Writers, music, and Bloom chip in for packed long weekend

We must be a nation of optimists — this bank holiday weekend is one of the biggest for outdoor events this year.

It might be almost June but Met Éireann is warning that the weather will be unsettled and cool over the weekend, with wet and windy conditions on Monday.

Music fans heading to Slane Castle for the Foo Fighters today should be weather-wise — rain will turn heavy tonight.

Limerick’s food carnival, Culture and Chips, is one of the more unusual events taking place.

The Treaty City has erected an authentic 1920s Spiegeltent in Arthur’s Quay Park where the world chip championship takes place this afternoon.

There will be lots of cooks with a passion for the frite hoping to cut the mustard in the open contest and take home the title.

Thousands of fans of Rory Gallagher have headed for the guitarist’s birthplace — Ballyshannon, Co Donegal — to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

The 14th Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival, which started on Thursday and continues until tomorrow, has 32 acts performing on 15 stages over four days.

Acts include Band of Friends featuring Rory’s long-time bass player Gerry McAvoy, drummer Ted McKenna, and guitarist Marcel Scherpenzeel.

Rory, who was raised in Cork, is still remembered fondly everywhere for his energetic live performance.

“If Rory was around to witness the four-day event, he would be truly humbled with the effort that his loyal following from across the world make annually but in particular this year, the 20th anniversary of his passing” said festival chairman Barry O’Neill.

Ireland’s newest festival, the Ocean to City, Cork Harbour Festival, begins today with An Rás Mór, a 28km race from Crosshaven to Cork.

Events include a harbour cruise, seafood market, and dragon boat challenge. There is also the chance to try some rowing or kayaking.

The Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon, which also encompasses a half marathon, team relay, and youth challenge, takes place on Monday as does the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin.

What has become known as ‘Slane for the Brain’— the Listowel Writers’ Week —continues over the weekend.

Ireland’s first fiction laureate, Anne Enright, who officially opened the festival in the Kerry town, fondly remembered when Seamus Heaney had the same honour in 2008 and the night Glen Hansard sang until 3am because he liked the people in the room.

Down with Jazz takes place in Dublin and marks the 80th anniversary of the introduction of the Dance Hall Act that effectively banned jazz clubs.

The Improvised Music Company, which has organised the event, has arranged for music lovers of all persuasions to enjoy free improvised music sessions at the Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.

Youghal, Co Cork, will relive its close ties with Moby Dick over the weekend — the seaside town is where Herman Melville’s novel was committed to film.

Events include film screenings on the eastern gable of the historic Clock Gate and opportunities to meet extras from the film.

Finally, Bloom continues at the Phoenix Park with the crowds expected to exceed the 106,000 who attended last year.

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