almost 40 years on the go, and this weekend, Jim Kerr and the boys take over that big-old shed on the docklands, the night after Bono and his gang move out. Makes sense, when you think about it. Expect one or two tunes from the group’s latest studio effort, Big Music (their 16th album), and plenty of hits, too (Alive and Kicking is on the set list, obviously). The Stranglers provide support…
Sunday, 6.30pm. Tickets from €50.65 available at www.ticketmaster.ie.
Panto season kicks off this weekend. This year, the Helix presents a brand new version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Uh, do we really need to go into the plot? Of course not. All you need to know is that there are magic beans and a, um, massive beanstalk…and a whole lotta messin’ about with the giant upstairs. Niall Sheehy plays Jack, with Eoin Cannon, Aidan Mannion, Colin Hughes, Adam Lynch, Liam Butler, Orla Jennings and Danielle Williamson completing the cast. Oh, and the giant is behind you (oh no, he isn’t). Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves…
Previews start tonight - running until January 10th. Tickets from €18.50 available at www.thehelix.ie.
The Winter Fest
Oh, go on then. It’s exactly four weeks to Christmas, so I think we can make room for one more seasonal fair. Actually, the National Print Museum’s Winter Fair at Garrison Chapel, Dublin 4, is about so much more than Christmas. Now in its fifth year, we can expect a “winter wonderland”, apparently, with all kinds of market stalls selling everything from letterpress posters and fine art prints to beautiful jewellery and crafts, featuring creations and designs courtesy of Nordic Makers, Saba Jewellery and Mary Plunkett of The Belgrave Private Press, to name but a few. We hear they have mulled wine, too. That’s us sold.
Friday – Sunday. Free admission. For opening hours and more, visit www.nationalprintmuseum.ie.