The empty wallet


SIMON TIERNEYon living well with less cash


While attending an all-boys boarding school as a teenager, the sighting of a female under the age of 30 was akin to David Attenborough glimpsing a snow leopard in the Himalayan wilderness. It was rare. Word of a sighting would travel fast. “Don’t make any sudden movements or she may retreat”. The lack of any female contact meant that we were eager to adorn our dormitories with posters of scantily clad beauties. This, of course, was forbidden. So I began to adorn my cubicle with art instead. I tried to find the most risqué paintings possible. I remember being questioned by the school authorities about a particularly erotic picture of a reclining nude, to which I responded “Amedeo Modigliani, 1919.” No further questions were asked.

Awakening Curiosity is a new exhibition opening on June 23rd at the Ark (11a Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, tel: 01-6707788), Dublin’s cultural centre for children. Discover how nature inspired the work on display as science meets art. There are 10 family tickets (worth €8) available to the first people to email

If you want to develop your painting and drawing skills, the long-established Brushstrokes Art School (7 Marino Mart, Fairview, Dublin 3, tel: 01-8335955) is offering a set of five free art classes (worth €125) to the first four people to email These classes are subject to availability in July and August.

The Upset Arts Event is an exhibition being staged in response to the proposals for hydraulic fracturing in Leitrim. This is a controversial method of gas extraction which can have an environmental impact. Set in a large warehouse, this free event is running from June 30th to July 4th in Drumshanbo Business Park (Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, tel: 087-0570122).

Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane (Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1, tel: 01-2225550) runs free sketching workshops for kids (age seven-plus) every Sunday from 3pm-4pm (until the end of June). Materials are provided and no booking is required, although numbers may be limited. Tomorrow’s class will focus on the still life Garden Green by Norah McGuinness.

Fresh artistic talent is currently on show at the Crawford Graduate Exhibition in the Castlemartyr Resort (Ladysbridge Road, Castlemartyr, Co Cork, tel: 021-4219000), until September 30th. The exhibition will feature the work of six artists from CIT Crawford School of Art Design.

The NCAD degree and postgraduate exhibitions run at the college (100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, tel: 01-6364200) until June 17th. See ncad.iefor details. Admission to both events is free.

A free screening of the documentary Caravaggio: the Private Life of an Easter Masterpiece is taking place today (and on June 16th and 23rd) at 2pm in the lecture theatre of the National Gallery of Ireland (Merrion Square, Dublin 2, tel: 01-6615133).

Last but not least . . .

Achill’s Activity Providers (Achill Island, Co Mayo, and Portwest are hosting their Give it a Go weekend from June 16th-17th. Enjoy fly fishing, canoeing, horse riding and other activities. There are three free passes (normally €90) up for grabs to the first people to email, with the subject line “GIAG Comp”.

If you have details of free services, activities and products, email Upcoming topics include Homemade: if you are a dab hand at making things on an empty wallet, let us know.