Your guide to June Bank Holiday festivals and family events

The weekend starts here with the best of what to see and do from Forbidden Fruit to Bloom

Bloom 2017 Super Garden winner Des Kingston has combined industrial, agricultural and historical influences to create a garden that evokes "the Ireland of our childhood".


Selected highlights chosen by Jennifer O’Connell,  Seamas OReilly, Tony Clayton-Lea, Jim Carroll, Siobhán Long, Michael Dervan, Aidan Dunne and Cormac Larkin. (For weekend weather, sport and traffic go here


Kilkenny Cat Laughs
Kilkenny, June 1st - 5th 2017, 
Expanded from previous, more stand-up-focused iterations of its past, Kilkenny’s Cat Laugh’s festival is now a many headed beast, encompassing everything from stand-up and improv, to theatre, music, books and cabaret. With hundreds of things to catch over the weekend, here’s but a few morsels to get you started.
This year’s bulging bag of belly laughs is stuffed with Irish stand-up talent, with recurring appearances from traditional titans of Irish comedy such as Tommy Tiernan, Dara O Briain and Jason Byrne. There they’ll be joined by Colm O’Regan, Aisling Bea, Jarlath Regan all of whom are leading the line to become fellow fixtures within the nation’s comedy firmament. These local heroes will, of course, be ably supplemented by international standards such as Phill Jupitus, Rich Hall, Adam Hills and Kevin Bridges.

A festival debut comes for hirsute’n’haughty TJ Miller, an actor and comedian best known for his work on HBO’s Silicon Valley. One of the most reliably funny comedies on TV, Silicon Valley is certainly the funniest of all the ones in which attractive and charismatic actors affect the traits of awkward IT dorks in what is, effectively, blackface for nerds. 

It’s just been announced he is stepping away from the show as Eric Bachmann, the obnoxious character he’s played for the past four years, so those smarting from the news will be delighted to find that his on-stage persona blends most of that character’s charm with a decidedly less smarmy edge. 

Meanwhile, Saturday sees Glaswegian gasman Limmy meet the Kilkenny crowd for the first time. Consistently among the funniest human beings on the planet, the actor, writer and director behind Limmy’s Show Daft Wee Stories, and a Twitter account that singlehandedly justifies social media as an artform, is touring That’s Your Lot, his second book of short stories. Expect discussions, a Q&A, and dramatic, fully characterised live readings from the book itself, at the Watergate theatre from 8pm.

Fans of mixing music and comedy are also in for a treat as, hot from touring stadia with Ed Sheeran, and belting out tunes to 15,000 salty wastrels in Trafalgar Square this St Paddy’s Day, Abandoman will be bringing their superlatively popular music-comedy-improv brilliance to several gigs across the weekend. Fans may also want to save a spot in the diary for The Rubberbandits, who have a late show on Friday June 2nd. When they first burst onto the scene, few could have imagined these shirtless, bag-headed troubadours with a penchant for rapping about pills and Willie O’Dea would also have a double life speaking truth to Tubridy, and pursuing their rightful role as the beating moral heart of modern Ireland, but so has it come to pass. 

While the flabby tedium of the nation’s media landscape gives such a claim the nagging scent of faint praise, the truth is any country would delight in satirists as raucously satisfying, and genuinely hilarious, as the unmissable Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome. Not for nothing, their gig in Ormonde Hotel from 11pm will be standing – and leaping – only. SO’R


Phoenix Park, June 1 to 5, 9am-6pm €20/€22.50, €35/€39 (two-day tickets), €60/€68 (season). Under 16s go free
A wander around Bloom in the Phoenix Park heralds the start of summer for many Irish families. Extending over 70 acres in the heart of the park, the themes being explored at this year’s 22 show gardens include the rise of fake news, the need for a safe-haven for dementia sufferers, and the question of how to make Ireland the best country in the world to be a dog. (Note, though, that only guide dogs are actually allowed at the festival.) Find out about craft brewing, growing your own or attend one of the 25 live cookery demos, explore the 13 postcard sized gardens and sample the work of 100 Irish food producers. Bloom veterans will know public transport is the way to go -- a number of courtesy shuttle buses will be running from Parkgate Street and back all day. Show your train ticket or smart card to get €2 off ticket prices. JO’C


Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin 8pm €89.50/€75/€62.50 Also Sat; Sun Waterfront Hall Belfast 7pm £80/£60/£49

Ralf Hütter: one of the original Showroom Dummies

Often described as the world’s most influential group (a claim not without truth, but we’d add in The Beatles somewhere along the way, however), Kraftwerk bring their 3D Catalogue tour to Dublin for the first time. Fronted by sole original founding member Ralf Hütter, expect two hours of pioneering electronic music, breathtaking 3-D visuals, and a few well placed jokes about Angela Merkel (actually, no). TCL

Howth Tradfest

Various venues, Howth, all weekend
Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, Kíla and Declan O’Rourke gather in this gorgeous coastal setting for a knees-up that will weave past, present and possibly some future threads into the tradition. Chris Kavanagh will celebrate the legend that was Luke Kelly too, and local singers and musicians are likely to add to the multicoloured melee. Howth Singing Circle and The Castle Céilí Band have long flown the traditional music flag round these parts, so expect plenty of local musicians and singers to add their particular riches to the mix. SL

Lismore Opera Festival

Lismore Castle and other venues Co Waterford, Fri-Sun
If you haven’t booked a ticket yet for Lismore Opera Festival’s new production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in the picturesque surroundings of Lismore Castle you’ll have to get in the queue for returns. But the festival’s expansion plans have this year seen a broadening of its recitals programmes. There are events in Salterbridge House by flautist Kieran Moynihan (Saturday noon), in Fortwilliam Estate by members of the festival chorus (Saturday, 2.30pm), in Cappoquin House by cast members from the opera (Sunday noon), in Tourin House by cellist Gerard Peregrine (Sunday, 2.30pm) and at St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, by rapidly rising violinist Patrick Rafter (Sunday 6pm). MD


T13 Belfast 1pm £65/£40 (also Sat)
It’s the third time out for AVA and they’ve truly hit new heights this year. As line-ups go, this is one to relish with Jeff Mills and Guillaume Marmin’s Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind audio-visual show topping the bill.

Marcel Dettmann

Over the course of the two days, you also have such leading-edge talents as Berghain’s Marcel Dettmann, Ben UFO, Fatima Yamaha, Midland, Rebekah and dozens more. There’s a huge contingent of Irish names - such as Bicep, New Jackson, Ryan Vail, Schmutz, Jordan, Tinfoil and many more - a return visit from Boiler Room and an all-day conference with workshops, discussions and keynotes on Friday. Kudos galore to Sarah McBriar and her team for what is now one of the essential gatherings on the European circuit. JC


Arthurs, Dublin, 9pm, €10,
It remains to be seen whether Arthur’s fine upstairs room - complete with magnificent grand piano - can fill the void in the Irish jazz scene left by the closure of JJ Smyth’s, but the signs so far are encouraging. F-JOB is an acronym for pianist Greg Felton, drummer Matthew Jacobson and bassist Cormac O’Brien, but if it also carries a vaguely obscene subtext, that is hardly unintended. Drummer Jacobson has been playing one-handed since he broke his wrist earlier this year, but this performance of originals, re-arranged standards and the odd pop song, all passed through the F-JOB prism, will see him back to his ambidextrous best. CL

Techno & Cans

The Hangar Dubin 10.30pm €15/€12
Stanislav Tolkachev makes trippy techno which sounds like no-one else around. Since he showed up on a Modularz compilation back in 2012 with Building Peaks, the Ukranian producer has seen his profile soar thanks to an ability to merge and blend Detroit and European styles. Given that span of labels he’s worked with, there’s a lot in his back catalogue to check out before this Dublin appearance. JC

John Morales

Pyg Dublin 7pm €10 (also Electric Galway Sunday)

John Morales
John Morales

John Morales is one of the founding fathers of the disco re-edit business. The Bronx native started out in the 1970s spinning in local clubs before producing his own extended mixes or edits in a very old-fashioned way using tape and razor blades around 1975. He began to release some of these bespoke mixes via the Sunshine Sound studio and landed official remix jobs for Inner Life’s I’m Caught Up and Universal Robot Band’s Dance and Shake Your Tambourine. When he wasn’t in the studio, he was behind the decks in spots like the Limelight, Studio 54, Stardust Ballroom and other Big Apple staples. For those after some lush, strung-out, deluxe disco, Morales is the man. Support from Get Down Edits. JC

Nyah at the Fleadh

Kilnaleck Hall, Cavan 7.30m €20 086-8173153
Never a county to think small, Cavan’s irrepressible Nyah shenanigans continue this bank holiday weekend with as impressive a line up as you’ll encounter this summer. Headlining are Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, a fiddle/guitar duo who have helped us reconnect with traditional tunes in entirely new ways. The guest list includes such luminaries as musicologist and banjo player Professor Mick Moloney and fiddler Athena Tergis. Pat McCabe will launch his piano accordion album tonight too. Local and national heroes celebrating the best of what the music has to bring to the summer. SL

OpenEar 2017

Sherkin Island, West Cork, €130, Fri-Sun
Described as “a singular celebration of Irish music often over-looked by the mainstream”, this miniature festival only has space for 300 attendees for its weekend of experimental, ambient, electronica, neo-classical, hip hop/beats and techno. The festival takes place on the gorgeous grounds of Sherkin North Shore guesthouse, and the cost of camping is included with your weekend ticket. The island is accessible by ferry from Baltimore for €10 return. No dogs, no cars, no campervans and children are not allowed after dark. Sounds pretty perfect. JO’C

Ireland BikeFest Killarney

INEC Killarney, free, Fri-Mon
Bikers from around the world are expected to descend on Killarney in their thousands for Ireland’s only free open biker festival, which offers free gigs, food and the chance, for those so inclined, to ride their motorbike around the twisting tracks around the mountains and high above the lakes. Might be a weekend to avoid that route if four wheels are more your style. JO’C



Beaulieu House, Baltray, Drogheda, Co Louth €90/€40 Sat-Sun
We have a lot of time for the smaller, independently run open-air festivals -Vantastival is one of the best examples of how to do it right. Persistence, a focus on emerging bands, and an interesting theme (which can snag a perfect-match sponsor) has enabled festival co-founders Louise Tangney and Benny Taafe to forge a family friendly event that knows its worth as well as its limitations.

Cat Dowling 

The festival has been located in various areas within Co Louth since its inception in 2010, but this is its second year at Beaulieu House, a fine heritage property located by the banks of the River Boyne. Full line-up detailsare on the website, but we’re particularly looking forward to seeing Overhead, the Albatross, Lankum, Cat Dowling, Mark Geary, and Mindriot. TCL

Forbidden Fruit

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin Sat-Mon €145.50/€109.50/ €99.50/€64.50/€59.50/€49.50
It’s a welcome return for Forbidden Fruit, which is not only 2017’s first open-air city-based summer festival but also an established event that moves closer and closer to the edges with each passing year. The line-up across the weekend is, as they say, stellar, and features the likes of Orbital, Nao, Booka Shade, with Craig Walker (Saturday), Aphex Twin, Nicholas Jaar, Moderat (Sunday), and Bon Iver, Flying Lotus, Danny Brown, The Staves (Monday).

Rusangano Family: on the Forbidden Fruit stage on Monday

And don’t forget to check out some very fine Irish acts performing over the weekend - these include Tara Lee, Barq, Jafaris (Saturday), Ships, Soule, Heroes in Hiding (Sunday) and Ryan Vail, Rusangano Family (above), Talos, and Lisa Hannigan (Monday). The comedy tent features Jarlath Regan and Joe Rooney, better known as Fr Damo from Father Ted. There’s also an inflatable church, disco dodgems, bingo loco, a funfair and some seriously posh donuts. Three-day and two-day weekend tickets have now sold out, but you can still get your hands on single-day tickets. TCL


Tengu Dublin 11pm €20
Given the licensing laws of this country, there was little chance that Forbidden Fruit would get the nod to go all night long in Dublin 8. Instead, the sold-out event is taking over the city’s clubs for some late-night high jinks involving a range of acts including Snakehips, Hot Chip, Booka Shade and more, with Orbital the pick of the bunch tonight. It’s their third spin on the Orbital roundabout, having hung up their head-torches after last-ever-gigs in 2004 and in 2014. Support from Colin Perkins and Donal Dineen. JC

Cork Harbour Festival

Various locations, Cork Adm free
The third annual nine-day festival celebrating the city’s maritime heritage kicks off on Saturday, and features 60 different events in 15 harbour towns and villages. This weekend’s top events include Boats and Bites in Cork city, the Whitegate regatta, the Cork Fab Food trail, a youth circus open day, stand-up paddle boarding taster sessions at Lee Fields, kids’ crab fishing, the Spike Island heritage evening, family orienteering, photography safaris and the 40km and 100km Cork Harbour Cycle (see Monday’s events). Festival admission is free, though there are charges for some events. JO’C

Sheep Shearing Championship

St Brigid’s GAA club, Roscommon, Sat-Sun
The event described as the ‘mini Ploughing’ kicks off on Saturday. Irish farmers will pit their sheep shearing skills against competitors from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and France at the second All-Ireland and All-Nations sheep shearing and wool handling competition. Two hundred competitors will shear 2,200 sheep over the two days at St Brigid’s GAA club in Roscommon. Other attractions include a Nathan Carter gig on Friday, children’s events, sheep shows, dog trials, cookery demos and an artisan food quarter. JO’C

Meilana Gillard

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, 8.30pm, £12
London-born and Ohio-raised, saxophonist Meilana Gillard cut her teeth on the New York scene with the likes of Greg Osby, Charli Persip and Christian McBride. Now based outside Belfast, she’s just released her second album, Dream Within a Dream, on Belfast indy label Lyte Records, run by drummer/producer David Lyttle. Lyttle and bassist Neil O Loclainn provide rugged support to the leader’s gutsy tenor playing. Tour continues to Phil Grimes, Waterford (Wed 7th), Black Gate, Galway (Thu 8th), Mullarkey’s, Clifden (Fri 9th), Arthurs, Dublin (Sat 10th), Bennigans, Derry (Sun 11th). CL

Copper Coast Festival

Co Waterford, Sat-Sun, Adm free
The free Copper Coast festival is run in conjunction with European Geoparks week. Events include a Saturday morning market at Stradbally, a coast guard cliff rescue demonstration at Bunmahon in the afternoon and road bowling on Sunday, geowalks and sea kayaking. JO’C


Conamara Bog Week

Various locations, Adm free
Conamara Bog Week, a festival of music, walking and talking, wraps up this weekend with live gigs, art exhibitions, children’s art events and - on Sunday afternoon - five walks in Roundstone, Omey Island, Derrygimlagh, Letterfrack and Renvyle. On Sunday evening, there will be poetry and music events held around the area, including readings by Theo Dorgan and Moya Cannon, a performance by four flute players and a jazz and blues gig in Kylemore Abbey. JO’C

Pratoleva Trio

Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin noon Adm free
Hamburg-based Irish composer Frank Corcoran, who turned 73 on May 1st, has a new CD out on the RTÉ lyric fm label this month, and a live tie-in in the form of a portrait concert at the Hugh Lane Gallery. The lynchpin among the performers is Martin Johnson, principal cellist of the RTÉ NSO, who’s on the CD playing the composer’s Cello Concerto, and is in every work on the CD. As a member of the Pratoleva Trio, he’s in three of the four works in the concert, too - the Duetti Irlandesi, settings of Irish melodies for cello and piano (Fergal Caulfield), the Rhapsodietta Joyceana (“based on the notes supplied by the letters in the writer’s name”) for solo cello, and the Trio for viola, cello and piano; the other work is the Variazioni semplici for solo viola (Adele Johnson). MD

Daniel Avery

Project Waterford 10.30pm €18/€15/€12
It’s four years and counting since Daniel Avery delivered a serious statement of intent in the shape of his Drone Logic debut. While the wait for a follow-up goes on, there has been some evidence of life in the meantime.

Daniel Avery:  shapeshifter

Avery’s contribution to the DJ Kicks series last year showed just why the London producer is so highly regarded with a setlist full of shapely tracks which shared a hypnotic, spacey, otherworldy buzz. When you go back to Drone Logic, it’s Avery’s talent for joining up techno’s dark energy and experimental electronica’s various plotlines which is the most intriguing of all. Support from Kenno and Warren Sauvage. JC

Forbidden Fruit Aftershow

Wah Wah Club Dublin 11pm €12
Anyone attending the city fest in Kilmainham would be well advised to head to the Wah Wah Club for this visit from Denis Sulta. The Glasgow-born producer is the latest musical magician from that Scottish city to enjoy acclaim thanks to strong releases on Numbers, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Mister Saturday Night (as Atlus) and his own Sulta Selects set-up. Support from Jack Thompson. JC

Liminal Acts

DIT Photography BA Graduates. Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin Until June 18
The graduates came up with the show’s title, figuring it describes “the place of the graduate exhibition as a transitional stage or liminal site between college and professional working life”. Course chair Ann Curran elaborates: “Some students have focused on spaces or sites that are liminal … others transitional places between specific physical locations. Some projects invoke particular psychological states … others seek to represent the in-between knowledge derived from embodied experience, performance and lived memory.” AD


West Meets West

Philip Booth, Matthew Lanyon and Tony Lattimer. Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre, Marsh, Skibbereen Until July 8
An Uillinn initiative exploring the historic links between the seaboards of Cornwall and West Cork. This exhibition featuring three leading Cornish artists at Uillinn will be followed by an exhibition of work by three West Cork artists in Cornwall. Philip Booth makes wall mounted multi-media constructions.

Whirlpool by Tony Lattimer

Matthew Lanyon who, sadly, died last year, was a son of the renowned Peter Lanyon of St Ives School fame. The show will feature several of his large-scale paintings, a new glasswork and a tapestry. Finally, Tony Lattimer makes large clay sculptures using a coiling technique. Nine of his pieces are included.Robert Harris of the Roaringwater Journal has been exploring the Cornish-Cork links and is behind the project. AD

VHI Women’s Mini Marathon

Dublin city centre, 2pm
The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon takes place at 2pm on Monday, with thousands of women from Ireland and Europe competing in the 10km event, the biggest of its kind in the world. The race starts on Fitzwilliam Street Upper and finishes on Baggot Street. Expect some road closures. JO’C

Cork Harbour Cycle

Various locations, Cork
Participants will cycle the 40km Scenic Harbour route or the more challenging 100km Challenge Cycle, which takes them to Ringaskiddy, Carrigaline, Crosshaven and back to the ferry. Registration for the event is now closed, but you can still turn out and support the cyclists. JO’C

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