Next Friday, October 3, is the third annual fashion show in aid of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Holles Street.
Held in the Four Seasons, this is a night of high glamour and serious fashion, with couture, ready-to-wear and vintage pieces on show from the country's top designers, including Louise Kennedy, Umit Kutluk, Helen Cody and Peter O'Brien.
Expect fabulous raffle prizes - overnight breaks and dinners at top hotels, make-overs, shopping sprees, spa visits, beauty hampers and jewellery - and plenty of social interaction as 500 guests gather for champagne and canapes, and to hear from Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of Holles Street, about the next phase of the National Maternity Hospital Foundation. This was set up in 2012, by Dr Mahony, and aims to support the work carried out at The National Maternity Hospital.
Last year, showing the remarkable reach and appeal of the foundation, over €1m was donated towards the first dedicated maternity hospital MRI scanner in Ireland. This year, the sky is the limit.
The jams, jellies, marmalades and preserves made by Veronica Molloy at Crossogue House in Tipperary's Golden Vale are a classic Irish food success story.
Begun in the kitchen of the house, using recipes from her mother-in-law Nancy Molloy, and sold to a few local delis and country markets, Veronica steadily graduated to what is now a significant business, with a wide range of delicious products, and a shelf-full of awards. Most recently, Crossogue Preserves won gold medals at the 2014 Great Taste Awards, generally known as the food Oscars - double gold for the Lime and Tequila Marmalade, and gold for the Sugar Free Marmalade.
True to their artisan background, Crossogue's products are made in small batches by hand, using high quality ingredients. The Lime and Tequila Marmalade features barrel-aged Don Julio Tequilla Resposado as well as lime, lemon and sugar, while the Sugar-Free Marmalade is made from Seville oranges, lemons, xylitol instead of sugar, agar agar, and a whole lotta love.
Orla Kiely, John Rocha, Paul Costelloe - all household names across Ireland and well beyond, all responsible for the great and glorious revolution that has happened in Irish craft in the last ten years.
From fading cottage industries and dying traditions, Irish craft has become synonymous with something cool, contemporary and highly desirable. And it is an ample, eclectic category, including the exquisite tailoring of Aideen Bodkin and Fee G, along with sophisticated jewellery by Maureen Lynch and stunning pottery by Colm De Ris. A younger generation is now storming up behind, with artists such as Niamh O'Neill and Chupi. And to celebrate this vibrant scene, Kilkenny stores are hosting the Kilkenny Irish Craft and Design Week from October 6 to 12, a showcase and celebration of all that's best.
Live in-store demonstrations and workshops offer a chance to meet designers, while a €20 voucher for every €70 spent means the opportunity to acquire something unique and Irish.
As nights draw in, indoor lighting becomes more important, a way to set a scene, create a mood, and generally cheer up the long winter evenings. Atticus and Stone make pretty, practical candle-holders and decorations for shelves, window sills and chimney-pieces.
From tiny, decorative tea-lights to larger, more robust hurricane shades and pillar candlesticks, some in crystal, some tinted gold or red, these are cheerful, inexpensive ways to add glow and warmth to a room, and will act as a visual focus-point.
Atticus and Stone are available through Carraig Donn, originally a small West of Ireland store, now fast establishing themselves, both online and through their nationwide stores, as a significant one-stop source of well-tailored fashion, jewellery and knitwear. They also do some really cute homewares, including vintage pattern biscuit tins, framed artworks, china mugs and Waterford crystal bowls.
In an age of lifestyle cookery books, many aimed at the time-poor and slightly reluctant, it is interesting to come across something doing the exact opposite. Gubbeen, The Story of a Working Farm, is part-history, part-mission statement, part-recipe book.
Written by Giana Ferguson, who began the story in 1975 by turning surplus milk from the family farm into delicious washed rind cheese, the book charts the generations in which the Ferguson family have farmed the land, and the remarkable innovations they have made in this corner of West Cork.
There is a wonderful section by Tom Ferguson on the life of a farmer, from early mornings pre-dawn among the cows, through the many tasks and rituals of the day, and even a guide to keeping chickens. The recipes are dishes tried and tested by the family over years, many concentrating on using cheeses, poultry, charcuterie and pork from the farm. Think the best scrambled eggs, boiled chicken with Spanish rice, mushroom ketchup and a fantastically easy, excellent recipe for sponge cake, beginning with the simple instruction to weigh the eggs in their shells, then weigh equal amounts of sugar, butter and flour.
Do you know how to make a patchwork quilt? Or knit a child's Aran jacket? Crochet a baby's bonnet and bootees?
More importantly, do you regret the passing of these traditional crafts and wonder whether you could turn your hand to them, if only you had someone to teach you? If so, the Irish Countrywomen's Association is here to help. Practising all the same values of thrift, making-do, upcycling and general championing of traditional crafts as the members themselves, the, new ICA Book of Crafts is a jolly, easy-to-follow and inventive selection of 40 projects to undertake at home. Everything from tissue paper pompons to rag rugs and smocking, this is a delightful series of suggestions and hints.
The ICA has always taught and encouraged crafts, and this is a way of sharing the many skills and expertise that might otherwise be neglected, accompanied by beautiful photos and genuinely easy-to-follow instructions. There is even a simple how-to for Carrickmacross lace, for anyone who fancies a Kate Middleton wedding moment. This is a fantastic gift, or indeed source of many gifts . . .
Book of Crafts is published by Mercier Press, €22.99