What’s on around Ireland this weekend

A guide to events from the Heineken Cup rugby match to the Shannonside Winter Music Festival

Heineken Cup

Leinster rugby squad will play the Ospreys at 8pm on Friday at the RDS arena.

The Irish side are four points ahead of Northampton after 29-22 win against Castres in France last weekend. The back division will remain the same but Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor has named four changes to the group - Cian Healy and Martin Moore will replace prop pair Jack McGrath and Mike Ross, while Rhys Ruddock and Shane Jennings replace Kevin McLaughlin and Jordi Murphy in the back row. Richardt Strauss, who was diagnosed with a heart condition last October and initially ruled out for the rest of the season, has made a speedy recovery and will be on the bench as reserve hooker for this evening's match.

Music for Galway Midwinter Festival

This year's mid-winter classical music festival in Galway entitled 'The Birth of Modern Music' is headed by the new artistic director, Irish pianist Finghin Collins. The weekend of music at the Town Hall Theatre will include works by Debussy, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, as well as Brahms, Fauré and Vaughan Williams. Performers include Irish ensemble Cassiopeia Winds, Dutch soprano Lenneke Ruiten, and British pianist Richard Uttley.

Friday 17th- Sunday 19th January

Tickets: €55/€45 (weekend) / €20 / €16

The JACK Quartet

The internationally renowned JACK quartet will return to Belfast this weekend for a series of performances and workshops, including a concert in complete darkness. The New York-based string quartet will perform ‘In Darkness’ on Saturday 18th January at the MAC theatre in Belfast. Musicians will play in complete darkness, unable to see either audience members or their fellow players. On Friday afternoon the quartet will give a composition worship to be followed by a performance entitled ‘Tetras’ that evening. Composers, music students and musicians are invited to attend the workshop.

Tickets for Friday/Saturday: £10-£17

visit-belfast.com/whats-on/event/the-jack-quartet jackquartet.com/

The Cunning Little Vixen

The Royal Irish Academy of Music completes its run this weekend of composer Leoš Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen. Directed by Rough Magic's Lynne Parker, this comic opera tells the tale of a quick-witted fox and the cycle of life and death which blends the worlds of human and animal nature. The production features a cast of 24 singers and includes the artistic flair of students from the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Running till Saturday 18th January, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin, 7.30pm.

Tickets: €25/€20

Shannonside Winter Music Festival at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

On Saturday afternoon Bunratty Folk Park will host a series of gigs on five different stages, while the pubs of Sixmilebridge present concerts in jazz, folk, blues and bluegrass as part of the four day winter music festival now in its 15th year. The festival continues on Sunday with performers including German world-music group Papirossi and Franco-Irish gypsy-folk band, Rue du Canal.

Hidden Agenda Club

The Hidden Agenda event at the Button Factory kicks off its 2014 run this Saturday night with a performance from London-based producer William Phillips, aka Tourist. Following his Tonight EP, Tourist is working with vocalists for the first time on his new release Together, featuring MNEK and newcomer Jacob Banks.

Button factory Dublin, Sat 11pm €12/€10

Bluegrass Ensemble

The Chapel Royal in the grounds of Dublin Castle will open their doors on Sunday afternoon to a performance of Bluegrass music. Admission to the beautiful chapel is free but advance booking is essential on dublincastletickets@opw.ie.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, 1:15pm