Going out: The Gig guide


'Irish Times' writers bring you a seasonal gig guide...


THERE ISN’T much happening this weekend, for obvious reasons, but once the hangovers have disappeared and the system feels less bloated, it’s all systems go, particularly in the rock/pop music area.

Jerry Fish, Hothouse Flowers, Deacon Blue, Mick Flannery, Something Happens, The Coronas, The Saw Doctors, and Fight Like Apes are plugging away until the bitter end of 2009. (See listings, P20, for details.)

The pop highlight, however, has to be the return of Madness to Dublin and Belfast on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Their 2009 album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate, has appeared in many critics’ Top 10, and it would seem from this return to form that we won’t see the last of the so-called Nutty Boys for some time.

New Year’s Eve best bets around the country include Mick Flannery (Cork), Jerry Fish (Dublin) and Fight Like Apes (Galway). TONY CLAYTON-LEA


YOU’LL FIND more choice pickings in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve than on your average turkey after the big day. They do the post-Christmas partying with some style up North with a rake of big nights out on the schedule. The first of Shine’s hullabaloos will feature Chris Liebing, Fergie and Alex Under on Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day. You’ll also find Sander van Doorn, Eddie Halliwell, Sebastien Leger and the Horse Meat Disco boyos at play in Belfast on that night, with Armin van Buuren trancing his way towards Portrush.

Then, on Tuesday, it’s the visit of Deadmau5 to town for a posh bash at the Ulster Hall. In Dublin, your Stephen’s Day high jinks can take in the all-day trance and tech at Raincheck or a Shite Pressie Swap Shop at Pogo.

Worthy highlight of the week: a Club Nova fundraiser on Tuesday in Clare for those hit by the recent floods . (See listings for details.) JIM CARROLL


THE NATIONAL Gallery art holiday is a wonderful opportunity for children to bring their sketch pads and crayons and enjoy some creative time after the splurge of toys. It runs from 3-4.30pm from December 28th-30th and admission is free, with no booking required.

The National Museum on Kildare Street, Dublin is also hosting a holiday workshop this year in which seven- to 12-year-olds can discover the sacred shrines of the medieval period. It runs from 2pm to 3pm on December 30th. Advanced booking is required on 01-6486332.

The team at the Natural History Museum will run workshops in the National Museum, Collins Barracks, on December 30th at 11am and 2pm. The theme is hibernation (something many of the adults might want to do by then) and those aged six and over can learn about why animals choose to sleep the winter away.

A trip to see a musical production at the National Concert Hall is a stylish alternative to pantomimes. This year, The Wizard of Oz runs there from December 27thto 30th. Other theatre shows worth bringing the children to include The Snow Queen at the Civic Theatre, Tallaght (until January 8th) and A Christmas Carol at the Gate Theatre (until January 9th). Fossett’s Circus is back again with its Christmas Circus this year, with shows running until January 3rd in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.

And finally, the Armagh Rhymers will perform a traditional Mummers’ play at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, Collins Barracks, Dublin on January 3rd at 2.15pm and 3.30pm.

Sligo’s Sidhe Gaoithe Mummers will bring to life characters including St Patrick, Brian Boru and others at its traditional Mummers’ play in the Irish Museum of Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo on January 3rd at 2.30pm. See museum.ie. SYLVIA THOMPSON


- ICE-SKATING rinks have been put in place in several cities throughout Ireland this year as adults and children partake in this energetic seasonal activity.

In Dublin alone, there is a choice of five venues – Smithfield, City West, the RDS, Ballsbridge, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre and Charlestown in Finglas – while in Cork, skating rinks are in situ at Centre Park Road and Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street. In Donegal, the Christmas on Ice rink is in Letterkenny, and in Galway, a rink overlooks Galway Bay.

In Killarney, Co Kerry, the ice rink is part of the wider festive mood in the town.

See 7upchristmasonice.ie, dublinonice.ie and christmasinkillarney.com.

- Getting wrapped up for a walk in the woods or the local park or beach is often one of the most memorable activities of the holidays for old and young alike. Discovering a new walk at this time of the year is a particular pleasure if the sun comes out. See coillteoutdoors.ie for a county-by-county selection of walks of varying lengths and difficulty.

Those based in the capital or near over Christmas can join in a hike on St Stephen’s Day from Massey’s Wood along the new Dublin Mountains Way up to Cruagh Wood in Rathfarnham. The walk, led by volunteer rangers, starts at the Hell Fire car park at 10.30am and takes about four hours. Book at info@dublinmountains.ie.

- And if you find yourself in Dublin city centre on New Year’s Eve, at Christ Church Cathedral people of all nationalities will join each other at midnight to spread good wishes for the new year, and the new decade. SYLVIA THOMPSON


CinderellaWaterfront Hall, Belfast, until Jan 19

AladdinGrand Opera House, Belfast, until Jan 16

Jack and the BeanstalkOpera House, Cork, until Jan 17

AladdinEveryman Palace Theatre, Cork, until Jan 10

Jack and the BeanstalkGaiety Theatre, Dublin 2, until Jan 31

CinderellaTivoli Theatre, Dublin 8, until Jan 17

Robin HoodOlympia Theatre, Dublin 2, until Jan 4

CinderellaThe Helix, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, until Jan 15

Scrooge’s ChristmasPavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, until Jan 17

Mother GooseAxis Theatre, Ballymun, Dublin 9, Jan 7-24

Peter Pan Draíocht, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, Jan 8-16

CinderellaLambert Puppet Theatre, Monkstown, Co Dublin, until Jan 5

Mother GooseTownhall Theatre, Galway, Dec 30-Jan 17

The Frog PrinceBlack Box, Townhall Theatre, Galway, Dec 28-Jan 3

Beauty and the BeastSiamsa Tire, Tralee, Co Kerry, until Jan 3

CinderellaUniversity Concert Hall, Limerick, Dec 28-Jan 3

AladdinLimerick Institute of Technology Millennium Theatre, Limerick, Dec 27-Jan 10