Festivals, fun and forecasts: here’s our bank holiday guide

The best things to see, visit and do over the next four days

The Spraoi Festival in Waterford runs August 4th to 6th. Photograph:   Publicity shot by John Loftus Creative.

The Spraoi Festival in Waterford runs August 4th to 6th. Photograph: Publicity shot by John Loftus Creative.

 

WEATHER FORECAST

Oh come on, it’s Ireland. The chances of a good, dependable forecast in a country surrounded by water are slim to none. Still though, we’re a simple, optimistic folk so here you go.

Friday’s forecast is for sunny spells with passing showers that will become heavier as the day goes on. That’s something to look forward to as you’re bombing down the road to the mobile home.

On Saturday, as you fling your children into the sea, you can rely on bright, sunny spells and scattered showers in the afternoon and early evening, especially over Ulster and north Leinster, the heathens. Top temperatures will range 15 to 18 degrees.

Rain will start in western counties on Sunday before marching east and dissipating, much like the Mayo GAA team. Maximum temperatures will range 14 to 17 degrees in fresh southwesterly winds, with a fine, bright evening expected

Bank holiday Monday will be bright with sunny intervals and only passing showers. Temperatures, like your child who just dropped out of college, will remain stubbornly in their teens.

EVENTS: FRIDAY AUGUST 4th

Castlepalooza
Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly, Until Sunday August 6th, 2pm, €159/€139/€59

The Castlepalooza Music and Arts Festival in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
The Castlepalooza Music and Arts Festival in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Another excellent regional boutique music and arts festival (which last year, with a different promoter, took place some weeks before Indiependence), Castlepalooza also features a mostly Irish line-up. Acts across the weekend include Le Galaxie, RSAG, Bitch Falcon, Third Smoke, Hot Cops, I Have a Tribe, Heroes in Hiding, Rosa Nutty, Thumper, Farah Elle, Hvmmingbird and Oh Boland. A solid comedy strand features Deirdre O’Kane, Colm O’Regan, Fred Cooke, PJ Gallagher, Kevin McGahern and Shane Clifford. Tony Clayton-Lea

Music and Beautiful Beasts
Temple Bar, Dublin. Ages 2-12. Free and from €5; ark.ie

The Ark, a dedicated cultural centre for children, will has a free “Beautiful Beasts” exhibition of animal sculptures until August 27th, with “Enchanting Transformation” workshop on August 5th. Sheila Wayman

Wild Air Run
Marlay Park, Dublin. Age 7-plus. Family €80; wildairrun.com

The focus is on fun not finishing times for this 5km course incorporating 10 giant, inflatable obstacles. Suitable for all fitness levels, and spectators can come along and laugh at your efforts for free. That price seems a bit steep mind. SW

Dublin Blues, Roots & Brass Festival
Whelan’s, Wexford St, Dublin, Until Sunday8pm, Adm free whelanslive.com

If you’re Dublin-based and looking for more blues/rock, blues and roots music than you can really handle, then make a beeline for the Dublin Blues, Roots and Brass Festival, a yearly blast of an event that always manages to mix the tried and trusted with new adventures in the respective genres. Acts featured across the weekend include Blackbird and Crow, Dublin City Rounders, The Louisiana Six, Pete Cummins & Terry Woods, Mary Stokes Band, Mik Pyro, RoboCobra Quartet, Crow Black Chicken, The Dublin Bluegrass Collective, Mongrel State, and Áine Tyrell. TCL

Grease
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Aug 1-8 7.30pm (Wed mat 2.30pm, Fri shows 5.30pm & 8pm, Sat shows 5.30pm & 8.30pm) €20-€60 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

The height of summertime has never been an easy proposition for theatre programmers, who, even in Ireland, must compete with the prospect of barbecue weather and fleeting rays of sunshine. But – oh! – those summer nights can rely on diaphanous musicals of good tunes and happy nostalgia, which is where Grease has always delivered its frictionless fun. In the 1959 graduating class of Rydell High School, gangs of guys and bands of girls observe loose affiliations and a rigid social hierarchy, where greaser Danny Zucco and good girl Sandra Dee find their romance impeded by strict codes. The production, however, is a mostly homogenous company of boyband and television talent show graduates, with The Wanted’s Tom Parker as the bad boy rebel, Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Sandy and Eastenders/Strictly Come Dancing’s Louisa Lytton as Rizzo. Tell me more, tell me more. Peter Crawley

Howth Jazz and Blues Festival
Various venues, Howth, Co Dublin, no cover charges; continues until Monday, facebook.com/HowthIsMagic

Despite the tired old conflation of jazz and blues – one a vast meta-genre embracing 100 years of art music from around the world, the other a very specific (albeit influential) strand of US folk music – the Howth Jazz and Blues festival, programmed by the Improvised Music Company, packs a serious artistic punch. Worth checking out in a busy, all-free programme will be long-running pop jazz duo Zrazy (Friday); pianist Phil Ware and guitarist Hugh Buckley; much-admired Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz with local piano trio F-JoB; a quartet led by innovative guitarist Mike Nielsen (Saturday); singer Aoife Doyle fresh from the launch of her excellent new album Clouds; bassist Ronan Guilfoyle’s “Love Supreme” project with saxophonist Michael Buckley; avant-surf band the Mushburgers (Sunday); and guitarist Tommy Halferty’s Camus Jazz ensemble (Monday). Cormac Larkin

SATURDAY AUGUST 5th

Beatyard
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, Saturday August 5th & Sunday August 6th, €59-€89 plus booking fees the-beatyard.com/tickets/

The Beatyard festival will be moving its Eatyard out to the seaside this weekend. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Beatyard festival will be moving its Eatyard out to the seaside this weekend. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Beatyard has become a staple part of the August Bank Holiday weekend, bringing in some of the best live acts to Dún Laoghaire harbour, like headliners Mark Ronson and Air. Make sure you pencil in Bananarama, Rusangano Family, Morcheeba, Soulé, Romare and Toots and the Maytals to your schedule. Various other ’yards (Eatyard, Gamesyard, Banteryard, Kidsyard) will make sure that you’re well fed and entertained, and the many Brewtonic Bars onsite will wet your whistle all weekend long. The finalists from the first Irish Street Food Awards will be competing for your attention all weekend also. Louise Bruton

Indiependence
Deer Park, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, Friday August 4th-Sunday August 6th, 2pm, €119/€52.50 tickets.ie

The success of this boutique music and arts festival continues apace, and it once again proves its worth by championing mostly Irish acts during the day and early evening, and then ending the day with a UK headline act. Across the weekend, Irish acts performing include All Tvvins, Hermitage Green, The Riptide Movement, Brian Deady, We Cut Corners, Fangclub and Talos. Headliners include Tom Odell (Friday), The Coronas (Saturday), and Manic Street Preachers (Sunday). Also spoken word (including Stephen James Smith, Abby Oliveira, Wasps vs Humans), comedy (including Bernard Casey, Totally Wired), and afternoon music/interview slots (via Culture Vultures). TCL

Two movies

MAUDIE ★★★★
Directed by Aisling Walsh. Starring Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke. 15A cert, general release, 116 min

Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins in Maudie
Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins in Maudie

There are people who will remain unmoved by Walsh’s wonderful study of the Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. There are also people who wilfully stand on spiders. I can’t say I’d like to spend any time alone with such a fellow. Hawkins is heart-breaking as the title character: a simple, determined woman who sticks to her painting despite the advance of severe arthritis. Hawke gives a crafty performance as the brutal fisherman who becomes her husband. Essential. DC Review/Trailer

LAND OF MINE ★★★★
Directed by Martin Zandvliet. Starring Roland Moller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman. 15A cert, limited release, 101 min

Roland Møller in Land of Mine
Roland Møller in Land of Mine

Gripping, Oscar-nominated Danish drama concerning the German POWs who, after the armistice, were forced to clear mines from Danish beaches. The picture plays cleverly with our expectations by initially positioning the Allied commander as the villain and the young Germans as the heroes. The Danish sergeant is brutal. The prisoners are young and vulnerable. A slightly clunky softening does inevitably happen, but the tension counterbalances any sentimentality. A crowdpleaser. DC Review/Trailer

SUNDAY AUGUST 6TH

Chapterhouse Outdoor Productions
Strokestown Park House, Co Roscommon, 5pm. Family €56; chapterhouse.org. Various venues and dates from June 21st-August 6th. All ages

UK theatre company Chapterhouse stages The Wind in the Willows. SW

Free Kid Sundays at GPO
O’Connell Street, Dublin. Family tickets from €26 (Mon-Sat), adult €10 (Sun); gpowitnesshistory.ie

There’s free admission for children to the GPO’s Witness History visitor centre every Sunday during the summer. Within the walls of the iconic building, the events of the 1916 Easter Rising and beyond are presented in fun, bite-size and child-friendly portions. Interactive maps, video booths and “real-life” soldiers all help to bring the history alive. SW

Regina Spektor
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 8pm, €54.65/€49.65 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor

The last time Regina Spektor – the Russian-born singer and songwriter who cut her creative teeth in New York’s anti-folk/Strokes environment of the very early 2000s – played Ireland was in 2013, when she played Dublin’s Olympia theatre to an adoring throng of mostly women. It was one of the best gigs this writer has ever been to; Spektor’s command of the fans was supreme, idiosyncratic and charming, and the response to her was so tightly connected it was virtually symbiotic. Welcome back – frankly, we’ve been waiting too long. TCL

Sim Simma All Day Summer Party
Connolly’s of Leap, Co Cork 4pm, €12 connollysofleap.com

For a whopping €12, you can get a taste of somewhere totally tropical with the resident Sim Simma DJs – and their special guests Bon Voyage and Toby Kaar – as they take over the hidden gem that is Connolly’s of Leap. Sim Simma’s vibe is chill sonified, ie perfect bank holiday fodder, as they’ll spin a delectable selection of Caribbean, African, Latin and hip-hop tunes. Kicking off at 4pm, their tunes will keep you going on into the night. LB

Live In The Marquee
Your Man’s Bar, Ballyduff 8pm €15 dannyomahony.com

Box player and broadcaster Danny O’Mahony leads a strong programme of performers to pay tribute to the late Nora Mai Rochford, a Ballybunion singer and whistle player who influenced many singers and musicians in the locality. With the magnificent whistle player, Mary Bergin, singer/songwriter, Don Stiffe, guitarist and bouzouki player, Seán Earnest and singer/dancer/harpist, Séamus Ó Flatharta. Siobhán Long

Spraoi Festival
Waterford, Friday-Sunday All ages. spraoi.com, garterlane.ie

The Foolhardy Three will be performing at Spraoi

“From Source to Sea” is the theme of this year’s Spraoi centrepiece - the night-time street parade on Sunday, August 6th. Starting at 9.30pm, it is a celebration of the River Suir, from the middle of which a spectacular fireworks display will end the night. Garter Lane Arts Centre runs the SprÓg Children’s Festival in the lead-up from July 31st, with science, arts and crafts workshops, and lots more. SW 

Two movies

WILLIAMS ★★★★
Directed by Morgan Matthews. Featuring Frank Williams, Claire Williams, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Alan Jones, Patrick Head. 15A cert, limited release, 109 min

Frank Williams works on an F1 car in his team garage in 1969. Photograph: Curzon Artificial eye
Frank Williams works on an F1 car in his team garage in 1969. Photograph: Curzon Artificial eye

Frank Williams doesn’t “do emotion” we are told early and often in this intriguing documentary portrait of the Formula One titan. Indeed, the highest praise Frank can think to bestow upon his daughter Claire is that, in common with her late mother Ginny (Virginia), she “Doesn’t make a lot of fuss” and “gets things done”. It’s that sort of world. Away from those personal dilemmas the film has plenty to tell us about a true sporting phenomenon. TB Review/Trailer

THE BIG SICK ★★★★
Directed by Michael Showalter. Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano. 15A cert, general release, 120 min

Return of the romcom: Zoe Kazan and Kumail Najiani in The Big Sick
Return of the romcom: Zoe Kazan and Kumail Najiani in The Big Sick

Lively, funny, romantic comedy follows the classic template while finding fresh innovations. Nankiani plays a comic who falls for Kazan’s bright spark. He decides not to tell his Pakistani parents. Then Zoe’s character falls seriously ill. Nanjiani draws on the story of his romance with cowriter Emily V Gordon to construct a twisty, unusual entertainment. The female lead is missing for a good third of the picture, but she feels present throughout. The romcom is back. DC Review/Trailer

MONDAY AUGUST 7TH

Suzanne Savage’s Supersoup
Arthurs, Thomas St, Dublin, 8.30pm, €5, arthurspub.ie

Belfast vocalist (and violinist) Suzanne Savage started out as a principal singer on Riverdance, and sings backing vocals for the likes of Paul Brady and Eleanor McEvoy, but jazz is what she gets up to when left to her own devices. SuperSoup is a promising new quartet featuring rising Cologne-based trumpeter Christian Altehülshorst, with support from Cherryvalley’s leading Hammond organist Scott Flanagan and consummate Dublin drummer Dominic Mullan. CL

Stradbally Steam Rally
Co Laois. Admission €10, u12s free, caravan €20, tent €10; irishsteam.ie

Bring a tent or caravan and camp in the grounds of Stradbally Hall to make the most of this two-day festival, where the vibe is vintage. Now in its 53rd year, attractions include working steam engines, pre-1930 tractors, vintage cars and bikes, birds of prey, carnival, children’s area and food court. SW

Two movies

THE FARTHEST ★★★★
Directed by Emer Reynolds. PG cert, limited release, 120 min

Way, way out: The Farthest
Way, way out: The Farthest

Superb Irish documentary on the Voyager space programme. Lighter touches blend with denser science to create a substantial, but easily digestible, stew. The film is meticulous, epic and – Kate McCullough’s characteristically fine cinematography justifies theatrical distribution – beautiful throughout. What most surprises, however, is how moving The Farthest turns out to be. Our world is so fragile. We are so insignificant. But we can do hugely ambitious and generous things. – DC Review/Trailer

DUNKIRK ★★★★★
Directed by Christopher Nolan. Starring Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy. 12A cert, general release, 107 mins

Fionn Whitehead in a scene from Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk Fionn Whitehead in a scene from Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk
Fionn Whitehead in a scene from Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk Fionn Whitehead in a scene from Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

The second World War film is hardly voguish, and this particular war film doesn’t play by the rules. There is hardly any blood, and nothing like guts. There’s little flashy CGI. Instead, we get real planes, boats and scenes shot on the actual French beaches where the infamous evacuation took place. Dunkirk is entirely experiential. There is no chatter about sweethearts back home; there is only the impulse to escape and survive. Hans Zimmer’s pounding score – a symphony that draws loudly from incoming fire, heartbeat, and finally, Nimrod – amplifies the rising panic. The crunching realism, as captured on large format film stock, puts every other rival summer spectacle to shame. TB Review/Trailer

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