The gobbiest pop star of the era returns after a five-year break between records. That she knows how to stir controversy is beyond dispute (the title of the new LP is regarded as a riposte to Kanye West’s Yeezus, wisely accused of sexism). But does she retain her sparkle as a performer? All shall be revealed.
The melancholic Swedish singer had a global dance hit with I Follow Rivers. Her third album was written in the aftermath of a romantic break-up. Apparently it is her heaviest to date — quite a claim, as anyone familiar with her previous work will attest.
In part inspired by the paintings of Cork artist Daniel Maclise, Amos’ 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines is heralded as a return to the gothic sassiness of early hits such as Crucify and Silent All These Years. She won’t have far to travel afterwards — since the 90s the confessional singer has lived in nearby Kinsale.
A classy adieu from the King of Pop — or glorified grave robbery? We can make our minds up when this collection of never released final recordings, several assembled at Grouse Lodge Studio, Westmeath, sees daylight.
Rowdy rockers prepare for a season of European festivals with this warm-up show. Their fifth album, as yet unnamed, is released in June.
Frontman Chris Martin’s split from Gwyneth Paltrow has sucked up all the oxygen — will the exposure do Coldplay any good as Martin’s band prep what is by all accounts a bleak and (by their standards) experimental sixth album?
Apocalypse OMG as the biggest brand in Tweenie-dom take over Croke Park for three nights. Bring ear-plugs — the squealing will be terror-inducing.
BBC Sound Of 2014 winner, Smith follows collaborations with Naughty Boy and Rudimental with a downtempo solo record.
Flaming Lips, 2 Many DJs, Little Dragon and Bell X1 headline this ‘urban’ festival in the bucolic grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Just 15 minutes from Heuston Station, if you’ve a train to catch.
Strumming one moment, beat-boxing the next, Sheeran’s versatility and bloke-next- door charisma has made him an arena star. But three years have elapsed since his debut album, recorded when he was an unknown. How will he handle the pressure?
The Coldplay you want to take back to yours for a cuppa, Elbow’s career has been built on the twin foundations of anthemic rock and down to earth likeability. But there’s a hint of darkness of their sixth LP, The Take Off And Landing of Everything, recorded in the shadow of singer Guy Garvey’s split from his long-term partner.
Weeping, wailing, singing into loud-hailers like they really DO care, Arcade Fire have made a virtuosity of overweening earnestness — or, at any rate, they did until new LP Reflektor, a Bowie pastiche that seems to have been left in the oven too long. Support is from late 80s indie icons Pixies.
Hip-hop’s most towering ego tours his Yeezus LP, a remarkable record that blends progressive music with nasty, sometimes straight-up misogynist lyrics.
On the US leg of the jaunt he wore a burlap mask on stage and provisioned his merchandise stall with confederate flag branded clobber.
You wonder if he will try to raise the ante in Europe or play it straight. Support is from Pharrell. How ‘happy’ will the producer-turned-singer be after a fortnight on a tour bus with Kanye?
Gruff rockers try to show that , musically speaking, there is life in the old dog, no matter that comeback LP Mechanical Bull was a bit of a mutt.
Pretty boy soulman follows through on what will no doubt be the chart-topping success of his Caustic Love album. From personal experience, his record company grows upset if you write too much about his love-life — but that hasn’t stopped the tabloid media chronicling his romantic affairs as though a matter of international significance (this just in: he may, or may not, be dating Wicklow MTV presenter Laura Whitmore).
The strange, sad siren who turned pop on its head has been working with Dan Auerbach of the aforementioned Black Keys. Thus far the results have tended towards weird, rather than wonderful. However, the instagramme-y songs from debut album Born To Die have lost none of their odd and seductive glimmer. Can we agree that Video Games is a classic for the ages?
Sister rockers Haim, dance bros Disclosure and moody oldies Massive Attack headline this urbane festival in the depths of South County Dublin.
Obscure country musician plays intimate show to 400,000 close friends over five evenings.
The little festival with the big heart (and the fantastic craft beer tent) welcomes White Lies, Public Enemy and sensitive keyboard tinklier Tom Odell.
Beck, Outkast , Portishead, Foals and Pet Shop Boys headline the Stradbally festival which, though it has gained in popularity across ten years, retains its eccentric touches and endearing hippy dippy-isms.
Michael Fassbender is a deranged musician who refuses to remove his giant paper-mache head. Director Lenny Abrahamson seems unsure what to do with the premise — playing for laughs one moment, taking the high moral ground the next. Still, the music is pretty good.
Starring Linsday Lohan and porn icon James Deane and directed by Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader, this art-house tale of ennui and dislocation in Los Angeles was merrily mauled by American critics last year, Lohan’s by all accounts plastic performance drawing most of the heavy fire. You know you are in a sorry place when you are out-acted by an adult movie star. Still, The Canyons is reported to have its share of so-bad-it’s-good moments and is regarded as a potential future cult favourite.
Breaking Bad star Brian Cranston leads the cast in this reboot of the rampaging giant lizard franchise. Where Roland Emmerich’s 1988 movie glossed over Godzilla’s origins as a metaphor for Japanese environmental angst (post Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the new telling puts environmental fears at the heart of the story — that and a rampaging monster trying to topple New York.
Michael Fassbender returns as young (ish) mutant rebel Magneto in the latest X-Men movie. A more rarefied strain of super-hero property, X- Men has always made a great fuss over its not so subtle subtexts — how the shunned mutants can be read as a metaphor for repressed minorities or beliefs. Very admirable — but it does mean a certain worthiness often attends the series.
Fifteen years since The Wedding Singer Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for this sweet/toe-curling rom-com (delete according to your tastes) in which a blind-date couple (and their kids) end up marooned in a family holiday resort. Quelle surprise — as their children start to get along, Sandler and Barrymore’s initial hostility softens to something altogether ickier.
The beloved children’s character is subjected to the requisite big-screen make-over. Character actor Stephen Mangan (“Dan!” from Alan Partridge) voices Pat — the cast also includes David Tennant and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint with, yikes, Ronan Keating as “Postman Pat’s singing voice”.
Celebrity and activist Angelina Jolie reminds us she used to be an actress as she plays the “Mistress Of All Evil“, a character first introduced in the 1959 Disney animation Sleeping Beauty. Elle Fanning is her nemesis, Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty). Look out for new Dr Who Peter Capaldi as king of the fairies.
Science fiction outing pairing Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as special forces soldiers fighting an alien invasion. Adapted from a Japanese novel, it also marks an overdue return to sci-fi for Bill Paxton (aka Corporal Hudson from Aliens).
Low-brow comedy starring Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy and the voice of the titular character in last year’s scatological hit Ted. It’s the first major screen role for MacFarlane though he may be familiar from his controversial hosting of the 2013 Oscars. Also starring Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson, the movie casts a sardonic eye at life in the Old West.
A rare case of a big screen TV adaptation that surpassed the original, 21 Jump Street was a surprise 2012 smash. Now Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reunite as officers Schmidt and Jenko. They go undercover at a local collage in a bid to break-up a crime ring. Ice Cube and Dave Franco also star.
Nicole Kidman plays iconic movie star Grace Kelly with Tim Roth as her husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco. The story focuses on a period of personal crisis in Kelly’s life in 1962 when Monaco and France were locked in a dispute. It is a belated release for the movie, screened out of competition at Cannes.
Supernatural horror with Karen Gillan and Battlestar Galactica’s Katie Sackhoff. It is, of course, released Friday 13.
Long-awaited follow-up to DreamWorks’ endearing tale of vikings and fire-breathing beasties. Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill and Cate Blanchett lend their voices, with Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington playing ‘dragon trapper’ Eret.
Heist comedy with Kurt Russell as a criminal involved in a multi-million book forgery scam. The cast also includes Matt Dillon as Russell’s brother and Terence Stamp.
Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder stars in a thriller about a traumatised soldier who wakes up next to a kidnapped boy. Was he involved in the abduction? He has to work out what happened before it’s too late. Luke Hemsworth features.
Wicklow/Dublin actor Jack Reynor is one of the leads in this quasi reboot of the giant robots franchise. The big innovation is the appearance of the ‘Dinobots’ — primordial robos bent on global destruction. Recommended for lovers of explosions and even louder explosions.
Cult director Richard Linklater teams up with his Before Sunrise star Ethan Hawke. We follow a boy (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18 as his parents (Hawke and Patricia Arquette) divorce. The movie was shot over 12 years, so that the audience watches Coltrane age in real time.
Computer-generated chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans ratchet up their campaign for world domination in this sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Andy Serkis returns as ape leader Caesar (his performance brought to the screen via motion capture technology). The cast also includes Gary Oldman and Keri Russell.
Rom-com doyen Rob Reiner directs this gentle comedy of manners starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Douglas is a self-obsessed real estate agent forced to reconsider his path in life when his estranged son places in Douglas’ care the grandchild he never knew existed.
Action movie star Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) plays the titular hero in a swords ‘n sandals romp adapted from a popular graphic novel. Hercules is a sword for hire tapped by the King of Thrace (John Hurt) to defeat an evil warlord (a moustache twirling Rufus Sewell). Norwegian actress Ingrid Bolso Berdal is the obligatory love interest.
With 2012’s Cloud Atlas proving a sprawling mess, the Wachowskis aim to storm back with a more conventional science fiction movie. Mila Kunis is a Russian emigrant janitor who discovers she’s a genetic twin of the ‘Queen of the Universe’. Channing Tatum is her hunky side-kick, Sean Bean a ‘Han Solo-type’ anti hero.
The latest superhero franchise from Marvel Comics, Guardians of the Galaxy, focuses on an unlikely team of intergalactic mercenaries, including a gun-wielding raccoon and a talking tree.
Sequel to last year’s surprise Disney hit — in itself a spin off of Pixar’s Cars series (Pixar is owned by Disney).
Sylvester Stallone’s ongoing paean to the golden age of action movies welcomes to its ranks Harrison Ford and Kelsey Grammer, with Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren returning.
Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill ForAugust 29
Think Like A Freak (Allen Lane, €10.99) is the third installment of Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner’s books on the wonder of contrarian thinking, excluding a spin-off documentary. Their studies of behavioural economics are ideal fodder to keep your friends entertained poolside, which this time out include tales of a Japanese hot dog eating champion, the answer to why Nigerian email scammers always make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria, and why quitting is a good idea.
Irvine Welsh, the master of shocking, scabrous fiction, has forsaken the mean, dirty streets of Scotland’s cities for The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins (Jonathan Cape, €11.99), which examines the real estate and fitness anxieties of Miami Beach’s middle class, in a tale of murder and revenge so dark it could, according to its publisher, “black out the Florida sun”.
In The Thrill of It All (Harvill Secker, €17.99), Joseph O’Connor delves into the world of teenage longing, friendship and music, traversing Ireland, England and the United States along the way, as he unfolds the drama at the heart of a rock band’s rise and fall in the 1980s, and their reunion years later.
The Catalan writer Enrique Vila-Matas published a little masterpiece, Dublinesque, about a Bloomsday saga a few years ago. His latest book, Never Any End to Paris (Harvill Secker, €11.99), promises to be a gem, too, as it brings the reader on a flight of fancy into the Parisien literary world of Samuel Beckett, Roland Barthes and other intellectuals of the last century.
Crime fiction readers will be tickled by the prospect of the David Baldacci-edited compilation, Face Off (Sphere, €13.99). He has gathered together a dream team of mystery writers, and put them on the page in 23 pairs. Each one an original story: Ian Rankin’s Detective Rebus meets Peter Jones’s Roy Grace on a case; Lee Child’s Jack Reacher locks horns with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller; Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie pitted with Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch. Can you imagine it?
In The Final Silence (Harvill Secker, €13.99), Rea Carlisle inherits a house from an uncle she never knew. While cleaning it out, she discovers a journal that catalogues a series of murders he has committed, which sets in train all manner of complications in the Northern Irish writer, Stuart Neville’s newest page-turner.
In Mr Mercedes (Hodder & Stoughton, €11.99), Stephen King provides his legions of fans with a cat-and-mouse case. A retired homicide detective Bill Hodges gets a letter out of the blue from the killer of an unsolved crime. Back in recessionary times, the perpetrator drove a mercedes car into an unsuspecting crowd at a jobs fair, killing eight people. He taunts Rodgers, threatening to strike again, which sets in train a race against time to save hundreds of lives.
The Silkworm (Sphere, €10.99) is a new crime novel by Robert Galbraith, or JK Rowling, as she prefers not to be known as. When the novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife thinks nothing much of it until his body turns up. It seems one of several people he has written unfavourably about in his latest manuscript might have done for him.
After 19 best-selling novels, which have racked up sales of 4 million copies, Sheila Flanagan’s latest offering, If You Were Me (Headline, €14.99), hinges on a moment of doubt. Carlotta O’Keefe is on the cusp of marriage. Her bethrothed, Chris, is a good guy, but he doesn’t set her heart racing like her ex-lover, Luke, who she bumps into while in Seville, which leads to a dilemma in the sun.
Munich Airport (Penguin, €15.99) is the second novel from American writer Greg Baxter, who wrote a memorable memoir about his struggles to become a writer in Dublin during the Celtic Tiger years. It tells the story of an American expat — and his elderly father — who has to bring home his sister’s body after her sudden death in Germany, while exploring issues of home, life and the bureacracies of death.
The festival sees crime writer Arne Dahl and Kinks frontman Ray Davies in conversation with Irish author Joseph O’Connor, above. dublinwritersfestival.com
Featured groups include the Vanbrugh Quartet, the Danish String Quartet, the Zemlinsky Quartet, above, while the solo performers include Ruby Hughes, Philippe Cassard and Julius Drake. westcorkmusic.ie
Highlights include the novelists Jung Chang and Louis de Bernieres, poet Rosita Boland, biographer Anthony Summers and children’s writers Darren Shan, above, and Judi Curtin. hayfestival.com/kells
Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri, the British director and author Jonathan Miller, the Irish broadcaster and novelist John Kelly, and Andy Kershaw, the broadcaster and world music expert who co-presented Live Aid in 1985. westcorkmusic.ie/literaryfestival/
The programme includes the world premieres of Enda Walsh’s new play, Ballyturk, and Brian Martin’s Be Infants in Evil, with music by The National, Imelda May and the Coronas. galwayartsfestival.com
This offshoot of Electric Picnic, Body and Soul has developed into a formidable music festival in its own right. This year’s bill is formidable: Goldfrapp, John Grant, Of Montreal, The Field and East India Youth are among the critics’ darlings making their way to the midlands. Plus, there are sundry non musical attractions, including a ‘shamanic’ area and woodland walk.
Across the past 20 years Cat Laughs has welcomed such comedy icons as Bill Murray and Louis CK. In 2014, Aisling Bea, Adam Hills, Lewis Black and Rich Hall are among the headliners. There is also an ‘international improv special’ featuring George Wendt, aka Norm from Cheers.
The brainchild of author Turtle Bunbury, this year’s History Festival of Ireland is curated by Angus Mitchell, a leading authority on Roger Casement. Among the speakers are Martin Mansergh, Eoin Colfer and Stephen Rea. Subjects covered will include Ireland’s relationship with First World War and the occult history of Clonegal Castle.
Literature, theatre, music, spoken word and a high wire trapeze act are among the events planned for the 2014 Junction festival.
Billed as a celebration of ‘surfing, skating, partying and music’, Sea Sessions returns with one of its strongest line-ups yet. The bill is topped by r‘n’b star Kelis, early 2000s rockers The Dandy Warhols and Ella Eyre, a UK soul vocalist tipped for greatness. Representing Ireland are Cavan bluesmen The Strypes (all still in their teens) and Limerick’s Hermitage Green.
The popular independent festival welcomes Super Furry Animals leader Gruff Rhys, the appropriately sun-tinged Summer Camp and cult DJ Andrew Weatherall.
Martin Amis was among the guests in 2013. This year Borris House Carlow opens its doors to John Banville, director Stephen Frears, presenter Mariella Frostrup, singer Lisa Hannigan and others. A unique opportunity to encounter some singular figures from the arts world in an intimate setting.
The mid west’s biggest science fiction and fantasy festival will feature ‘Cosplay’ dress-up — come as Darth Vader, a smurf or anything in between — plus screenings, talks and board-gaming. A must-visit for geeks in the Limerick region.
The Scarecrow Festival honours the venerable craft of scare-crow design. Some 150 enthusiasts will vie for the title of ‘best scarecrow’. The village’s central green area will be transformed into an eye-popping scarecrow ‘village’.
With its genteel heritage and agreeable scenery, it’s no surprise Dun Laoghaire has always attracted major names to its book festival. The 2014 lineup has yet to be announced, though it will surely be as impressive as in 2013, when Margaret Atwood, Tea Obreht, Anne Enright, AL Kennedy and James Meek appeared.
Biddy White Lennon, Paul Kelly and Anna Nolan are back for a second series of the amateur baking show, as a new crew of aspirants put their oven skills to the test.
The chattering classes may scoff at the annual kitschy song fest and its sister-in-arms, the Rose of Tralee (August 18), but both shows still draw huge audiences and provide those all-important collective experiences in our increasingly fractured viewing world. So now we’ve just got to make it through Thursday’s semi-final.
Series one intrigued with its mix of Cold War scenarios, family drama and 1980s period fare, and season two has been getting rave reviews since it debuted in the US a few months ago. The KGB couple’s neighbourhood FBI agent Stan comes more to the fore this year as he falls deeper into the honey trap.
Sky Atlantic and US network Showtime have teamed up for a series that gathers a host of famous characters together in London during the Victorian age. Doctor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and figures from Dracula struggle with their alienation. Filmed in Dublin, Billie Piper is one of several familiar faces in the cast, playing Brona Croft, an Irish immigrant.
This annual double bill of finals has become one of the great couch-hogging days. The rugby in Cardiff will kick off at 5pm, followed by the soccer from Lisbon at 7.45pm.
The women’s prison comedy drama returns for a second run of 13 episodes, and the Netflix format means you can watch them all in one massive binge. We’ve been promised things will get darker for this season, and we pick up the action with Piper feeling the pinch of being locked in solitary confinement.
On other shows we’d be pointing to the finale, but experience tells us that it’s the second-last episode from Westeros that proves the most significant. It’s also the episode that has actors nervously scanning the script as we know now that nobody is safe.
Even without Ireland’s presence, this soccer extravaganza will dominate the broadcast schedules for a month this summer. Michael D Higgins’s recent comments will ensure the country is split between people cheering on England and those deriving the archaic but exquisite pleasure of watching Roy Hodgson’s team fall in a penalty shoot-out. Kick-off times vary from 5pm to 11pm, and it’ll also be the last major tournament for RTÉ’s four amigos in the studio.
Alan Ball’s series has been looked slightly jaded for the past few years, but it gets one more chance to unleash its sleazy fun and blood-sucking antics for this final seventh season. TG4 will show it in the new year.
Irish presenter Baz Ashmawy puts his 70-year-old mother Nancy through an extreme bucket list that has her roping crocodiles, firing machine guns, flying in a jet fighter and generally being thrown in way beyond her comfort zone.
Two million seats and 50 direct services are available from Cork Airport this summer, but new developments aren’t all up in the air. A new airport app includes live arrivals and departures, car park booking, shopping offers from The Loop, integrated maps and live weather reports. It’s free from iTunes and Google Play.
Ireland hosts the start of the 97th Giro d’Italia (pictured below) next month. Belfast kicks proceedings off with an opening ceremony and Giro Festival packed with Italian-themed food, fashion and fun (May 8), before the race progress towards Dublin on May 11. Spectators are encouraged to wear pink. Girostart2014.com
One of the eagerly anticipated museums of the decade finally opens its doors this May 21. Access to the 9/11 Memorial Museum costs $24, with tickets including access to the 9/11 Memorial itself, though savvy travellers will spot that admission is free on Tuesdays from 5-8pm (advance booking essential). 911memorial.org.
Travelling to Turkey? A new ‘Law on Foreigners’ took effect this April, with overseas visitors now expected to apply for an e-visa before travel (www.evisa.gov.tr.en; $20). Visitors arriving without visas will be able to use kiosks placed in the airports for the 2014 season — though this will assuredly take longer and cost more.
You’ve heard of greenways. Now get ready for Ireland’s first Blueway, which links water trails at Boffin Harbour on Inisboffin, Killary Fjord in Leenane, Keem Strand on Achill Island, Mannin Bay near Clifden and Old Head in Co Mayo. it’s aimed at intrepid snorkelers and kayakers on the Atlantic Coast. discoverireland.ie.
Is your passport in date? This summer, the Passport Service is introducing a pilot Rapid Renewal system allowing 20 appointments a day for emergency renewals (book from 2.30pm the previous day on dfa.ie). The service has also launched a new Twitter account (@PassportIRL) to handle queries on social media.
Walt Disney Studios Paris is reported to be launching its newest attraction on July 10th: a dark ride based on Pixar’s Ratatouille. A ‘Chez Remy’ restaurant will open close to the attraction, which uses a trackless system, outsized props and immersive 3D projections to make riders feel like rats on a run. disneylandparis.ie.
Immrama (June 12-15) always punches above its weight on the festival calendar, and heavyweight travel writers and broadcasters like Tim Butcher and Charlie Bird should ensure the 12th instalment is no different. Lismoreimmrama.com.
It’s 60 years since Relais & Chateau united its first luxury hotels under the slogan ‘Le Route du Bonheur’ (the road to happiness). Today, 520 members include the Park Hotel and Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare — who are teaming up for a ‘Diamonds in the Nest’ experience combining one night’s B&B and a tasting dinner with wine at each hotel from €395pp (May 9-10). relaischateau.com/en
Could this be the package deal of the summer? Businesses in Strandhill have teamed up to offer B&B at the Strandhill Lodge and Suites, a two-hour surf lesson, brunch at Shells Café, a Voya seaweed bath, a guided walk up Knocknarea, an early bird at Trá Bán and a pint at The Strand from €175pp. email@example.com.
It’s the summer’s hottest foodie ticket — thanks to a stellar line-up including Noma’s René Redzepi. Though some events for Litfest (May 16-18) are sold out, there are still plenty of tickets left for its exciting mix of kitchen masters, wine lovers, local producers,
bloggers and restaurateurs, however. Tickets range from €10 to €95; litfest.ie.
The RAI’s annual Restaurant Awards are the Oscars of the Irish restaurant scene, and this year there’s a whole new gong to gobble. Entries for Ireland’s inaugural Foodie Town have been received from all corners of the country, with the winner to be announced at the ceremony on June 9. Rai.ie
Finally, you can have your Dolce & Gabbana and eat it. The label has opened a bar and restaurant in its Uomo boutique on Milan’s Corso Venezia. ‘Martini’ features a “total black” look, complete with interior garden and a Sicilian-inspired menu. Cocktails from €12; dishes from €13. Dolcegabbana.com/martini
Running May 1-31 in Cork, Eat4StreetKids is a campaign to support the lives of street children in Kolkata, India. Diners at participating restaurants (see website for details) can donate 50c on their bill, or upload a foodie pic to Facebook/Twitter, tag the restaurant, and they’ll donate 50c on your behalf. eat4streetkids.com.
Dublin’s Woollen Mills was an iconic city building and business for over a century (heck, even James Joyce worked here), though sadly, it fared less well in recent years. That’s set to change when it re-opens as a new ‘Eating House’ this summer. Four floors of foodie fun are set to include a wine bar, on-site bakery, retail space, sandwich bar and takeout. Date TBC, follow @woolleymills for updates.
Here’s a food festival with a difference.
Limerick’s Culture & Chips (May 29-June 2) takes place in a 1920s Spiegeltent in Arthur’s Quay Park, and it celebrates the humble chip in all manner of ways, including a carnival banquet on May 30 and the World Chip Making Championships on May 31. cultureandchips.com.
Forget plastic tubs stuffed with homemade sambos. Dublin has some slick alternatives for your Stephen’s Green sit-outs this summer — including Wagamama’s new bento boxes (12-3pm; €9.95) and Lovin’ Dublin’s Lovin’ Box (lovindublin.com; €10), which partners with a different restaurant every week. Hatch & Sons (hatchandsons.co; €12) is doing a blaa-based picnic package, too. Nom!
2014 is the 50th anniversary of Moriarty’s Gift Shop at the Gap of Dunloe, and it’s celebrating with the opening of a brand new restaurant, ‘Heather’. Meanwhile, in Dunmore East, the Strand Inn has just opened a new restaurant and terrace area overlooking Hook Head. Moriartys.ie; thestrandinn.com.
The Burren is home to one of the most exciting — and organised — foodie communities in the West. One of its newest arrivals is Hazel Mountain Chocolates, which plans to launch Ireland’s first stoneground bean to bar chocolate this summer. Visitors are welcome. Chocolatier Kasha Connolly has just published the first Burren cookbook, too — Burren Wild Baker (€22). Hazelmountainchocolates.com.
Sally and John McKenna’s ground-breaking ‘Digital First’ strategy continues apace with the publication of a new book and smart guide — ‘Where to Eat & Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way’ this summer. A must for the dashboard — or phone — for anyone biting off a chunk of this marvellous 2,500km route. Guides.ie.