Pue’s Recommendations for August

Juliana Adelman The IFI are showing a bunch of old Jack Nicholson films this month, including two of my absolute favourites: Chinatown and Five Easy Pieces.  We tend to think of Nicholson as playing variations on eccentric old man, he is neither in these films.  And I think he actually plays the piano that well in real life.  I am currently engrossed in Being Human by Roger Smith, which is essentially an argument for the importance of historical understandings (as opposed to biological) of what a human is.  I think it’s a must read for all historians.  Sticking to humans, the current exhibition in the Science Gallery has nothing to do with history, but is really worth a visit.  BIORHYTHM explores the relationship between music and the body.  Finally, I am enjoying BBC 2’s Victorian Pharmacy on Thursday nights from 9 to 10.  Yes, as the review in the Guardian complained, it’s not very realistic since they can’t give people opium or poison them, but still pretty interesting.

Lisa Marie Griffith I had my niece in Dublin for the day recently (honestly that’s my excuse) and took her on the Viking Splash Tour. If you have been to Dublin you will have seen the yellow DUKWs (Amphibious World War II Vehicles) filled with kids and adults a like driving around the city shouting (a Viking roar) at unsuspecting Celts, ie anyone unlucky enough to be holding a map or a cup of coffee.  The DUKW enters the Grand Canal basin and the guide gave a wonderful tour of the area, the old canal and the background to the DUKWs. The IFI is showing ‘Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky’ from 6 August, an adaptation of a novel which deals with Chanel’s affair with the Russian composer. While not based completely on factual events it promises beautiful clothes from the early twentieth century which is enough to make me happy! If like me you have a weakness for beautiful clothes, particularly vintage pieces, then check out the Sartorialist for the month of May. The fashion blogger invited his readers to send in old fashion pics of families and friends and while procrastinating and catching up on my blogs I spotted them today. They are well worth a look and particularly strong with some beautiful pictures from the 40s and 50s, he also has some gorgeous shop fronts.

Tina Morin This August is a time of family gatherings, weddings, and much-anticipated visits from friends, two of whom arrive this week in advance of a wedding we’re all attending at the weekend. My husband and I plan to take these friends, one of whom is from the US, on a whirlwind tour of Belfast and the north coast, with necessary call-ins at Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, in addition to the near-obligatory murals tour in Belfast. If we have time, it’d be great to head south and bring our visitors to The Abbey Theatre’s current production of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars, which runs until 25 September. As we do all this sightseeing, I’m going to be sure to drop in copious literary tidbits whenever and however I can, on the back of the dismaying article in last weekend’s Irish Times: ‘If ever you go to Dublin town’. In it, writer Rosita Boland reveals the shocking ignorance about Irish literature and writing displayed by visitors, heritage-seekers, and residents alike. For a literary critic and a personal fan of Irish literature in all of its guises, the article is a heartrending read and, (to be a tad melodramatic about it), a real call to arms.

Kevin O’Sullivan You have to love Ireland, don’t you? On holidays in the midst of a dour World Cup, we caught the last two minutes of Holland v Brazil on a tiny, snowy screen in the ‘airport’ on Inis Mór, right before the attendant, with the words ‘watch this video’, switched over to the safety instructions and headed out to the runway to prepare our eight-seater (including the captain) plane for take-off. This month Aer Arann celebrates forty years of ‘seat of the pants flying’ to the islands from Indreabhán. If you get the chance, and can stomach the ten-minute trip, it’s well worth heading out to see Dún Aonghasa, Dún Eochla, and some beautiful beaches. Beats taking the boat any day. And while you’re on the west coast, keep an eye out for a couple of other ‘new’ attractions that we came across in July: Bonane Heritage Park near Kenmare, which opened in 2005; and Doolin Cave, home of a 7.3m stalactite, whose new visitor centre opened last month. The cave is a little pricey, but the experience will make it all the easier to head back into your local autumn-darkened library. Finally, if heading back to the library needs any selling, have a look at this great video that I came across last month (via Notes from the Field).

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5 Responses to “Pue’s Recommendations for August”

  1. Felix Larkin Says:

    I’ve just returned from a few days’ holiday in Youghal, a lovely historic town. Took a trip over to Midleton to visit the JAMESON EXPERIENCE IN THE OLD DISTILLERY – wonderful, and I can strongly recommend the special Distillery Reserve whiskey on sale exclusively in the shop there. I’m sure the format is much the same at the Bushmills Distillery, though I haven’t been there (yet!). In Youghal, you can visit the harbour where John Heuston made his MOBY DICK film in the 1950s. Sir Walter Raleigh’s house, Myrtle Grove, is still there, but not open to the public. One of its more recent occupants was the journalist Claud Cockburn, whose grave I found (with a beautiful headstone) in the grounds of nearby St Mary’s Collegiate Church. Inside St Mary’s is a spectacular monument to Richard Boyle, first Eart of Cork – depicted with both his wives (who appear happy to share him for all eternity!) and some of his children. A guidebook tells me he had a total of fifteen children. Since such historical tourism is thirsty work, let me mention finally that The Nook on Main Street, near the 1610 Almshouses, is a very distinctive pub – well worth a visit.

  2. patrick maume Says:

    I went to see the Lavery exhibition (mainly of his political paintings) when passing through Dublin today. A very interesting experience. They have the big final version of THE TRIAL OF ROGER CASEMENT as well as a smaller study for the same painting – what struck me is that in the big painting, light is used so as to make Casement (seated in the dock at right angles to the judges & lawyers & looking out at the viewer) the centre of attention, whereas this is absent in the smaller preliminary study.
    Lavery seems to have favoured the use of a dark background to set off the sitter’s features – you see it in both paintings of carson, for instance. The paintings of the Treaty negotiators (except greenwood and Worthington-Evans) are on display. I had never realised Barton looked so much like his cousin erskine Childres. Griffith did not seem to me to show the “hysterical pride” Yeats ascribed to him, but a noticeable weariness – but perhaps Yeats’ response to the painting was influenced by other memories of Griffith. WT Cosgrave looks pinker and fleshier than I expected, but the portrait that impressed me most was the kevin O’higgins.
    They have a version of Lavery’s painting of Terence macSwiney’s funeral in Southwark Cathedral, and next to it a clip of Pathe footage of Macswiney which I hadn’t seen before – he loooks older than in still portraits.
    The footge can be viewed on the Net, and those who watch the whole film from which it is drawn will be amused to see that the Pathe cataloguer has mistaken griffith for Cosgrave!
    http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=79407
    The whole exhibition is well worth going to see, especially if you have an interest in the period.

  3. patrick maume Says:

    Two more blunders I have noted in the Pathe description – the man speaking and smiling after the shot of MacSwiney at his desk is MacSwiney again – not de Valera. The man talking to Griffith whom they can’t identify is I think Desmond Fitzgerald – he has dreadful teeth, which don’t say very much for Edwardian dentistry!

  4. Choose an Irish Writer, any Irish Writer « Pue's Occurrences Says:

    […] mentioned in my recommendations for August having read and been thoroughly dismayed by a recent Irish Times article, ‘If ever you go to […]

  5. Felix Larkin Says:

    Greatly enjoyed the Lavery exhibition in the Hugh Lane Gallery. Thanks for recommending it, Patrick – and I agree that the Kevin O’Higgins portrait is most impressive. Impressive too is the portrait of Sir Alfred Cope, the shadowy Assistant Under Secretary in Dublin Castle who conducted much of the subterranean negotiations with Sinn Féin that led to the Truce in July 1921 – I didn’t know that Lavery had painted him, and it is a testimony of his importance that Lavery did so. One mistake that I noted: the bishop in THE BLESSING OF THE COLOURS is Daniel Mannix, not Archbishop Edward Byrne of Dublin. Tom Morrissey SJ is publishing a biography of Archbishop Byrne in the autumn, and will speak to the National Library of Ireland Society about Archbishops Walsh (1885-1921) and Byrne (1921-39) on 11 November next.

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