Things to do with children this weekend

Are We There Yet? Here are some fun family events, from festive singing to flea markets to take your mind off awkward parent teacher meetings

Getting their glow on at Glow in Smithfield, a free family event in Dublin city centre on Saturday

Getting their glow on at Glow in Smithfield, a free family event in Dublin city centre on Saturday

 

Parent-teacher meetings: the most properly grown-up thing those of us who can’t quite manage to grow up will ever do. Right now there are parents and guardians all over the country, trembling on tiny chairs in front of tiny desks trying to look as if everything the teacher is saying makes complete sense.

At no other time is it more apparent that the person sitting in front of you spends more time with your children Monday to Friday than you do. It’s terrifying.

Time to take our tiny seats. For starters, the teacher mentions an Irish language CD it transpires we are supposed to be playing every other night. But what CD? I have never heard tell of it. If there was a CD, I would definitely know about it. Wouldn’t I?

There’s a slight issue about tidiness, and this lovely and kind teacher wants to know how good they are in terms of tidying their bedroom at home. Like their mother, they’re no Marie Kondos, but suddenly I am mortified and culpable and mumbling something vaguely disciplinary about a chores rota which doesn’t exist but it will soon, definitely, we promise.

We also have a pair of accidentally Joycean children who do not like to involve themselves with conventional punctuation or indeed any punctuation and just like a stream of consciousness approach to prose that is completely untroubled by full stops commas quotation marks and dont even try to make them do an apostrophe because thats just a waste of time and thats just how it is deal with it the end

All over the country parents and guardians are trembling in tiny chairs for the parent-teacher meeting
All over the country parents and guardians are trembling in tiny chairs for the parent-teacher meeting

Are we encouraging them to go over their work – editing it, so to speak? No, is the answer, but we will. (I am an editor in a newspaper and suddenly that fact is hovering over the tiny desk between the teacher and me like the biggest, reddest question mark you’ve ever seen).

The chair is too small. The room is too hot. I came in here wanting to exude being a calm, confident parent but somehow I am projecting confused and clueless eejit instead.

In the end it doesn’t matter, though, because these are the words we’ll cling to: “You have lovely, mannerly, sociable, fun children who are full of great ideas,” she says. We already know this but it means a lot coming from this woman, in whom we place so much trust.

I will think of those words when I am listening to that elusive CD and crafting that imaginary chores rota.

Now, here are some events that will help banish any uncomfortable parent-teacher meeting memories. Enjoy.

Dublin Flea Christmas Market

Yule be glad you made time for the Dublin Flea Christmas Market
Yule be glad you made time for the Dublin Flea Christmas Market

Sorry to all of the other markets – especially the Irish Times Christmas Fair which is happening this Sunday, December 10th, at IT Towers HQ on Tara Street and may include the vocal stylings of your correspondent – but this is my favourite market in all the land.

Dublin City Council plays a blinder with the range of 140 stalls offering an amazing mix of vintage and collectibles, but there’s also an unrivalled collection of independent Irish craft-makers, designers and artists you will not find in the big shops. There are also gorgeous food trucks outside and plenty to distract the children while you haggle over that brooch that would be perfect for Auntie Moira.

Where: Point Square, Dublin (beside 3Arena)

When: Friday, December 7th to Sunday December 10th; Friday: 1-8pm; Sat and Sun: 11am-6pm

Cost: Free

Contact: dublinchristmasflea.ie

Tracks In The Snow

The Henry Girls are bringing their magical show Tracks in the Snow back to the Ark in Dublin through December
The Henry Girls are bringing their magical show 'Tracks in the Snow' back to the Ark in Dublin through December

This show is back by popular demand, so do yourselves a favour and follow the heavenly harmonies of The Henry Girls into an enchanting world of winter. There are still a few dates left for this popular show and, having seen these women perform, I can tell you that this will enchant not only the children but will also melt the hearts of everyone else lucky enough to attend. From sparkling icicles to wolves in the forest, the joy of sledding at high speed or the wonder of the Aurora Borealis on a frosty night, discover the magic and mysteries of the festive season. And just what did make those tracks in the snow? Find out as the band’s playful humour and trademark folk and trad melodies celebrate some of the things we love to see and do when the world turns white. One not to miss.

When: Runs until December 30th, weekends 2pm and 4pm, school days 10.15am and 12.15am

Where: The Ark, Dublin

Cost: €12

Contact: 01-670 7788 or boxoffice@ark.ie

What’s Your Issue?

This is an event the older children in your life might find interesting. The Colourful Youth art collective presents an art exhibition about life in the fragmented northeast inner-city Dublin community since the gang-related shootings of 2016. These young people have worked with artists for nine months, gaining skills in art and critical analysis to shape their ideas about life in north inner city Dublin. This year the four groups of young people, led by artists Katherine Sankey, Shireen Shortt and Serena Teehan, are from Swan Youth Service, Crinan Youth Project and Lourdes Youth & Community Services and range in age from 15 to 23. The young people will open the exhibition themselves.

Where: Science Gallery, Dublin

When: Sunday December 10th, 3-5pm

Cost: Free

Contact: facebook.com/colourfulyouthdublin

Glow

Cousins Luc Nanena Leen (8) and Marco Acosta (3) from Dublin at the launch of Dublin City Council’s annual Glow event in Smithfield Square. Photograph: Mark Stedman
Cousins Luc Nanena Leen (8) and Marco Acosta (3) from Dublin at the launch of Dublin City Council’s annual Glow event in Smithfield Square. Photograph: Mark Stedman

This will give you a warm glow just reading about it. Glow is a gorgeous family event which will light up your Saturday in loads of different ways. It features those talented madsers Lords of Strut, the Maynooth Gospel Choir, Kididisco, a giant Glow Doodle, family Light Up Lantern workshops as well as artists Chris Judge and Fergal McCarthy. Also involved are Brown Bag Films and the Light House Cinema and the brilliant local charity One Family. Glow on.

When: 2-6pm, Saturday December 9th

Where: Smithfield Square, Dublin

Cost: Free

Contact: facebook.com/grasshopperevents

If you know of great free stuff to do with children around the country or really good value experiences and events that are coming up, or even excellent family-friendly restaurants, email me on arewethereyet@irishtimes.com. You can also find me on Twitter @roisiningle.

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