What to do this Weekend in Ireland – Gigs, Art, Films, TV, Theatre and History

If the thoughts of getting deep down ‘n’ durty like you’re X-Tina in the mud-slinging horrorfest that is Electric Picnic gives you the willlies, then read on. Here’s what to do in Ireland this weekend if you’re not donning your Hunter wellies and downing cans at Electric Picnic. And if you are going to the picnic, may the force be with you. I’m looking at you, Niall.



Several years back I saw Prime Cut Theatre’s production of David Harrower’s Blackbird. It broke my heart and intrigued me in equal measures. Challenging all of society’s values, this is one story with a hell of a shocking twist.  Una is an adaptation of Harrower’s boundary-shattering play . A young woman (Rooney Mara) shows up unannounced to an older man’s place of work. Their relationship is unclear but we soon find out the significance of their historical bond. Do not go alone. I repeat, do not go alone. Bring a Niall, or a Brian. Definitely not a Cecil. You’ll be thinking about this one for weeks. In cinemas nationwide from Friday 1 September.

Pulp Fiction at the Sugar Club

Get the gang together for the full Pulp Fiction experience at the Sugar Club this weekend (Friday and Saturday). With table service in the booths, popcorn on the ready and cocktails a flowing, the jungle boogie is calling us to get down. Bring your dancing shoes –  Critters from the Swamp are playing directly afterwards – spinning some tunes from classic rock, garage, rockabilly, soul and funk into the early hours of the night.


Narcos Season 3

Forget Pablo Escobar’s pornstache – there’s a new mo in town and it’s nothing like our Willie O’Dea’s but not a patch on Niall’s hirsute visage. The drug trade is still alive and kicking in Columbia but dishy DEA agent Javier Peña (GOT’s Pedro Pascal, also not a patch on Niall) is determined to bring the cartel down once and for all. Season 3 of Narcos premiers this Saturday 1 September on Netflix. Just try to save some for later, OK? Who am I kidding? It’s addictive as a push-pop!

Portlandia Season 7

You can’t pickle this sketch show but you can certainly binge watch it. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play a series of characters from a pair of obnoxious rent-a-hipsters to the organic police type douchebags demanding to see every stage of their food production (literally from farm to fork), a couple of over-zealous picklers and last but not least, my personal favourites, the droll bookstore feminists.Why do I love this show? There are no holds barred – finally we have a show that isn’t afraid of the politically correct pedants. Niall will probably love it because he has great taste.


A beautiful, delicate and deeply poignant look at the cruelty of the meat industry done in a really clever, non-antagonistic and at times, funny way. Okja really made me question my choices and by God, was Jake Gyllenhaal phenomenal (almost unrecognisable). Now can we please talk about Tilda? #tildaanonymous


Trad and Folk Festival

If you haven’t seen Kila live, get down to Whelan’s for the Trad and Folk Festival this weekend. It’s a truly mesmerising experience to watch lead singer Ronan O’Snodaigh who will have you faoi dhraoicht gan dabht (much like Niall would). Roots band I Draw Slow will attract Mumford and Sons fans and 8 piece outfit Jiggy defies categorisation with influences as diverse as Irish port a’ bhéil, Indian Konnakol, trad and hip hop. See ya later EP. From Fri 1 to Sunday 3 September. whelanslive.com


Women and the Irish Revolution 1917-23: Violence, Feminism, Nationalism 

Head to the Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street to explore the fierce AF women who played a major role in the Irish revolution between 1917 and 1923. Free, this Saturday at 9am. Check out Eventbrite for tickets.

Maritime Museum

Pop along to the Maritime museum in Dun Laoghaire for a tour of this architectual marvel, steeped in history and lore. Perfect if you have kids, this museum is super interactive: They can explore the old mariner’s radios, have a turn at navigating a makeshift ship,  learn how to master a sailor’s knot, fiddle with the deep-sea cable technology and see the Titanic exhibit.


Irish Museum of Modern Art

I can’t express how brilliant the programming is at IMMA this year. Huge kudos to the curators. Lucian Freud is without a doubt one of the greatest realistic painters of all time, better than most of the Freuds IMO. Freud Project features a selection of 30 of the artist’s finest paintings and 20 works on paper, heavily featuring portraiture, still life, animals and nature. His self-portrait (pictured below) is breathtaking. Housing another set of artistic luminaries, Nan Goldin and Vivienne Dick are showing alongside each other until 15 Octover. Both women were monumental figures in the feminist art sphere from the 1970s on, and are still relevant today. These three artists are iconic, so make sure to make it to IMMA before they close. All images via the press department of IMMA.

Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

I visited the Crawford a couple of months back and I was kind of blown away by how beautiful it is. You forget that when you’re not living in Cork. There are so many brilliant exhibitions on at the moment from Aideen Barry’s ingenious stop motion feminist film, Not to be Known to Under the Goldie Fish where maps, landscapes and architecture significant to the Cork people are in the spotlight. Running concurrently is What’s the Story?History, Memory, and Myth in an Age of Alternative Facts, an exploration of shared history, questionable facts and the unreliability of memory. How very Frielian. crawfordartgallery.ie


Katie Roche

Caoilfhionn Dunne is nothing short of a stellar performer and watching her on stage is electric. Hot on the heels of her wildly successful adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe, director Caroline Byrne collaborates with Dunne on Katie Roche, the journey of a woman with a blinding ambition and a whole lot of obstacles thrown in her path. See it now at the Abbey Theatre.

The Rivals

If you like your farce with a not-so-subtle bawdy joke and your bawdy jokes as ridiculous as a coiffeured, talcum-faced knave then you’ll love The Rivals on until Saturday at Smock Alley. Expect to laugh and cringe in equal measures.  smockalley.com

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is STILL ON! The Gate theatre is totally transformed now that Selina Cartmell is at the helm and the audience is invited to dress in 20s garb, follow the action around the rooms and even learn the Charleston from our very own Charlene McKenna (Ripper Street). Dying to go! On until 16 September. gatetheatre.ie

What are you doing for the weekend? The music is a bit sparse but let me know if I’ve missed anything good!

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