Something for the weekend...

Here’s some great things to do around the country this weekend.
Something for the weekend...

1. And they’re off

Seven grade 1 races and one of the most competitive fields for the best-dressed lady competition, the annual four-day Leopardstown Christmas Festival kicks off today.

The search for the most stylish lady will begin on Monday for a prize worth €5,000 including a five-night break at award-winning Monart Destination Spa in a luxurious suite, complete with chauffeur, signature spa treatments, dinners and afternoon tea.

2. Movie magic

From tomorrow to New Years’ Eve, Tattersalls Country House, Ratoath will be screening three daily drive-in movies. Family-friendly matinees start at 1.30pm every day including The Polar Express, Elf, The Muppet Christmas Caroland The Nightmare Before Christmas.Perfectly timed to get the kids excited to be out of the house just as post-Santa boredom sets in.

The screenings at 5pm daily include Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Fred Clausand National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, movies that can also work for smaller children as well as the older ones.

And then the evening showing, which begins at 8.30pm, is perfect for groups of friends or even date night, with movies including Die Hard, The Holiday, Bad Santaand Love Actually. Tickets cost €25 per car plus booking fee. www.driveinfilms.ie

3. Ringing in the New Year

Dublin is hosting a three-day festival to ring in the New Year. The Coronas, Fatboy Slim and Kila will all perform at the 3 Arena as the centerpiece of the festival which will also see a procession of light on New Year’s Eve through the city centre and a world record attempt at holding the largest ever Bodhrán session.

St Stephen’s Green will also host a street festival which will feature alternative, traditional and party music while 15 venues across the city will on Wednesday and Thursday play host to live music from a selection of new artists. Luminosity was one of the most talked about events last year which brings iconic buildings to life, using cutting-edge 3D light projections.

This free family spectacle will illuminate from 5pm each evening. See www.NYFDublin.com

4. New Year resolution

Thinking of getting fit this new year? Then why not train for an endurance race with a difference. Next July, thousands of people will descend on the Loughcrew Adventure Centre in Meath for the Tough Mudder, which is likely to be one of the toughest endurance events that even the most hardy of competitors have ever faced. Entries to the race are now being accepted.

The organisers promise a “gut-busting course awaits — thick mud, rolling hills, deep woods and plenty of obstacles”. Competitors will encounter the Arctic Enema, where they will be plunged into icy water; Berlin Walls, a series of 10-foot-high walls which they must work together to get over; and Everest, a steep quarter pipe which requires courage and teamwork to summit.

Entry fees from €69. See www.facebook.com/toughmudderireland/

5. Love/Hate Joyce

Tickets are now on sale for a reading of James Joyce’s The Dead by Aidan Gillen (left), with a live music accompaniment composed and performed by pianist Feargal Murray, to be staged at Smock Alley Theatre from January 5-9 as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Known for his work on Game of Thrones, Love/Hate and The Wire , Aidan Gillen will bring James Joyce’s captivating short story to life. The Dead is the last of 15 stories that make up Dubliners, Joyce’s searing exploration of life in Dublin.

Tickets cost from €15 and are available at www.dublintheatrefestival.com

6. Tale as old as time

The magical story of Beauty and the Beast is being brought to life at the Cork Opera House this festive season with Frank Mackey as Nanny Potts and Declan Wolfe as Chip, alongside Holly Ryan (Belle), Patrick Sullivan (Beast) and Barnaby Hughes (Gas-on) as well as a host of dancers.

Beauty and the Beast is a story of friendship and love, mixed with magic and adventure. Phone 021-4270022 or see www.corkoperahouse.ie

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