Dublin is in for a shock. A real culture shock. Visitors and locals alike will be chewing their lips in indecision at how to choose between an entire galaxy of cool events.
Here’s what I’m looking at…
First on the line-up of fabulous distraction is this 10-day film festival, kicking off on 16 February. The focus is on good, old-fashioned storytelling, with a programme ranging from Irish premieres, contemporary world cinema, documentaries, masterclasses and special talks.
And doesn’t my calendar looks like the diary of a Hollywood agent! On Monday, I’ve penciled in (ok, massive glitter pens) legendary actor Al Pacino and the Irish premiere of his new documentary Wild Salome about Oscar Wilde.
Thursday, I’ll be charmed by Martin Sheen as he introduces Stella Days, the Ireland-shot story in which he plays a parish priest.
Friday I’ve just about managed to squeeze in Mark Wahlberg as he introduces Contraband.
If the movie stars and popcorn don’t ice your cake, don’t fear, Dublin has a lot more up its sleeve, and a very roomy sleeve it is too…
Next on the agenda is the Dublin Book Festival from 2–6 March. This UNESCO City of Literature has had more writing talent in the past 100 years than is scarcely believable. And we’re still churning them out, with a catalogue of Ireland’s contemporary writers, poets and children’s authors taking part in the festival’s free readings, interviews, debates and book launches.
Trotting to the events will be a pleasure in itself, as the buildings will be as grand as the authors they’re hosting, including the National Library of Ireland and City Hall, and trendy Temple Bar spots The Project Arts Theatre and The Gutter Bookshop.
Even after all that, Dublin still won’t let you file away your bookmarks. The month of April brings the Dublin: One City, One Book Festival, an annual event celebrating one book around the city. The book for April 2012 is Dubliners by James Joyce, a book of short stories depicting fictional Dublin people living life (full of epiphanies, of course) at various stages. Unfortunately Mr Joyce won’t be able to give a reading himself, but there will be plenty of city events all focused around the book and its culture. The whole city will be reading it together, after all!
Still in culture shock? Join the club!