I first came into contact with Niamh Barry many years ago when we both had jobs in the Crafts Council of Ireland. Working part-time in the shop was my job right the way through school and college (and the longest position I ever held, totalling twelve years!), and Niamh also worked there part-time while simultaneously making her art.
Last year I saw an incredibly beautiful lighting piece on Instagram and when I clicked on the picture, I found out that the artist responsible was Niamh. Niamh now creates custom light sculptures, both for private clients and for businesses (you can see one of her pieces in Optica, on Dawson Street). In addition she has exhibited extensively internationally.
I have a very very high ceiling in my kitchen which I had thought I would fill with an interesting chandelier, but no more! Now I dream of a piece by Niamh and when my budget allows I’ll be contacting her to commission something unique, timeless and beautiful.
The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my favourite books as a child and now it’s also the name of a gorgeous furniture store in Dublin. The shop is the brainchild of Zoe Carney, a fashion and design professional from Dublin, and its first incarnation was a pop-up shop on Baggot Street for a few months last year. Spurred on by its success, Zoe has created a warehouse space in Harold’s Cross and an online shop, showcasing the collection of furniture and decoration for sale, and items available for prop hire.
There are stunning pieces sourced from France, Hungary and Sweden, and Zoe has reconditioned some of the antiques, putting her own distinctive signature on the collection. The shades of blue and green and the aged patina give the pieces lots of character. Zoe also offers a reupholstery service so if you fall in love with a fauteuil but don’t like the colour, you can have it changed to suit.
A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of DJing at the Dundrum Town Centre Spring/Summer 2015 fashion shows. I’ve been working with the team there for five seasons and it’s always a lot of fun. Plus Colm Corrigan’s impeccable styling generally makes me want to spend my fee there and then!
I love researching tunes for shows, trying to find the perfect songs for the brief and the perfect tempo for the models. Dundrum shows happen on the mall and the audience ranges from two to eighty-two, so the music was fun with a summery vibe.
I usually end up with a shortlist of twenty songs and have to narrow it down to six. This tune was one of the ones that didn’t make it as it gets a bit heavy towards the end but I really like this RAC remix. It’s got an 80s electro feel, plus the ‘beautiful girl’ lyric would have really worked with models stomping the runway!
A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of Thomas Morris’s Dubliners 100 published by Tramp Press. Tramp Press are an independent publishing company set up in Dublin this year by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen, and their mission is to find brilliant new literary voices to nurture and publish. Dubliners 100 is their second title; the first was Flight, a debut novel by Oona Frawley. Thomas Morris served as editor of this collection and he invited new and established Irish writers to create ‘cover versions’ of their favourite stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners to commemorate the centenary of the original.
The list of contributors to the book is a testament to the fact that Irish fiction is flourishing in recent times. Included are established writers like Patrick McCabe and John Boyne, debut novelists Oona Frawley and Eimear McBride, and some favourites of mine like Peter Murphy, Paul Murray and Donal Ryan.
I had only read the stories in Joyce’s Dubliners a couple of times and so I decided to read Dubliners 100 in a specific way: reading the original Joyce story and reading the Dubliners 100 version immediately afterwards. It’s been a fascinating process as some writers have chosen to reinterpret the original story in a more obvious way, and others barely allude to the Joycean one at all. So far I have loved John Kelly’s version of A Little Cloud, and Eimear McBride’s version of Ivy Day in the Committee Room showcases again her incredible talent for language.
But don’t worry! Knowledge of Joyce isn’t essential and if you haven’t read the original stories in Dubliners you could certainly enjoy Dubliners 100 on its own merits. Plus it’s a great introduction to fifteen wonderful Irish writers. You can buy it in bookshops or direct from Tramp Press via their website.
I always love discovering new Irish bands to champion and The Minutes (consisting of Mark Austin, Tom Cosgrave and Shane Kinsella from Dublin) are my new favourite. I really liked “Gold” from their 2011 debut album Marcata which was a Black Crowes-esque rock number. The tune on rotation in my house at the moment is “Cherry Bomb” from their new album Live Well, Change Often; a seventies glam rock fest reminiscent of T. Rex.
The Minutes play Whelan’s this Friday 16th May. It’s a venue they have sold out in the past and it’s bound to be a packed gig again this time. The band have honed their act over the last three years, playing headline tours and support slots to the likes of The Strokes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Tickets are €15.00 and you can get them online here.
One of my favourite annual events, Dublin Writers Festival, is on again this year from 17th-25th May. The programme is amazing; events all over Dublin from Smock Alley Theatre and The Ark, to Dublin Castle and even a barge on the Grand Canal! You can check out the full programme here.
I am particularly interested in the talk hosted by Anna Carey featuring Edward St. Aubyn and Paul Murray which takes place this coming Sunday in Smock Alley Theatre at 8pm. I adore St. Aubyn and reviewed his trilogy on the blog in 2011. I’m also a huge Paul Murray fan (and am waiting impatiently for his third novel!) and loved both of his novels.
Hopefully see some of you other bookworms, word nerds and writers during the Festival next week!
No Fixed Abode presents ‘All You Need Is Love’, an exhibition in support of Marriage Equality, on the 1st of May in The Copper House Gallery on Synge Street.The exhibition, which runs for one night only, will bring together over twenty of Ireland’s most talented artists including photographers, graffiti artists, illustrators and graphic designers, with a number of pieces also coming from international contributors. Limited edition prints inspired by the theme ‘All You Need Is Love’ will be for sale on the night for €30 with all profits going to Marriage Equality, a non-profit advocacy group.
I have a couple of friends exhibiting pieces on the night and one of them is a very talented artist called Jenny Fogarty. Jenny is a graphic designer who has worked in every aspect of the business over the last fifteen years. While attending Offset a couple of years ago Jenny heard designer Jessica Hische talk and Hische made the point: “Never put stuff on your website that you don’t like to do because then you will only get jobs doing stuff you don’t like to do. Put up stuff that you love to do.” That inspired Jenny so much that she is now creating art for herself, work she likes to do, in the hopes that it may lead to a more fulfilling art-based career.
So far Jenny has taken a multi-media approach to her work; some pieces use MDF, a bunch of nails and neon thread, other pieces involve illustration or lettering. I love the thread art commission she did for Electric Candy and I also adore the “Lovers Gonna Love” piece that she is exhibiting on 1st May.