An art college day out, sticky lights and a gardening festival in Kildare

Home Front: What to do and see across Ireland over the next few weeks

Diarmuid Gavin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Diarmuid Gavin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw


The art of things at NCAD welcome day

Here’s an event in Dublin on Saturday 16th that has nothing to do with Bloomsday! The welcome day at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) on Thomas Street has lots of workshops and tours. Part of this year’s graduate exhibition, the free, family-friendly day has art, design and craft workshops for various age groups, as well as informal and informative tours with NCAD heads of school (Philip Napier and Alex Milton) for those wanting to find out more about developments in fine art and design. Events include the My Family are Robots drawing workshop at noon; a Bee-ware ceramics workshop creating bumble bee tiles, also at noon; and My Alternative Self workshop using alternative drawing methods to explore the figure and face at 2pm. NCAD, 100 Thomas St, Dublin 8, noon-5pm. See

Eclipse light fitting by Rachel Fitzpatrick
Eclipse light fitting by Rachel Fitzpatrick

Stick to the art and design

Proving that you can create art with almost any material, Rachel Fitzpatrick’s large lighting sculpture called Fionn, on show during the Venice Architecture Biennale, is made from Velcro.

Northern Irish designer and artist, Fitzpatrick is presented by the Global Art Affairs foundation at Venice Design, the largest design exhibition alongside La Biennale di Venezia. Her work is at the European Cultural Centre in one of the city’s palaces, Palazzo Michiel. Fitzpatrick (originally Rachel O’Neill) specialises in using industrial materials in her work, and the sculptural chandelier in Venice is made from more than 650m of hook-and-loop fastening tape. Inspired by Fionn Mac Cumhaill’s ability to outwit enemies through disguise, Fitzpatrick has sculpted the everyday industrial material to disguise it as a giant lighting sculpture over 2½m long – hoping, like Mac Cumhaill, to temporarily beguile the audience.

Fitzpatrick has worked with US interior designers, including making a giant lighting sculpture for the Hollywood Reporter, and a collaboration with Wallpaper and Bergdorf Goodman on a sculptural chandelier for New York Design Week. She also worked on creating massive installations for Peugeot’s showrooms on the Champs Élysées in Paris and the Unter den Linden, Berlin.,

Talking Gardens Festival at Cliff at Lyons with ‘The Gloss’

Whether you are designing a new garden, refreshing an established one, starting your own kitchen garden, or just fancy a day out in the fresh air surrounded by beautiful things to look at, smell and taste, the Talking Gardens Festival at Cliff at Lyons, Co Kildare, in partnership with The Gloss magazine, could be just the ticket.

Running over four days from Tuesday, June 26th, each day has different speakers and events, including talks by internationally-renowned garden designer Diarmuid Gavin; Martin Brady of DigbyBrady Landscape Architects and Garden Design; Seamus Bradley, head gardener at Cliff at Lyons; and expert florist Lorcan Burke.

On the first day of the festival in “A Chelsea Flower Show Odyssey”, Gavin recounts his adventures at the world’s most famous gardening event, revealing the challenges and drama of creating a garden for the famous show. He will also share trends in garden design and practical advice on planting, including the must-have plants from Chelsea 2018. Then Bradley will talk about “Starting Your Own Kitchen Garden” in the on-site edible garden, followed by an al fresco grill lunch served in the pretty setting of Dovetail Garden. After lunch, enjoy some floristry artistry with Burke, who gives tips, tricks and trade secrets in a floral masterclass. Tickets are €65 per person, including lunch.

Day two, Thursday, June 28th, includes the “Starting Your Own Kitchen Garden” talk from Bradley, followed by a floral afternoon tea served in the Orangery at Cliff at Lyons, and a masterclass in floristry from Burke. Tickets €50 per person, including afternoon tea.

On Friday, June 29th, the evening event begins at 7pm with botanical cocktails, followed by Gavin talking guests through some of the most glamorous gardens in the world. This is followed by supper of botanical dining created by head chef Nathan Dimond, with an organic wine pairing by expert Pascal Rossignol in the Orangery. Tickets are €75 each, with dinner and wine included.

Sunday, July 1st is the final day, with Martin Brady giving advice on creating a modern garden; Seamus Bradley discussing “Starting Your Own Kitchen Garden”, with lunch served in the Orangery. After lunch, there’s a masterclass on flower arranging with Lorcan Burke. Tickets cost €65.

Tickets via Eventbrite at the Cliff at Lyons website.