Deskbound CIA analyst Melissa McCarthy becomes a globe-trotting spy in order to save the world in a comedy spoof co-starring Jason Statham and Jude Law. Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) directs.
The fourth in the ‘Jurassic Park’ series finds dinosaurs running amok in a custom-built theme park. Shot in 3D, it stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
The cult TV show about a Hollywood brat-pack gets a big screen release, with Doug Ellin directing Adrien Grenier, Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon. Liam Neeson leads a host of cameo appearances.
A Despicable Me off-shoot, in which hapless Minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob somehow find themselves working for the super-evil Sandra Bullock. Jon Hamm, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders and Michael Keaton co-star.
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in the fifth of the Terminator series, uniting with Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) to prevent Judgement Day. Matt Smith and JK Simmons co-star.
Channing Tatum stars (and co-writes) in this sequel to the box office smash about male stripper Magic Mike (2012). Amber Heard and Elizabeth Banks co-star, with Gregory Jacobs directing.
Cuddly toy Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) wants to have a baby – but can he prove he’s a person in a court of law? Family Guy’s MacFarlane directs, with Mark Wahlberg and Liam Neeson co-starring.
The latest superhero to get a big screen release, Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd (who also co-writes) as the incredible shrinking hero. Hayley Atwell and Michael Douglas co-star; Peyton Reed directs.
Inner voices turn a young girl’s life into chaos in this Pixar/Disney offering, with Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader and Phyllis Smith among those clamouring for attention.
Tom Cruise returns as the death-defying Ethan Hunt, taking on the Syndicate, a rogue global organisation. Jeremy Renner, Alec Baldwin and Simon Pegg co-star, with Christopher McQuarrie directing.
Comedy in which an alien species misinterprets humanity’s video arcade games as a declaration of war, and attacks in kind. Adam Sandler, Brian Cox and Kevin James are Earth’s only hope.
Guy Ritchie’s big screen take on the cult 1960s spy TV series stars Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin and Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo. Hugh Grant co-stars.
Dramatisation of the emergence from 1980s LA of ‘the world’s most dangerous group’, aka NWA. Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell and O’Shea Jackson star as the groundbreaking rap artists.
by Ed Power
There’s something for everyone at this new city-wide festival. The heavy metal band Mastodon are at The Savoy June 27.
The returning Live at the Marquee boasts one of its strongest line-ups yet. The first ever Cork city performance of Riverdance opens the festival and it concludes with Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds, the ex-Oasis songwriter back in Cork for the first time since his previous band’s legendary 1996 show at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Other highlights include Beck (June 16), Billy Idol (June 17), Nathan Carter (June 21) and Ellie Goulding (June 24).
Ear-plugs at the ready as these noisy Scottish instrumentalists return to Cork Opera House, one of their favorite venues in which to perform. The band are marking their 20th anniversary – so expect an emotional night.
Two of the great voices of popular classical music unite for an open-air concert.
The final piece of the soft-rock puzzle clicks into place as Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac. In fact, it was at the band’s 2013 Dublin shows that she first performed again with the group, (albeit only during soundcheck). For that reason the evening will be freighted with significance for musicians and audience alike.
The sixties warhorses are still going strong, with an unmatchable catalogue of hits. Plus Pete Townshend is one of the few great sixties guitarists fans can still enjoy in the flesh.
Evergreen new romantics Duran Duran return to Ireland ahead of the release of a new album. The two-day festival also features hipster darling Father John Misty, Texas, The Proclaimers, soft-pop genius Burt Bacharach and Walking On Wars.
The biggest pop star on the planet (possibly the solar system) touches down in Dublin for the largest selfie opportunity of the year.
Old smoothies don’t come much smoother than Neil Diamond, back on the road with a stone-cold classic trove of hits.
Valentia Island, one of the most westerly points in Europe, once again plays host to an incredible party on the edge of the world. A top-notch line up includes Daddy G from Massive Attack, Norman Jay and Jerry Dammers, founding member of The Specials.
It’s a case of something old, something new at this suburban festival, which pairs ‘dad dance’ veterans The Chemical Brothers with world conquering Wicklow bluesman Hozier.
The little festival with the big heart, this year’s Indiependence features dance mainstays Basement Jaxx, plus guitar veterans The Dandy Warhols and dewy eyed balladeers Kodaline.
Britpop icons Blur headline, along with Florence and the Machine and chart-slaying soul-boy Sam Smith. Plus, lashings of the usual patented Picnic quirkiness.
by Richard Fitzpatrick
One of the year’s most intriguing books raises funds for the Irish Heart Foundation in which celebrities, including Bono, Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, John Boorman and Bob Geldof, write about relationships with their dads.
The latest offering from Anne Enright (right) , Ireland’s inaugural fiction laureate, is set in the west of Ireland. Tensions arise when siblings return from the world’s far corners to divvy up the proceeds from their family home.
The latest caper from the author of Mystic River and screenwriter for The Wire and Boardwalk Empire follows the murderous misadventures of Joe Coughlin, consigliore to the Bartolo crime family.
Deirdre Madden has gathered together stories from some of Ireland’s best writers – including Colm Tóibín, Belinda McKeon, Eoin McNamee and Frank McGuinness – to make the ideal summer read to dip in and out of.
Stalingrad author and pre-eminent Second World War historian Antony Beevor tackles the battle at Ardennes, the greatest, grisliest battle of the war in Western Europe when American generals sanctioned the shooting of surrendering German soldiers.
Pathologist Quirke suspects foul play when the burnt-out body of an upcoming civil servant lands in his morgue in another atmospheric crime fiction novel by John Banville’s nom de plume, Benjamin Black.
Ciaran Devine is released after several years in prison for killing his foster father. There is more to the case than meets the eye, however, in master thriller writer Stuart Neville’s latest.
: It’s been a long time coming. Harper Lee (below) has finally delivered a sequel for the characters from her classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, so we can find out what became of Scout and Atticus Finch.
Alice and Ben are your average middle-class couple, caught up in work, children and usual marital issues like dealing with the in-laws and who’s a soft touch, when devastation hits the family.
Eagerly awaited novel from Skippy Dies author set during Ireland’s economic crisis. A workaholic French investment banker finds himself caught up in love and improbably as the hero of a novel based on his life.
The summer’s most titillating book will be Julianne Daly’s exploration of the sexual fantasies of over 100 women living in Ireland, aged from 18 to 80. The results, according to advance publicity, are “eye-popping”.
John Boyne has collected some odd characters – a cuckold, a rent boy and a hitman, among them – for his first short story collection. Promises to be 12 dark tales from one of Ireland’s best storytellers.
Regeneration author Pat Barker turns her gaze on the Second World War for a novel about the travails of a middle-aged trio amid the bombs dropping on London in 1940.
by Annmarie O’Connor
Cork’s Designworks Studio unveils its cache of new designers. www.designworksstudio.ie.
The Little Museum, Dublin hosts an exhibition showcasing costumes and unique designs from films made in Ireland from My Left Foot to Calvary. www.thelittlemuseum.com.
: Celeb judges look set to crown the most stylish lady with a prize a holiday to Dubai with €1,000 to spend at Dubai Duty Free. www.curragh.ie.
Boodles fun take on the tennis bracelet launches with a total of 3.50 carats of diamonds and a diamond tennis ball. Price from €11,000. www.boodles.com.
Vintage-inspired haunt Folkster relaunches in Kilkenny with a dedicated bridal section and exclusive lines like Theia by Don O’Neill and Bo & Luca. Appointments: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.folkster.com.
Bantry-based Shoeniveristy will discuss the role of the shoe designer, production process and how to gain industry experience at Dublin’s Irish Theatre Institute. ww.shoeniversity.ie.
The race is on for the Best Dressed Lady and best Mad Hatter Day. Expect a prize fund to the value of €15,000. www.galwayraces.com.
Prizes worth up to €10,000. www.dublinhorseshow.com.
This programme of applied arts and crafts events includes exhibitions, pop up shops, fairs and open studios around the city and county.
The Federation of Jewellery Manufacturers of Ireland (FJMI) invites design entries to mark of the 100th anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Rising. Entry details at www.fjmi.com/Rising.
Get set to compete for the title of Best Dressed Lady. Prizes include a €1,500 Littlewoods Ireland shopping spree for the winner and €100 vouchers for runners’ up. www.killarneyraces.ie.
Ireland’s fashion, beauty and lifestyle event returns to the RDS for three days. Expect pampering, daily catwalk events and the Irish Tatler Star Model Search. www.ultimategirlsdayout.com.
IMMA hosts a Roaring Twenties fancy dress vintage party complete with bathtub gin punch, bowls, croquet and live ragtime music. www.eventbrite.ie.
Over 30 terrific food-related events and festivals take place in the region over the entire summer. www.boynevalleyfoodseries.ie
On June 28, Cork City Hall will be transformed into a free public market featuring the very best artisan food producers from both counties. Cookery demonstrations with chef Kevin Dundon.
A Culinary Design Experience, Experiential exhibition exploring design of food, with plenty of oat the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny. www.nationalcraftgallery.ie
Curated by Jack ‘Rocketman’ Crotty, 400 diners will be fed by top Cork restaurants along the length of Oliver Plunkett St. www.corkmidsummer.com
Top Dublin restaurants showcase their menus over four days in the salubrious surroundings of Iveagh Gardens. www.dublin.tastefestivals.com
New mid-summer time slot for long-running Kerry festival, includes search for All-Ireland Craft Beer Champion 2015. www.listowelfoodfair.ie
Top Irish food stars line up in the Chef’s Kitchen, similarly stellar Irish & international acts perform on stage. www.killarneyfestival.ie
Herbert Park hosts top international BBQ pitmasters, competitions, fine brews, live entertainment for all. www.biggrillfestival.com
The return of one of last year’s hottest dining tickets for one month only – a Connemara-based casual dining restaurant in converted old boat shed. www.katiejanesanderson.com
Festival within a festival as top Irish food producers, chefs and writers get down and dirty to demo, dine and debate. www.electricpicnic.ie
Festival in the spiritual birthplace of modern Irish food, featuring many marvellous events and culminating in massive street market in Skibbereen. www.atasteofwestcork.com
: Fantastic food-centred family frolics throughout wonderful Waterford city. www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie
An oldie but goldie in the Irish party capital, includes Irish & World Oyster Opening Championships. www.galwayoysterfestival.com
by Tony Clayton-Lea
The Disney movie Frozen has proven a boon to Norway, which will see a marked increase in cruise tourism this year for Elsa and Anna fans. disneycruise.disney.go.com
Rotterdam is a city inspired and enthralled by design. The most recent addition is the amazing Markthal, an igloo-like structure that houses almost 100 stalls, 20 shops, nine restaurants and over 200 apartments.
Bali is back in town with more high profile hotel openings than ever before. Top of the list is The Stairs Bali, a 12 villa boutique complex designed by Philippe Starck. thestairsbali.com
Catskills, New York, has seen them come and go, but now the time has come for a throwback to leisurely pursuits like hiking, antique shopping and fly fishing in pretty towns such as Woodstock, Bloomville, and Livingston Manor.
Has your holiday hotel a working relationship with Pack For A Purpose (packforapurpose.org)? This organisation identifies development aims in local communities all around the world, and asks guests to pack necessary supplies.
Restless nights in various hotels chains are receiving the fast checkout treatment with the introduction of sleep inducing add-ons. These include noise-reducing headboards and mattresses that help to eliminate tossing/turning.
The trend of ‘sharing economy’ is engaging with the food sector. The likes of EatWith and Bookalokal pair visitors with home chefs – for a fee, of course.
Just when you thought you’d never want to talk to the person in the seat beside you, along comes KLM’s roll-out of its Meet & Seat scheme: you can choose who you sit beside based on their social network profiles.
Smartphone technology is increasing in tandem with people’s need for convenience, so prepare for more bells and whistles on your phone as you pass through airports.
Fact - men of a certain age will exchange golfing holidays for cycling holidays. Statistics show that golf as a leisure sport is in decline, dropping from 25m players in 2000 to 19m in 2014.
In the red corner we have Ballyfin, Co Laois (“the grandest hotel in Ireland” – Conde Nast Traveller), and in the blue corner we have Ashford Castle (“fairytale setting reborn” – Trip Advisor). Fight club!
‘Poshtels’ are the new trend in stylish, cost-conscious accommodation for people who like the social aspect of hostels but who prefer an upgrade from the hostel experience.
Low cost airlines continue to be the most successful business sector in air travel, with the business model being increasingly influential across the airline industry. Looks like they’re here to stay.
by Des O’Driscoll
Netflix, available now
The Wachowskis (since Larry’s gender reassignment to Lana, it’s inaccurate to refer to them as the Wachowski brothers) give us a series about eight telepathically-linked strangers.
Season two was a mixed bag, but the latter half of the series had enough quality to have us eagerly awaiting the next instalment of adventures in Litchfield Penitentiary.
We’re trying not to pre-judge, but can Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn really carry a second series that comes anywhere near last year’s offering?
Don’t call me Xpose. New show in which Nadia Forde and other glam presenters trawl the red carpets and bring us all sorts of celebrity and fashion news.
As ever, the latest series is flying by way too quickly and the TV version’s move away from the books has whetted appetites even more than usual about what happens in this final episode. And then comes the long wait until April 2016.
Without a World Cup or Olympics this summer, the Munster Hurling Final is easily the greatest sports event in the world over the next few months. Premier League fans only have to wait until August 8 for their first fix.
Idris Elba writes and directs a one-off drama inspired by his own childhood in Hackney, north-east London.
by Des O’Driscoll
Robert Fisk, Charley Boorman and Jonathan Shackleton are among the authors sharing their worldly tales at the festival of travel writing in Co Waterford.
An eclectic mix of events for the summer includes Ladysmith Black Mambazo (July 2) Mary Chapin Carpenter (July 11) and Marc Almond (August 1).
The climax of a year-long series of events to mark the 150th
birthday of WB Yeats.
Mark O’Halloran steps up as Donal Davoren in Seán O’Casey’s classic play.
The first of the three impressive events that has Bantry punching way above its weight on the summer festival circuit.
The second of the major retrospectives of the contemporary Irish artist’s work includes some of Scully’s figurative work, as well as his better-known abstract paintings.
It’s always a tough task to take on such a huge historical figure as Michael Collins, but this tale of possible events in the independence-era hero’s last day comes from a team with an impressive pedigree.
Druid’s six-hour Shakespeare extravaganza tours to such venues as Lime Tree, Limerick, June 23-27 and Town Hall, Skibbereen, June 29. Don’t worry – it comes with plenty breaks!
Local hero Graham Norton headlines at an event that brilliantly mixes full-on literary readings and workshops with lighter pursuits.
After phenomenally successful runs on Broadway and the West End, the stage version of the award-winning film comes to the city it’s set in. Nice tunes and a tale of love – what more would you want?
Always an impressive lineup, headliners this year include a new play from Frank McGuinness, and a new ‘theatre installation’ from Enda Walsh.
As ever, there’s a particularly strong classical music element to this year’s festival, with a particular emphasis on the music of Bach.
This festival has become a home from home for Irish arts people, with highlights including the world premiere of The Last Hotel, a chamber opera from Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehy.
The camp comedian brings his Yap Yap Yap tour to Ireland for the first time.
It’s not just about the music, you know. This huge event literally bookmarks the end of summer with readings, debates, installations, etc.