Summer preview of cultural events

Photo: James Joyce
Courtesy Wiki Commons

By David Prendeville

It’s hard to believe but summer is just around the corner once more. Whether we get a repeat of last year’s scorching weather remains to be seen, but there are plenty of cultural events for people to enjoy, both nationally and locally over the summer months. 

Locally, one of the undoubted highlights of any calendar year will, of course, be the Bloomsday festival which runs from the 11th to the 16th of June.

Particularly enticing prospects in the programme include the Ulysses in Sandymount Walking Tour on Wednesday June 12th, as well as the annual Bloomsday 2019 Readings and Songs, to take place on Sunday June 16th at a location yet to be decided.

Other fun-sounding events are the Joycean Pub Crawl and Bella Cohen’s Bloomsday Blowout, described as: “a literary salon inspired by James Joyce. It’s a glorious convergence of Bloomsday adventurers and chancers. In one moment, it’s an intimate evening of readings and song. In the next, it’s shape-shifting midsummer madness.”

Further afield, there is a wealth of options to enjoy on the music festival front. Forbidden Fruit in Kilmainham kicks off the summer festival season proper over the June bank holiday weekend. Of the acts so far announced, highlights include Jon Hopkins and Paul Kalkbrenner.

If one is looking for a more alternative, smaller festival, the increasingly well-regarded Open Ear takes place the same weekend on Sherkin Island off the West Coast of Cork. 

Body and Soul returns for the Summer Solstice, running from the 21st to the 23rd of June. Line-ups have yet to be announced for the now-stalwart festival in Ballinlough Castle in Westmeath. Again, those looking for less crowded fare may choose to wait for KnockanStockan, which runs from July 19th until the 21st. 

Festival-goers positively raved about last year’s All Together Now, then in its maiden year. The festival takes place at Curraghmore Estate in Waterford over the August bank holiday weekend. It looks set to be a strong and eclectic lineup based on the acts that have already been announced, which includes Patti Smith, The National and Father John Misty. 

The summer festival season concludes with Electric Picnic, which runs from August 30th to September 1st, in Stradbally in Laois. The recently-announced lineup includes, fresh off his US number one hit, Hozier, along with Echo and the Bunnymen, Christine and the Queens, Florence and the Machine, The 1975, The Strokes, Four Tet, Roisin Murphy, James Blake and many, many more.