Creative event  offers a carnival-themed evening with stalls  that guests can play after dinner before the DJ set starts. Photograph:

Staff events offer the same old fare year after year. How do you inject a fresh angle?

The Strawberry Tree organic restaurant at Brook Lodge in Co Wicklow  serves sharing plates at a candle-lit table that seats up to 44 diners.

From a 1916 theme to the circus, some options for an office night out with a difference

Rein it in: Remember you are at work. All companies have different cultures and different tolerance levels when it comes to boisterous behaviour. Photograph: iStockphoto

Don’t dance on the tables, and don’t drunkenly demand a pay rise. Here are a few tips for staying off the boss’s naughty list this(...)

Men’s fashion at Next; cropped trousers, €19.95 at  Zara; Joanne Hynes Neoprene Perspex coat, €250 at Dunnes Stores

If you tailor your outfit to the theme of the occasion you’ll have fun in great comfort as well as style

Marble fireplaces, plenty of room to escape to and parking for up to five cars

Three-storey house in the Cottonwood development, Dublin 15

Cottonwood properties built by B&C Contractors and designed by Van Dijk Architects

Chadsley was designed by architect Richard Orpen, but could benefit from a little updating

Spacious home: This roomy semi-detached house at 18 Fortfield Terrace in Rathmines was built in the 1930s.

The semi-detached house in Dublin 6 has a south-facing garden and off-street parking

This fine, five-bed end-of-terrace house has big bay windows and many original features

Modern and spacious Dublin 6 house on large plot of land benefits from privacy

Suzie McAdam: paint combinations make furniture and artwork “more vivid”. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy

New line of colour palettes will feature in workshops held by designer Suzie McAdam

American decorator Carleton Varney, owner of the upscale decorating company Dorothy Draper & Company and author of more than 30 books

We don’t do beige and grey, says decorator Carleton Varney, whose first job in Ireland was to revamp Dromoland Castle

Three-bed period terraced house with smart back garden in Ranelagh for €950,000

Churchfield, 50-60 Clontarf Road

A small development of 15 houses and four one-bedroom apartment

These hotly anticipated homes – built on land once owned by Miami Showband frontman – were designed with modern families in mind, (...)

Shanganagh Drive, River Lane, Shankill

Three-storey, four-bed homes with south-facing gardens and cobblelock parking is set on a secluded site of nearly half an acre ove(...)

Robswall in Malahide

Nine new A-rated four-bedroom homes – all with sea view

New phase of 20 A-rated three-storey, four- to five-bed terraced homes

Abbot’s Grove. Photograph: Peter Moloney/PM Photography

Abbot’s Grove is a development of four-bed A-rated homes in Knocklyon, Dublin

Loreto, 10B The Mews, Prince Edward Terrace, Blackrock

Architect-designed three-bed semi-detached house with off-street parking for €895,000

1 Winton Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin 6

Since buying this 1860s, double-fronted house in 1987, the owner has added a conservatory and bedrooms, restored period features a(...)

A three- to four-bedroom Georgian propertyfor €995,000

Five-bedroom period redbrick overlooking Fairfield Park

Tom Keane and Claire Graham, owners of The Old Mill Stores in Connonagh Village, Co Cork –  winners of the Best Craft/Gift Shop category. Photograph: Emma Jervis

This year’s judges had a tough job sifting through more than 30,000 entries. Readers were eager to show their appreciation for th(...)

Several ‘for sale’ signs have popped up on Beechwood Avenue but this end of terrace is roomier than most and with clear potential (...)

The three-bedroom apartment in the Wintergarden is on sale for €525,000

Cuan Delph: Renvyle is a five-minute drive away

Dolphins frolic in the waters below this house – and the nearby beaches are gorgeous

The Grass Roof cafe in Rossinver, Co Leitrim is nominated for Best Café/Teashop

Thousands of nominations have been considered and we’ve whittled the competition down to a shortlist of 100 and sent our judges ou(...)

Design Works Studio in Cork city, where you can see the jewellers at work and connect with the merchandise, turning browsers into buyers

The hunt is almost over, with nominations closed and a shortlist being compiled

You have until midnight to nominate your favourite haunts for Best Shops 2016

The Fireplace Barbershop on Dublin’s South William Street.

Service is key to a good shopping experience, and is a big factor for the judges of Best Shops 2016

Olivia O’Regan of Foody’s Pharmacy, Ballina, Co Mayo: ‘She was usually my first point of call whenever I needed advice,’ wrote Teresa Keegan

Breakfast cafes, a craft shop where you can sit and knit and a pharmacist who cares are nominated

Best Shops 2016: over 23,000 nominations

With more than 23,000 nominations so far, how has your county fared?

O’Connell’s Victuallers, Limerick city, opened in 1919 by Paddy O’Connell and taken over by Philip Craughan and run now by his son Paul, “has the friendliest and most genuine staff,” says Grace Sheridan.

Best family-run shops competition draws a big response from readers

The Shack, Marble Hill, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal: a beautiful spot , says one reader

Best Shops: Take a detour to visit some hidden gems

31 Rathgar Avenue,  Dublin 6

This house in Dublin 6 is in need of ‘total refurbishment’. We ask a builder what that would involve, what sort of extension coul(...)

The Knitting Room: Owners Brendan, pictured, and Carrie Kavanagh of the Donnycarney Dublin 5 shop go the extra mile, say their customers

Llittle kindnesses tend to mean a lot in small communities

The exterior of the coach house after restoration. Photographs: Philip lauterbach

The 200-year-old property has contemporary interior and original features

An Siopa Feirme,  Waterville, Co Kerry: “small outlet with a huge heart”

Best Shops: stores of all types that create a sense of community are a favourite with readers

Brothers Barry, Fehan and Kieran Flood, owners of Churchtown Stores, Churchtown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Incisive, informed comments by readers is what the judges are looking for

Five-bed Edwardian with long garden near Bushy Park

Three-bed terraced property is at the quiet end of Moyne Road

Two-bed semi-detached house on Cranmer Lane has been recently redecorated

Terraced house in a quiet development for €330,000

Bang Bang, North Leinster, Phibsboro, Dublin: community-minded attitude and “the best coffeee I have ever tasted”, writes one reader

Best Shops 2016: the search is on for the best place to get your caffeine fix

‘Going into a great shop is about so much more than what you can buy there, it’s about the experience,’ says judge Sarah Halliwell. photograph: getty

Our expert judges each have their own specific shopping list for this year’s competition

Objekt, Newcastlewest, Co Limerick: clever, unusual accessories, according to one reader

Visual merchandising has captured readers’ imagination in the Best Shops 2016

Three-bed terraced house in Dublin 7 for €449,000

Clancy Quay sees a sympathetic conversion into upscale rentals

Furniture designer Susan Zelouf, in her apartment in Kilmainham, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Susan Zelouf - one half of Zelouf and Bell - looks to her travels and the everyday for inspiration

Businesses such as the Bud Garden Centre in Clare tested the waters as a pop-up before diving in

Is the pop-up shop a smart way to test the retail market? We talk to some success stories

Refurbished terrace house in Glenageary for €625,000

Three-bedroom gate lodge at Newcastle House, Co Longford on market for €350,000

Visual artist Seibheal Mooney with her installation ‘In My Skin’ at  the preview of the NCAD Graduate Show. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

President Michael D Higgins attends preview of exhibition of work by over 500 students

The Starrs have run a business from this premises since 1907 and Joe jnr and his wife Angela Kennedy-Starr now run the place and live over the shop

Tractors, tarts and GAA paraphernalia are just some of the varied offerings

Three- and four-bed homes in Cúil Dúin scheme beside Luas red line in Citywest

Mature development comprises 27 two-bedroom apartments, from €265,000 to €335,000

Listed buildings, independent shops and a vibrant arts and music scene draw in visitors

Shamrock Lodge offers someone with deep pockets the chance to embrace country life

67 Coolnevaun, Stillorgan, Co Dublin

House in Coolnevaun revamped with a focus on light, space and natural materials

Arabella, Claremont Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18

Dublin 18 house in turn-key condition

64 Woodlawn Park, Churchtown, Dublin 14

Light-filled four-bed house in Dublin 14 is the owners’ 10th refurbishment in 30 years

Number 118 Rathgar Road: a fine late-Victorian terraced house which an artist has made a showcase for her work

Splendid late-Victorian terraced home has up to five bedrooms and a wonderful garden

The North’s first city has a glossy, cosmopolitan feel these days

Four-bedroom redbrick designed by Aurora Aleson with a west-facing back yard

Lovingly cared for four-five bedroom property for €1.75 million

Architect Declan O’Donnell in his apartment in Dublin. Photographs: Aidan Crawley

The style and design the ODKM architect admires and surrounds himself with

Fashion designer Mary Grant has been in business since 1993 when she first sold in the Irish Design Centre in Dublin’s Powerscourt Centre

Old-school charm and modern design await you in Newbridge, writes Alanna Gallagher

2 Auburn Avenue, Donnybrook

Two period properties – a family home and a former worker’s cottage – are within a short stroll of leafy Herbert Park

Of the 58 properties in Ravenhall’s development of houses and apartments in Shankill, 13 are already sale agreed, signalling the d(...)

Semi-detached property in Knocklyon backs on to Sancta Maria College

Five-bedroom house in Dublin 6W for €1.2 million

Four-bed houses in the Castleway development are on the market from €729,000

Three to four bed semi-detached house is laid out over six flights of stairs

Elizabeth Francis loves the oval shape of her white Kartell table

The Irish architect, who has worked in Paris, now operates out of her own office in Bologna, Italy

Upper East Side elegance: Interior designer D’Aquino Monaco selected the bold carmine red for the walls of this residence on Central Park West. Books are elegantly positioned overlooking the green space. A flagstone effect rug stops the bold colour becoming claustrophobic and knits the terrace and the room together. Photograph: Ariadna Bufi

Design experts show off their loud and proud decor for a new coffee table tome

Craft capital also has strong culinary credentials

Kildare development of large detached and semi-detached houses from €525,000

New three- and four-bed properties in Hazelbrook Square start from €450,000

Five-bedroom Edwardian semi-detached property for €1.5 million

Cleverly refurbished cottage with roof terrace shows how chic compact spaces can be

Four-bedroom semi-detached property in Blackrock for €655,000

The town won a Purple Flag last year, an award for the quality of its evening and night-time economy.

Vibrant suburb’s offers range from smart children’s toys to exclusive Italian furniture

Number 25 St Helen’s Road looks out to Dublin Bay and has a large, east-facing garden

15 Gulistan Terrace, Rathmines, Dublin 6

This three-bed property in Rathmines, Dublin 6 is for sale at €775,000

Young Irelander Thomas Davis was born in Mallow and there’s a statue of him in front of the town’s Clock House.

The historic Co Cork market town remains true to its fashionable past

Mock-Tudor five-bed on three-quarters of an acre on market

Four-bedroom two-storey detached house built in 1971, with detached garage

Five-bedroom semi-detached house with fine period features and a 30m-long west-facing back garden

Nicholas Roche’s apartment in Paris. Photograph: Vincent Thibert

The son of hipster parents, Nicholas Roche, creative director of furniture maker Roche Bobois, came to the family business late. S(...)

Galway’s Eyre Square is the gateway to great shopping

The clue is in the name: from Shop Street to small lanes, it’s easy to find everything from culture to couture

Fully refurbished semi-detached property with south-facing garden

Bring your architect with you when you go along to view this one

Kelston House is Georgian property at heart of estate which was subdivided into three apartments

2 Grove Avenue,  Blackrock, Co Dublin:  sold to its current owner in 2011 for €1.05m, now on the market for €2m

Four-bedroom villa-style property with off-street parking in Blackrock

A cottage with four bedrooms, south- facing gardens and lots of personality for €1.3m

Ardilea Crescent comprises 26 large four- and five-bedroom houses and 48 apartments, designed by  McCrossan O’Rourke Manning

Development of houses and apartments offers high-design spec and A energy rating

After the hard years of the recession, a new sense of confidence is starting to return

Brooklyn apartment featured on the Houzz site

The international online home-design phenomenon is launching in Ireland

High-ceilinged, light-filled and thoughtfully refurbished Victorian house

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