Monthly Archives: September 2017

Pop-in to the Pop-up!

Pop-in Shop

Pop-in Shop

Serendipity is a word I heard for the first time when I was eleven. A teacher in school mentioned it one day and I just liked the sound of it. I don’t know why that was but I never forgot it, unlike many more words that I subsequently heard!
And so it was by pure serendipity that I spotted the Pop-In Shop Book Shop at the corner of George’s Street, opposite the entrance to the People’s Park. And being a book fan I had to investigate – and that led to another surprise.

Books, books. books.....

Books, books. books…..

The shop is bright, mostly glass on its two public sides, and there were plenty of books on show. There was something for every taste, and the quiet rumble of chat as people moved about added to the friendly atmosphere.
The shop which is being run for one week only by comedian Kevin Gildea and, although he has never done anything like this before, he is enjoying the experience. As are the book lovers who I noted smiling when they saw the humorously, understated name for this temporary operation. For Kevin Gildea’s Brilliant Pop-Up Book Shop is a bright spot on the street and I look forward to once more being able to pop-in to the pop-up!

Kevin Gildea - the bookish comedian

Kevin Gildea – the bookish comedian

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Filed under Art, Dublin, Ireland

Mike Brookfield – Rock On!

Mike Brookfield - ripping it up!

Mike Brookfield – ripping it up!

Whelans was packed to the rafters (the only way!) for the Mike Brookfield Band’s latest gig that was a real stormer. The band showcased the new album BROOKFIELD, a fantastic mix of blues and rock that had the ‘best little venue in town’ crying for more. If you are a fan of Rory Gallagher or that other maestro Stevie Ray Vaughan then Mike Brookfield will blow you away with his blistering, peerless playing. And if the quieter, but intense, mood of old Slowhand himself (Eric Clapton) is your preferred taste then there is plenty here for you to enjoy. And his rendering of Jimi Hendrix’s classic Crosstown  Traffic was a belter. This is playing of the first order and that word awesome is, in this case, spot on. The three piece band are as tight a drum and showed a confidence and simpatico that was a joy to enjoy!

Are you read-y?

Are you read-y?

Bravo Brookfield!

Let's Play...

Let’s Play…

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Filed under Dublin, Art, Ireland

Dublin’s Culture Night – what fun!

Pearse Museum

Pearse Museum

It was busy in town with crowds visiting the many houses, galleries, houses, museums that took part in Culture Night. The pleasant, dry weather certainly helped matters, and everywhere there was excited talk as visitors moved from venue to venue. All in all it was a great event, and what I enjoyed most was the good nature and the genuine interest shown by Culture Vultures, both young and old!

The event has become one of the Dublin’s main attractions, for locals and tourists alike, and a real ‘must-see’. It offers unique opportunities to visit places that are often closed to the public and, as such, is engaging like no other event and growing year-on-year. And with venues from all corners of the city taking part; from Dunsink Observatory in the west to Windmill Lane Studios in the east and Malahide Castle in the north to the Pearse Museum in the south, there was something for everybody to see and enjoy. And, for those wishing to move quickly between venues there was a Free Culture Night Bus service. Yes, everyone was involved!

Dunsink Observatory

Dunsink Observatory

There is so much to see that you have to have a plan, something that is usually gets forgotten about after visiting a few venues. But that is part of the fun and it adds to the sense of discovery that is so important. That’s what happened to mine, anyway, but I was more than happy with I saw, and heard. For music is a big part of the event and there was so much on offer. There were formal shows in Dublin Castle and Smithfield Square and any number of impromptu performances in small venues and in the open air. Outside the National Gallery I saw four young trumpet players, in dress suits, playing Classical Music that got a loud round of applause. It was different, something that is very much the theme of the event.

Thomas Moore's harp

Thomas Moore’s harp

I enjoyed a guided tour of the recently, and beautifully revamped, National Gallery that was abuzz with excitement. Then it was along a noisy Nassau Street and into the beautiful Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street. This is a veritable treasure house of Irish history where you may indeed spend more time that you might have planned. You can see Ireland’s oldest manuscript that dates from the sixth century, and the collected works of the great singer and writer Thomas Moore, along with his harp. In the Meeting Room there are chandeliers and benches from the House of Lords that was abolished under the Act of Union of 1800.

Then it was into the Mansion House where the guide gave our group a very swift and informative tour of the building that has been the Mayoral Home since 1715, the oldest in the British Isles. The famous Rotunda was added in 1821 for the visit of King George IV, and ironically it was where the First Dáil assembled on 21st January 1919 and proclaimed the Declaration of Independence.

It was a great night and I just wish that I had the time to visit other wonderful places and meet more enthusiastic visitors. Maybe the organizers might consider extending the event to a two-night affair, but I am very happy to see it thrive and grow and continue to bring so much fun and excitement to so many.

The Mansion House

The Mansion House

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Filed under Art, Dublin, History, Ireland, Science

On the radio – 2

A few days ago I was delighted to be a guest on The History Show on Limerick City Community Radio, hosted by John O’Carroll. The two subjects who I talked about were:

  • Sir Hugh Lane – art dealer, promoter, gallery director and patron of Irish Art ; and
  • Jonathan Swift – scholar, writer, satirist, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral and hospital patron.

Both of these men made immense and unique contributions to Ireland that we still enjoy and, no doubt, will the generations to follow.

 

 

Sir Hugh Lane

Sir Hugh Lane

Dean Jonathan Swift

Dean Jonathan Swift

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Filed under Art, Dublin, History, Ireland, London