Get out more
Give relatives and friends the gift of a night out. It’s an supremely social present that is also easy to wrap
Carols by Candlelight at the National Concert Hall takes place on Friday, December 22nd.
Comedian Jimmy Carr will perform his Greatest Hits tour at Dublin’s Olympia on Friday, December 1st.
The Amity Affliction headline the Kerrang! tour on Monday, December 11th, at Dublin’s Academy.
Your other half
Love time together
Rekindle your love with a night enjoying the chocolate tones of living legend and soul master Lee Fields and the Expressions, playing the Sugar Club, Dublin, on Thursday and Friday, December 7th and 8th. Tickets from €25. Sugarclubtickets. com ">Sugarclubtickets.comLovers of opera and Christmas classics can join Irish soprano Celine Byrne for one night only, December 15th, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, where tickets cost from €25. The vocalist has sung at Milan’s La Scala. At the same venue, you can yodel in time to the theatrical production of The Sound of Music, enjoy a pre-theatre dinner, overnight accommodation, breakfast as well as tickets to the show for two people at The Grand Canal Hotel for €258. Grandcanalhotel.ie; Bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
After raising the roof at Rankin’s Wood at Electric Picnic last summer, 2fm is bringing the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Jenny Greene to the stage of the INEC, Killarney. While sold out, you could investigate any cancellations in the overnight package next door at the Gleneagles Hotel, which costs €231 for B&B and two tickets to the show.
Similar thinking is required to try and see Belfast’s finest, Van Morrison, who is performing on Monday, December 4th, and Tuesday, December 5th, to just 350 fans each night at the Europa Hotel, Belfast. These shows are also sold out but the hotel suggests you contact them about possible cancellations.
Go for elder indies, 1980s’ heartthrob or a funny man
Onetime heartthrob Chris Rea returns to Dublin to tour his new album Road Songs For Lovers and plays The Olympia on Wednesday, December 6th. Tickets, if you can get your hands on them, cost from €44. olympia.ie
Elder indies would love to get given tickets to see The Charlatans play The Academy, Dublin, on Sunday, December 10th, or Limelight, Belfast, on Monday, December 11th. Tickets from €56.
Funny man Jimmy Carr will perform his Greatest Hits tour at Dublin’s Olympia on Friday, December 1st, two gigs on Saturday, December 2nd, and another on December 3rd. Tickets from €36.50.
Keep it country or go classic
If your gran is the country and Irish loving kind, she might relish the notion of a night with Nathan Carter, who plays a series of gigs around the country. Dinner and show tickets at the Nurenmore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, on Friday, December 15th, cost from €55 while an overnight dinner, B&B plus show package costs €119pps. Other hotels offering similar packages include the Slieve Russell in Co Cavan, where Carter plays on Saturday, December 2nd; the Mullingar Park on Friday, December 8th; and the Great Northern, Bundoran, Co Donegal, on Saturday, December 9th.
Best known for creating the waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra, Dutch violinist and conductor André Léon Marie Nicolas Rieu plays the 3Arena on Friday, December 8th, and Saturday, December 9th.
Or take her to see one of the country’s top record-selling songwriters, the Ivor Novello-winning Phil Coulter, whose countrywide 50th anniversary Pure Gold tour takes in a plethora of venues culminating in An Grianan in Letterkenny on Thursday, December 21st. Tickets from Pat Egan Management. Pateganmgt.ie
Enjoy time in the company of rock and folk gods
Rock god Robert Plant, lead singer and lyricist with Led Zeppelin and soon-to-be-septuagenarian, is showing no signs of slowing down when he takes to the stage of the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on Saturday, December 2nd, and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, on Sunday, December 3rd – something your granddad might really tune in to. ulsterhall.co.uk; Bordgaisenergytheatre.ieIf your granddad was at Lisdoonvarna, Ireland’s very own mini Woodstock, then he’d love to go see the ledge Christy Moore, who returns this festive season for another tour that includes multiple nights at Dublin’s Vicar Street and 13 other dates across the country for a pre-Christmas romp through his back catalogue. It’s a night out that has become as much part of the festive calendar as mulled wine and mince pies. Christymoore.com
Give brotherly love
Show a little brotherly love with the gift of tickets to see singer-songwriter Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band back at Vicar Street to mark the 15th anniversary of his first show at the venue. The band plays Thursday, December 7th, and Friday, December 8th, also playing Dolans, Limerick, on Sunday, December 10th, and Cork Opera House on Monday, December 11th. Tickets from €36. <HTJoshritter.com
Following last year’s sensational Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, one of Britain’s best-loved bands, Happy Mondays, return to Vicar Street for a full greatest hits show on Friday, December 15th. Tickets €35. Vicarstreet. com">Vicarstreet.ie
Sing and dance with the sisters
Celebrate sisterhood and wonder at the showstopping choreography of Cabaret, starring Will Young and Louise Rednapp, which runs at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Friday, December 1st, and Saturday, December 2nd. Tickets from €56.
Enjoy the ultimate chick flick at an anniversary screening of Dirty Dancing on Saturday, December 2nd, swoon at George Michael: Live in London on Thursday, December 21st, or dance and sing along to Prince: Sign of the Times purple party, on Saturday, December 30th, all at The Sugar Club. Tickets from €12.50 and €15.
Steal a Sunday night away from home and head to Kilkenny, where the Aris Choir performs Handel’s Messiah at St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, as part of Yulefest, on Sunday, December 2nd at 8pm. Yulefestkilkenny.ie
Head to Galway and spend a night in the company of Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey. The troubadour plays Monroe’s, Galway, on Thursday, December 14th. Tickets €25. If you can’t make Galway, Dempsey plays The Set Theatre, Kilkenny, the night before, Wednesday, December 13th, as part of Yulefest. Tickets €26. He also plays Dublin’s Vicar Street on December 22nd and 23rd.
Ear-bleeding noise will delight
Dance fiends will love the elecro dark tunes of Waterford-based King Kong Company. While their Dublin gig at The Academy on Saturday, December 16th, is sold out, you can catch them earlier in the month when they play the Set Theatre, Kilkenny on Friday, December 1st, as part of Yulefest; Róisín Dubh, Galway. on Saturday, December 2nd; Dolans, Limerick on Friday, December 8th; and INEC Killarney, on Saturday, December 9th. Tickets range from €17 to €20.
Probably the world’s most famous rock magazine Kerrang! returns to the capital for a school night of rock on Monday, December 11th, with its Kerrang Tour 17 at Dublin’s Academy. Australian metalcore giants The Amity Affliction headline the tour, with modern-day punk anthem outfit Boston Manor, Scottish rock outfit Vukovi and Welsh hardcore act Casey there to make your ears bleed. Tickets (over 14s only) cost from €22. Theacademydublin. com">Theacademydublin.com
Teenagers will love Over The Top Wrestling at the National Stadium, Dublin (over 16s), on Saturday, December 9th, and Mandela Hall, Belfast (over 14s), on Sunday, December 10th. The Dublin gig features The Young Bucks, a tag team of real-life brothers, California boys Matthew and Nicholas Massie; English-born The Villian Marty Scurll showcasing his signature moves; and The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes. Tickets are scarce and cost €65 ringside.
Tickets For the Belfast gig cost £15 to see a different line-up – ROH stars Dalton Castle and The Boys, The Session Moth Martina and The Kings Of The North, and there is transport from Dublin aboard the banter bus, also £15. Ottwrestling. com ">Ottwrestling.com
Give her grace and poise
If you’d like your teen to realise the value of poise and deportment, then take her to see Shakespeare’s tragic tale, Romeo and Juliet, transported from Verona to a modern-day high school by Ballet Ireland and which tours the country, playing 13 different dates in December, starting at the Solstice Arts Centre in Thurles on Friday, December 1st, and ending at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, on Wednesday, December 13th. Tickets from €20 upwards. Balletireland. ie ">Balletireland.ieIf you fancy a little mother-daughter retail therapy, why not head to the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, where an overnight mid-week shopping package on Tuesday, December 5th, includes accommodation, breakfast and a three-course meal in its Great Room restaurant for two sharing a room from £270. The offer includes a £50 voucher to use at the nearby Victorian Square shopping centre. Themerchanthotel. com">Themerchanthotel.com
It doesn’t matter how many times they’ve seen it, children of all ages will enjoy big screenings of Toy Story, showing at 2pm on Saturday, December 2nd, at The Sugar Club and The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, screening at the National Concert Hall, with Rene Aubry’s score played live by RTÉ’s Concert Orchestra, on Sunday, December 3rd.Tickets €10 and €25. nch.ie; thesugarclub.com
You can watch The Muppet Christmas Carol on the big screen at The Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, where one of the best festive films of all time, Home Alone, is showing on Saturday, December 23rd. Tickets €7.50. paviliontheatre.ieHarry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, at the 3Arena, on Wednesday, December 6th, will feature a live orchestra performing its score by award-winning film composer and Oscar winner, John Williams, with the film, which will be shown in high-definition on a 60ft screen. Tickets from €55. 3Arena.ieYou can watch the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street at Draoícht Theatre, Blanchardstown, on Wednesday, December 6th and at The Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, on Saturday, December 23rd. draoicht.ie; paviliontheatre.ie
The 2fm Xmas Ball, in aid of the ISPCC, takes place at the 3Arena, on Tuesday, December 19th, and will be hosted by the radio station’s presenters including Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene. Headliners The Script will be joined by The Coronas, Gavin James, Hudson Taylor and Wild Youth to perform live on the night, with very special guests to be announced. Tickets cost €39.50. Ticketmaster.ie
Get into the festive spirit with a feel-good factor carol session that you can join in
Carols by Candlelight lift the heart and soul. At the National Concert Hall we are transported back to the 18th-century with a costumed choir at its two performances on Friday, December 22nd, one at 3pm and another at 8pm. Tickets from €29.50. nch.ie
The evening services at the well-established candlelit sessions at Christ Church Cathedral on Tuesday, December 12th, Wednesday, December 13th and Thursday, December 14th are always sold out but another option is altogether more Scandi in origin. It offers the same setting imbued with an atmosphere created over a millennia but Sankta Lucia Darkness To Light celebrates Sweden’s mythical figure Lucia, a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters, which takes place on Saturday, December 2nd, with Stockholm’s Adolf Fredrik Chamber Choir. Christchurchcathedral.ieThe Dún Laoghaire Dramatic and Musical Society will perform an evening of well-loved Christmas carols at the National Maritime Museum on Thursday, December 14th. Tickets are €10 for this candlelit service. Mariner.ie
New Dublin Voices invite you to join them in celebrating Christmas on Saturday, December 16th, at Draoícht in Blanchardstown. The event will also include readings from great Christmas stories and poems.Tickets from €15. Draoicht.ie
And if in Dublin on Christmas Eve, join Joe Duffy’s Liveline broadcast and its chorus of carollers on Grafton Street, for what is now a capital tradition and an uplifting way to kick off the festivities. Its feelgood factor is unparalleled, ageless and free. Rte.ie/radio1/liveline