Thursday, May 31, 2012

National Gallery of Ireland: The Meeting on the Turret Stairs

National Gallery of Ireland
One of the Gallery’s most popular watercolours, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton (1816-1900) is now installed in a specially made cabinet in the Millennium Wing. Due to its delicate nature, the Burton watercolour will be available to view for a limited time each week, as follows:

Monday: 11am-12noon

Wednesday: 11am-12noon

Saturday: 3pm-4pm

Mbuti Textiles at Douglas Hyde gallery

Also opening tomorrow is a collection in the Douglas Hyde gallery at the Nassau street entrance of Trinity College of Mbuti textiles.
Mbuti TextilesThe textile paintings in this exhibition were made by Mbuti pygmies of the Ituri rainforest in the Congo. The material, bark cloth, is created by men in the tribe; it is then decorated by women, using a mixture of charcoal and natural pigments. The designs are related to body painting and have traditional symbolic meanings; the textiles themselves are used as garments and objects of trade.As a 'Gallery 3' adjunct to the Mbuti textiles exhibition there will also be a display of African tribal hats in the entrance area.

Aleana Egan and at Hugh Lane

This exhibition opens tomorrow (1st June 2012). It's free and is on until 18th July 2012.
Aleana Egan
The promo tells us "Aleana Egan's art is predominantly intuitive and subjective; she uses simple materials, assembled or barely transformed, to create enigmatic works that have a restrained tone and structure. She groups these pieces into installations that are oddly ambivalent; on the one hand she draws our attention to the way things look, how they settle, sag, curve, or hang; on the other, her forms and shapes act as traces or memories, and as a tentative articulation of shifting responses to remembered places or everyday moments. Gaps and absences are at the heart of what Egan does, and this is what makes her work a little puzzling. Similarly, her frequent literary and historical allusions, which are never explained, are reticent and elliptic."

Revolutionary States: Home Rule and Modern Ireland at Hugh Lane

This is an exhibition I hope to get to this weekend, but it is on until the 21st October at the Hugh Lane gallery on Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
Revolutionary States: Home Rule and Modern IrelandRevolutionary States: Home Rule and Modern Ireland
"2012 is the centenary of the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill to the British Parliament. Although passed, Home Rule was never implemented due to the outbreak of World War I. Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane is marking this historic milestone with the exhibition, Revolutionary States: Home Rule and Modern Ireland, which explores the political and cultural context. The Gallery is uniquely placed to tell the visual story of this turbulent and complex period in Irish history.

The exhibition features over 70 paintings, sculptures and drawings, from both the collection of The Hugh Lane and from The Ulster Museum. Many of Ireland’s finest portrait painters are represented including William Orpen, John B. Yeats, John Lavery, Sarah Purser and Sarah Cecilia Harrison. Stunning images of Irish life and landscape by artists such as Jack B. Yeats, Grace Henry, Seán Keating and Paul Henry are also included. Auguste Rodin, Jacob Epstein and Antonio Mancini add an international dimension."

Joyce's 'Dubliners': the city as character

I went to this exhibition and enjoyed it. It's quite small, at the bottom of the small gallery on the 1st floor (Gallery 1) but worth the visit.
It's on until the 15th July in the National Gallery (Clare street entrance) and is free in."This exhibition brings together sixteen atmospheric works from the Gallery's collection. It features paintings and watercolours by Walter Osborne, Rose Barton, Jack B. Yeats and William Orpen which give a sense of the city of Dublin as a character in itself."

National Gallery of Ireland,
Merrion Square West, (Entrance on Clare Street), 2, Dublin.

Terrifying French children's books - in pictures

Ha ha! very funny article in The Guardian today about scary french children's books. a selection below;
French book jackets: Ou est maman
French books: La visite de petite mort
French books: Le voleur de Lily
(The Thief of Lily!!! Yes truly!)
to see more go to;

Edward Hopper

The art of Edward Hopper set to Benny Goodman swing

I found this today on my web trawlings at

Halloumi and lentils with lemony soy dressing

Halloumi and lentils with lemony soy dressing
I saw this in my friend's Hello magazine and thought that it looked perfect for a dinner party starter.
For 4 ,Preparation and Cooking: 10 + 60 minutes
· 3 small beetroot, peeled and quartered
· 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
· 1 tbs  Soy Sauce
· 2 sprigs fresh thyme
· 200g puy lentils
· 250g halloumi cheese, sliced
· Mixed salad leaves
· 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
· juice ½ lemon
· 1 tbs Soy Sauce
1. Drizzle beetroot with balsamic and Soy Sauce, sprinkle with thyme then roast in an oven preheated to 200c / 180c fan for around 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile cook the lentils over a medium heat for 15-20 mins until cooked through but still retain a bite, drain and set aside to cool.
3. On a pre heated griddle pan cook the sliced halloumi for 1-2 mins per side.
4. Meanwhile whisk the dressing ingredients together.
5. Dress the lentils with half of the dressing reserving the rest for the salad leaves.
6. Serve with the halloumi, sliced beetroot and salad leaves

Bono to join Suu Kyi on Dublin stage

Aung San Suu Kyi visits Burmese migrant workers in Samut Sakhon, Thailand today during her first trip outside of Burma in 24 years. Photograph: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Bono will join fellow aid campaigner Sir Bob Geldof in a special tribute event to honour Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The U2 frontman will present the Nobel Peace Prize laureate with Amnesty International’s prestigious Ambassador of Conscience award at a public concert in Dublin next month...Ms Suu Kyi has agreed to attend the Electric Burma event the day after delivering her acceptance speech in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.
The lifelong democracy campaigner is expected to address a crowd of supporters outside the Dublin venue on the night...
The concert will take place at 4.45pm on Monday June 18th in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Dock. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 9am priced at €25

Orange prize 2012

So, Madeline Miller has won the Orange Prize 2012 with Song of Achilles.

I must say, I am a bit disappointed. I have read all the books on the longlist and I left this book half way through-I just got a bit bored.
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding, Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett,  There but for the by Ali Smith and The Submission by Amy Waldman would have made my shortlist and I can recommend them all as good reads.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Small Lives

This exhibition running at the National Photograhic archive has been running since last August and is coming to a close at the end of June. It is definitely worth a visit.
 Small Lives
National Photographic Archive,
Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, 2, Dublin.
tel: +353 1 6030200 (information)

Hurray! It’s National Fish and Chips Day

One of the first chip shops in Ireland.
YOU CAN BANISH the midweek blues today by getting some fish and chips for dinner tonight- and what’s even better is that they are going for half price.
The Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association (ITICA) members will be offering their customers half price fish and chips throughout the day as part of National Fish and Chip Day.

Jenson Button and friends hit up Dublin this weekend

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
This Saturday sees the arrival of some of the legendary stars of F1, including Jenson Button, as well as a rumoured Lewis Hamilton.

The Vodafone McClaren-Mercedes F1 team has been signed up for the Bavaria City Racing event in Dublin.

More than 10,000 people are expected to gather for the exhibition which will take to the streets of Dublin.

And after the event, it’s thought that Jenson and his friends will be revving it up in exclusive Dublin nightclub, Krystle, where he is said to have booked out the entire VIP area. Lewis Hamilton, as well as girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, who is the latest guest judge on the ‘X Factor’ panel, are also expected. Former Formula boss Eddie Jordan, who is the Bavaria City Racing Dublin ambassador, and former driver Eddie Irvine will also be there.

The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize

This is an annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.
Rahul Bhattacharya has won the £10,000 RSL Ondaatje Prize, for his debut novel The Sly Company of People Who Care (Picador) about 'the history and inhabitants and landscape of Guyana’.
The Sly Company of People Who Care: A Novel
Also on the shortlist for the 2012 were:
Julia Blackburn Thin Paths
Teju Cole Open City
Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts Edgelands
Olivia Laing To the River
Tim Robinson Connemara

USA Today Summer Books preview

USA Today has a nice preview page of summer books. Some are US focused of course but its a good article to scan for ideas.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club-Mia March
The Next Best Thing-Jennifer Weiner
Wife 22-Melanie Gideon

The 500-Matthew Quirk
XO-Jeffrey Deaver
Jack 1939-Francine Mathews

The Orphan Master-Jean Zimmerman
Into The Darkest Corner-Elizabeth Haynes
The Yard-Alex Grecian

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

AAAh! Californian Squee Lion Pup Born at Dublin Zoo

Announcement from Dublin Zoo;
"Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a male Californian sea lion pup born early last Tuesday morning (22nd May). The pup, born to mum Seanna, weighs approximately 3kgs. The young pup joins his mother Seanna, his 3 year old sister Flo and another female sea lion Cassie in their habitat.
Californian sea lions are born on land and without the ability to swim so for the first day of his life, the pup’s mother stayed with him on land. On day two, Mum led the pup to water and taught him how to swim. Californian sea lions are fast learners and the pup has become a comfortable swimmer after just a few days. However his mother still keeps a close eye on him when he is in the water."

‘Sealion Splash’ happens at 2.15pm every day. A good time for visitors to come  see the pup splashing about with his family.

Rewriting the Rules of Summer Fiction

The Big Debut- Karen Thompson Walker, 'The Age of Miracles'
The Biting Cinderella Story-Martin Amis,'Lionel Asbo: State of England,'
The High-School Noir-Megan Abbott, 'Dare Me'
The Literary Spy Thriller-Joseph Kanon, 'Istanbul Passage'
The Postmodern Epistolary Novel-Maria Semple, 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette'
The Rule-Breaker-Tana French, 'Broken Harbor'

Six Summer Novels from

Summer Fiction
"An American compound in the 1960s is the Mad Men–like backdrop for Kim Barnes’s In the Kingdom of Men , the story of a young Oklahoma woman who follows her oil company husband to Saudi Arabia, where a sheltered status quo is intruded upon by the discovery of the dead body of a young local woman. An orphan tries her hand at homesteading in early-1900s Oregon in Anna Keesey’s debut, Little Century  learning frontier lessons in cowboy justice (not to mention falling in love with a sheepherder). And a certain innocence of suburban privilege is shattered in Nichole Bernier’s 2002-set The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. in which a young mother becomes the reluctant interpreter of her friend’s life following a plane crash, calling into question the truths we tell ourselves.

Set in “the sheltering womb of all things American Ben Fountain’s astringent satire, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk  follows the last day of an Iraq War platoon’s government sponsored “Victory Tour” and an appearance at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, where nineteen-year-old Specialist William Lynn is distracted by comely cheerleaders, Hollywood profiteers, and a sister’s text messages encouraging him to jump ship rather than return to combat. Portentous clouds gather in Thad Ziolkowski’s Wichita the wry fable of an Ivy League graduate who returns to the Midwest to ponder his future, with the somewhat dubious guidance of his possibly bipolar brother and his polyamorous mother, who has started a storm-chasing business. And coming of age is nothing less than an apocalypse for the eleven-year-old narrator of Karen Thompson Walker’s debut, The Age of Miracles who wakes one morning in Southern California to find that the Earth’s rotation is slowing, but that the milestones of adolescence—including the possibility of romance with the brooding skateboarder who shares her bus stop—move inexorably forward.
(from Megan O'Grady at )

Meanwhile, A La Maison

from Ross Golden Bannon via
"BREAKING Unconfirmed report that La Maison on Castlemarket St has closed and bailiffs have moved in. Staff cannot contact owners"

UPDATE: La Maison management say they'll be open 4 business 2morrow or Thurs. Book a table to ensure their great food survives 01 672 7258.

Skerries harbour

Found these fab pictures of Skerries harbour on . I'm sure you will agree that this is possibly the best place on earth and watching this sunset from Joe May's on a summer evening is as good as it gets.

Fantasy novelist Kiernan wins top children's book prize

Celine Kiernan at the Children's Books Ireland awards ceremony in Dublin yesterday with pupils of Scoil San Carlo, Leixlip, and Kylemore College, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien
"FANTASY AUTHOR Celine Kiernan was the big winner at yesterday’s Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards, receiving both the Book of the Year and the Children’s Choice Award for her supernatural thriller Into the Grey.
The book, her fourth novel, is set in 1970s Ireland and follows the lives of teenage twins, exploring their night-time encounters with ghosts and spirits.
The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the longest-running children’s book awards in Ireland.
Ms Kiernan, who won €5,000, said she was most proud of winning the Children’s Choice Award because it was chosen by a selection of junior juries from eight schools across Ireland.
The setting for her story was derived from her own childhood. “The story is set in Skerries. We used to go there a lot when I was a child and the entire setting is kind of ripped out of my childhood.”"

"Silent" at Abbey Theatre 30/5-16/6/2012

Pat Kinevane in Silent, a Fishamble: The New Play Company production on the Peacock stage 30 May - 16 June.
"Silent is the touching and challenging story of homeless McGoldrig, who once had splendid things.
But he has lost it all – including his mind. He now dives into the wonderful wounds of this past through the romantic world of Rudolph Valentino."
  • From Wednesday, 30 May 2012
  • To Saturday, 16 June 2012
  • Showing on the Peacock Stage
  • Running time: 75 minutes

Custard kisses

OMG! How beautiful are these? Don't you just want to pop one into your mouth now. I will be making these pronto and saving some before my ravenous tribe eat them all.
Custard kisses
  • 175g softened butter
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour , plus extra for dusting


  • 100g softened butter
  • 140g icing sugar , sifted, plus a little extra
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • few drops yellow food colouring , if you have any
  1. Heat oven 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla with a wooden spoon until creamy, then mix in flour in 2 batches. Roll out thinly on floured surface, then use a standard 30cm ruler as a template to cut the dough into small, even squares. Do this by starting with the ruler flush with one side and cutting along the length of it. Repeat across the width of the dough, then do the same from the top down. Transfer to baking sheets and bake for 8-10 mins until golden.
  2. While the biscuits cool, mix the butter, icing sugar, custard powder and food colouring, if you have any. Pipe or spread a little icing onto a biscuit, then sandwich with 1 or 2 more biscuits. Repeat until all the biscuits are used, then dust with a little more icing sugar.

Fully loaded Cajun chicken burgers

This is from one of my favourite recipe websites which I check regularly for inspiration in the kitchen. This recipe, though simple, is a nice alternative to burgers or plain chicken breasts.
Fully loaded Cajun chicken burgers
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 rashers smoked bacon
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split
  • 4 thin slices of your favourite cheese
  • 4 small handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • mayonnaise , to serve (optional)


  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  1. Mix  seasoning ingredients together with black pepper and salt, then set aside. Heat grill to high. On a board, flatten out chicken , then drizzle half the oil over and toss in the seasoning until completely coated. Heat remaining oil in large frying pan, sizzle chicken for 5 mins on each side until firm, push to one side of the pan, then fry the bacon for a few mins until cooked.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, halve, stone, peel and slice avocados, toast the cut sides of the buns. Cover tops of the buns with cheese, then grill until melted.
  3. To assemble the burgers, spread the buns with mayonnaise if you want, top with a handful of spinach, then a rasher of bacon. To keep the avocado in place, slice the chicken, then alternate between a slice of chicken and avocado. Top with the bun.

Boots to cut cost of prescription medicines for customers in Ireland

Saw this article on The Journal website today and thought that I should share good news when it comes!

"BOOTS IRELAND has announced that it is lowering the cost of the majority of its prescription medicines saying it will lead to significant savings for Irish customers.
The pharmacy says that across the top-ten most expensive prescription medicines, all medicines will reduce in price, giving customers an average saving of 25 per cent."

For more read:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dublin Writers festival June 4–10 2012

Dublin Writers Festival 2012 – an initiative of Dublin City Council, supported by the Arts Council – presents the masters of international writing and bright emerging voices.
Visit for full programme.

Irelands favourite paintings

Winner:Hellelil and Hildebrand, the Meeting on the Turret Stairs,1864
Artist: Frederic William Burton (Corofin, Co. Clare 1816-1900, London)

Awarded title of ireland's favourite painting on RTE last night. Click here to see all 10 paintings

Travesties by Tom Stoppard at Dun Laoghaire

Zurich 1917: artists and exiles take refuge from the Great War in neutral Switzerland. Joyce is writing Ulysess and Lenin is planning a revolution.
Humorous complications and mistaken identities arise when Joyce decides to stage Oscar Wilde’s 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.Travesties runs at the Pavilion Theatre for three weeks only from 7th – 23rd June at 8pm.  Saturday matinees on 16th and 23rd June at 3pm.  
More at

RHA Annual Exhibition 2012

Adrian Dunne
RHA Annual Exhibition is one of the country’s major artistic events. More than half the works on view are selected from that open submission by a panel of academicians.
All exhibitors are in the running for a prize fund now topping €50,000 and ranging across the categories of work on view: painting, sculpture, print, photography and architecture.
Royal Hibernian Academy, Gallagher Gallery, 15 Ely Place, Dublin Mon-Tues 11am- 5pm, Wed-Sat 11am- 7pm, Sun 2-5pm May 29-Aug 18 01-6612558
More at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Orwell prize 2012

The Orwell book prize has gone to Toby Harnden for Dead Men Risen, his account of the Welsh Guards fighting in Afghanistan in 2009.The Ministry of Defence agreed to purchase and oversee the destruction of the entire first print run at a cost to the UK taxpayer of £151,450.
Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan tells us; "Dead Men Risen is the tale of the Welsh Guards in Helmand in 2009. Underequipped and overstretched, guardsmen from the coal mining valleys and quarry villages of Wales found themselves in Helmand in some of the most intense fighting by British troops for more than a generation. They were confronted by a Taliban enemy they seldom saw, facing the constant threat of Improvised Explosive Devices and ambush. Leading them into battle was Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, destined to be a general. He was passionate believer in the war but was dismayed by how it was being conducted.

2012 Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival!

Mountains to Sea - 4th to 9th of Sept 2012
Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival will take place in Dún Laoghaire from the 4th to the 9th of September and will present the very best of Irish and international writers reading from their work. Alongside a superb programme of literary fiction there will be an excellent poetry strand.
I saw Edna O'Brien as part of this festival las year and she was fabulous. Full programme to come on

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Banana date cake with walnut & honey glaze

Banana date cake with walnut & honey glaze
Now, this lovely looking cake is on the BBC Good Food website. I don't have one of those fancy bundt tin things but I'm sure you could bake it in a loaf tin. Recipe below and I'll be trying this out pretty soon, but not while the sun's showing it's face in my back garden after so long without it.
  • 175g softened butter , plus extra for the tin
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 overripe bananas (about 350g with skins on)
  • 100g stoned dates
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 25g butter
  • 50g walnut halves
    1. Heat oven 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and line base of an 18cm Bundt mould/ round cake tin with baking parchment. Put flour, cinnamon, butter, sugar, eggs and honey in a large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
    2. Mash bananas and chop dates. Stir into cake mix with walnuts. Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40-50 mins until firm to touch and a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean( round tin may take 10-20 mins more). Cool in tin for 15 mins, then turn out and cool on wire rack.
    3. Glaze; put honey and butter in small pan stirring until melted. Boil about 1 min, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Leave to cool until thick and opaque. Spoon over top of  cake and leave to set.

    Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby film remake update.

    Story in The Telegraph todayquestions the need for a remake of this film now.
    Gatsby: a story that suits our age; Old Sport: Leonardo DiCaprio stars in a new film version of one of the all-time great novels, written by Scott Fitzgerald; XPUSMM; rex
    "A Gatsby moment is upon us. The Great Gatsby is by far the most popular novel of F Scott Fitzgerald; it embodies the 1920s, and has attained an iconic status, both for American novelists and for many readers. Still, the flood of adaptations about to pour over us is unprecedented. Is there something in the air? Is there something that makes this most glamorous of novels speak to us with especial resonance?
    Later this summer, a new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby will be released, starring Leonardo DiCaprio  and Carey Mulligan, as Daisy Buchanan. (Read rest of story here

    Richard & Judy Summer Reading 2012

    Richard and Judy have launched their summer book club. I haven't followed it with any great interest before but their books this year are as follows;
    The ThreadJubileeThe Fear IndexThe Night CircusThe Secret Between UsThe HypnotistTidelineThe Book of Summers
    A Perfectly Good ManAlice Bliss

    I can recommend The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I started Victoria Hislop's The Thread but lost interest as the plot was rather predictable. I know two seasoned thriller readers who have read and enjoyed Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist.