Choirs to crooners: all you need to know about Christmas shows
We all want to spend time with loved ones, so why not invite them for a night out?
Comedian and writer David O’Doherty brings his new show, Big Time, to Whelan’s, Dublin on December 15th, 16th 17th and 18th.
Christy Moore plays Vicar Street on Monday, December 19th and Tuesday, December 20th. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
We’ve picked some suitably seasonal events that are sure to help you celebrate all that’s best about the festive season
Uplifting cathedral choirs
Let the acoustically-impressive architecture of some of the nation’s finest places of worship – and concert halls – transport you with the pure sound of the human voice.
On Monday, December 5th the Culwick Choral Society – who claim a 118- year tradition of music making in the capital – and guests, soprano Cara O’Sullivan, Dublin Concert Band and Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath, will captivate audiences at the National Concert Hall (NCH) with music, songs and carols from across the ages.
Ring in the season with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Resurgam who will make Galway Cathedral reverberate to the sounds of Handel’s Messiah, a perennial masterpiece, on Saturday, December 10th. Christmas at the Cathedral, also on Saturday 10th, offers a night of festive carols, song and poetry with soprano Majella Cullagh at St Fin Barre’s in Cork city.
Travel back in time on Thursday, December 15th and enjoy a Viennese Christmas by candlelight at Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral performed by the UK’s leading chamber orchestra, London Concertante. The programme will include works by the King of Waltzes, Johann Strauss II and his masterpiece, the Blue Danube Waltz. Another perennial favourite,Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, and Brahms’s Hungarian Dance No 5 are also on the programme.
A festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, December 18th, is an opportunity to enjoy the human voice in one of the city’s most acoustically uplifting and atmospheric spaces.
The Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, one of the most recognisable, reputable and respected choral ensembles in the world, will perform on Wednesday, December 14th, at the NCH. Tickets to this are very limited so if you miss it you can tune into their A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which will be broadcast by the BBC to millions worldwide.
For the first time, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra presents Video Games Classic, a concert of major video game soundtracks and classical music hits, featuring the award-winning LA-based Irish video games music composer and conductor Eimear Noone, a choir of massed voices and singers Sibéal Ní Chasaide and Sarah Shine.
Ireland’s leading vocal harmony and barbershop quartet, Four in a Bar, play a gig entitled Gold, Frankincense and Barbershop that will soothe the soul on Thursday, December 1st at the National Concert Hall.
Christmas Crooners , meanwhile, promise a night jam-packed with festive favourites including the Christmas hits of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Catch them at Moate Theatre on Tuesday, December 13th and Siamsa Tíre in Tralee, Co Kerry, on Friday, December 16th.
Record producer and Eurovision-winning songwriter Phil Coulter is also touring the country, with guest Geraldine Branagan, playing new arrangements of classics such as The Town I Loved so Well and Steal Away. Catch him in Bray at the Mermaid on Tuesday, December 6th and Wednesday, December 7th; Draoícht, Blanchardstown on Thursday, December 8th; Cork Opera House on Sunday, December 11th; and Solstice Arts Centre in Navan on Tuesday, December 20th.
Alternatively you could get into the mystic with a date with Irish music’s elder statesman Van Morrison who plays the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Sunday, December, 18th.
Considered one of Dublin’s greatest bands, The Blades will serve up a slice of 1980s nostalgia at the Academy, on Saturday, December 17th. Having shared the stage with U2 at the Baggot Inn when both bands were vying for international attention, they remain a firm favourite with 40- and 50-somethings and you can expect the roof to lift when fans sing along to Downmarket.
The festive feelgood crown, though, goes to Christy Moore who plays Vicar Street on Monday, December 19th and Tuesday, December 20th. The Newbridge native, who was a founding member of Planxty and Moving Hearts, and is now in his eighth decade, is showing no signs of slowing down. There’s always craic to be had at a Christy gig and the only downside is that with a back catalogue this size not all gig goers will get to hear their favourite song.
Some of the best gigs of the festive season are already sold out and one can only hope that a loved-one in your life heard the hints you dropped to go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers play the 3Arena on Tuesday, December 20th or Wednesday, December 21st and gives you an early Christmas present of a ticket. The LA band who first played Ireland in 1992 at the SFX and have played twice at Slane (in 2001 and as headliners in 2003) will guarantee a set to shake off pre-holiday doldrums.
Having a laugh
David O’Doherty takes his new batch of songs and observations, Big Time, to Whelan’s, Dublin on December 15th, 16th 17th and 18th. Under The Influence is Tommy Tiernan’s new show which tours the country in December starting in Limerick at UCH on Wednesday, December 7th while Des Bishop’s Grey Matters tour takes in several locations around the country starting with the Abbey Tavern, Howth on Thursday, December 1st.
And if you feel like bashing on afterwards . . .
The Workman’s Club is a brilliant place to end your evening with plenty of people to peoplewatch and room to dance. Its interconnecting bare brick rooms and big smoking terrace offer lots of room to manoeuvre. theworkmansclub.com
Like a fine bottle of malt whiskey, 37 Dawson Street, a popular late-night bar, has aged handsomely and remains a good place to go if you fancy a properly constructed cocktail. 37dawsonstreet.ie
Plush velvet banquettes and a terraced area from where you can keep an eye on all the action are two of the pleasures of House, a period Georgian property on Dublin’s Leeson Street, where you can even sleep over should your evening turn into an allnighter. housedublin.ie
Set below the Dean Hotel on Harcourt Steet you can expect floor-filling party tunes, house, disco, pop, hip-hop and r ’n ’b as well as a few curve balls to keep you spinning shapes at Everleigh Garden. everleighgarden.com