Monthly Archives: September 2013

The art of the matter

The day was warm, the sky blue – a perfect day to visit the Sculpture In Context in the National Botanic Gardens. The exhibition series that began in 1985 has been held in various places around Dublin; namely, Dublin Castle, Farmleigh and Kilmainham Gaol to mention a few. But since 2002 it has found a home in the Gardens, and a most suitable home it is too.


The Gallery


Sun Offering

In the Visitor Centre I got a Map & Guide to the Gardens, and then went upstairs to the Gallery where a number of  small exhibits are on show. The room, with a long wave-like glass wall looking onto the Gardens beyond, is a real treat  and a wonderful space for an exhibition. And the sun streamed in showing the exhibits ‘in the best light’. There are just enough pieces on show to make it comfortable to move about easily and view all the exhibits. Some rest on window ledges, some on small stands like Sun Offering by Eamonn Ceannt which might the smallest piece on show. Everyone will find something of interest and the colours are intriguing.



 Outside, check your map and head off on botanical mystery tour. Every path leads to something interesting, and you should keep your eyes wide open so as to spot the exhibits in unexpected places. It’s fun, a long way away from the small galleries where they are usually shown. Children, especially, love the colours and the playful, entertaining settings. Pieces can be found in trees, gardens, the Great Palm House, ponds and lawns. 


Pack of Packmen!

 At the end of the Gardens, near the ponds, a number of ‘fishy’ exhibits are not to be missed. Also, there is the recently unveiled ‘What Is Life?’ piece by Charles Jencks. It celebrates the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick, for which they won the  1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Watson, who was on hand when the piece was unveiled in April, said he was inspired to study chemistry when he read Erwin Schrödinger’s famous paper What is Life? in the 1940s. The great Austrian scientist, who was living in Dublin at the time, presented his groundbreaking work during a series of lectures in February 1943 in Trinity College.

So, if you go down to the Gardens today there is much to see and enjoy!


What Is Life?

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Mountains to Sea

The weather was great with the sun shining bright and warm on the crowds who attended the latest Mountains To Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire. There was a superb programme in place with many interesting and entertaining events catering for readers of all ages and likes. Be it literature, fiction, non-fiction, seminars on publishing, workshops, literary tours and interviews with famous writers – all were catered for. And, of course, there was plenty for the young readers and poetry lovers. But even the sunshine could not mask the cloud of Seamus Heaney’s recent passing. He was scheduled to be ‘in conversation’ in the Pavilion Theatre, and his absence from the festival which he had so graciously supported for many years was obvious and raw.


Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire

Due to prior arrangements I was out-of-town for the start of the festival, and missed out on a few special events. Having been a fan of Margaret Atwood’s writing for many years, missing her appearance was a regret. And the stroll with Declan Hughes (Festival Writer) around Dun Laoghaire, taking in places that featured in his crime novels would certainly have appealed. I like his books and getting information about them from ‘the horse’s mouth’ as it were, well, there’s really nothing more to say. Another time, maybe! I did, however, attend the Great-Ad-App-Tations in the Assembly Hall and thoroughly enjoyed the lively and informative discussion.


Festival Bookshop

Outside the grey clouds gathered, signalling a sudden end to our surprisingly, fine summer. The Festival Bookshop was busy, so I decided to head into the Pavilion Theatre and get a ticket to see Jo Nesbo, King of Nordic Noir,  in conversation next week with Declan Burke as part of the DLR Library Series. It would  be a crime to miss that, too!


Jo Nesbo – King of Nordic Noir

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