Limerick's Samhain Festival is on this weekend PICTURE: Deirdre Power
Bank holiday weekends in Limerick tend to be packed affairs and the coming few days are just that: a weekend where two pages could be filled with the best events on offer.
Plenty of theatre, film, music and celebrations of the ghoulish and joyous sides of Halloween are ahead of you this weekend!
Thursday (Oct 24)
The Richard Harris International Film Festival hits Limerick this weekend. Screenings of short movies by students have been running since Tuesday but the festival officially opens on Thursday in Dance Limerick at 7pm with Brian Reddin's documentary A Man Called Harris. Tickets for that are €8. Miguel Berzal de Miguel's No News (7pm Friday at the Belltable, tickets €8) looks really interesting. It won a bronze medal at the European Independent Film Awards this year and is preceded by Skin, which took the Oscar for best short film this year. Heyday: The Mic Christopher Story (9pm Saturday at the Belltable, tickets €8) is a fascinating look at one of Ireland's greatest singer-songwriters and Trojan Eddie (4pm Sunday in The Commercial) is a must for fans of all things Harris. The swanky red carpet awards show is at the Millennium Theatre on Sunday at 7pm and tickets are €50. Short film screenings run throughout the weekend in one or two hour blocks. Each of those will cost you €8. You can see the full lineup at richardharrisfestival.com
Samhain, Limerick's Halloween festival, is back with a bang this weekend to celebrate local folklore and traditions. There are two storytelling sessions with seanchaí Eddie Lenihan on Thursday - at 6pm in Ormston House for children and 7:30pm in Treaty City Brewery for adults. Other highlights include a talk in Ormston House on Friday at 7pm on masked ritual performance, a Death Café in Jack Mondays on Friday at 9pm and a lantern-making workshop in City Hall on Saturday at 10am. Each of those will cost you €5, except for the Death Cafe, which is free. Make sure you don't miss the Samhain Parade of Light on Saturday at 7:20pm, running from City Hall around King's Island to Clancy's Strand.
Limerick's Torch Players are performing two short comic plays at The Loft over the Locke Bar each evening from Wednesday to Friday this week. Murray Schisgal's Dr Fish features a married couple seeking sex advice from a doctor whose PhD is in American history, while The Proposal is classic Chekhov - a tale of land, marriage proposals and male hysteria. 7:30pm each night, tickets are €10.
Antonio Vivaldi is best known for his concertos but he composed at least fifty operas, including Griselda, brought to the Lime Tree Theatre this Thursday by the Irish National Opera. It's the story of a king who marries a woman from a much lower social class, only to have the angry end of the public decide she's not good enough. You know, like British tabloids with Meghan Markle. He puts her through a series of tests and public humiliations, all to prove that she is a worthy queen. Surprisingly, none of this results in her kicking him in the crotch, but that's opera for you. It's one of Vivaldi's best operas - definitely top 3 - and staged in a very modernistic way, so I very much recommend this. 8pm, tickets are €30 / €27 concession.
Friday (October 25)
Limerick Civic Trust are again running their Haunted Halloween Tours at the Bishop's Palace on King's Island. See the building's cellars and St Munchin's graveyard while taking in some macabre tales to tingle your spines. There's a tour at 4pm every day until November 2, with an extra tour at 6pm on October 30 and 31. Tickets are €7 for adults, free for children.
Friars' Gate Theatre in Kilmallock hosts its annual Festival Of One Act Drama this weekend from Friday to Sunday. They'll have three one-act plays at 8pm each night, performed by amateur drama groups from around the country. Tickets are €12 / €10 concession or you can get a season ticket to the entire festival for €25.
Tom Crean: Antarctic Explorer is a solo show about the Kerryman who took part in the three great explorations of the South Pole and survived to tell the tale. He never really told the tale, so Aidan Dooley has stepped in to do it for him. The play has been touring continuously since 2001 and is a fascinating account of a fascinating life. See it at the Lime Tree this Friday. 8pm, tickets are €22.
Saturday (October 26)
Viva La Vida is a new day-long festival at CB1 51 O' Connell Street his Saturday, showcasing Latin American culture through a series of workshops and fun activities throughout the day. It kicks off at 11am with a capoeira workshop, followed by kite-making, sugar skull makeup for Día de Muertos and alebrije sculpting. Each of those workshops will cost you €5. From 3pm there's a World Café with Latin American food vendors. The day closes with a high-energy fandango concert at 7pm, featuring music and dance from Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Tickets for that are €15.
Dublin indie folk outfit Villagers play Dolan's Warehouse this Saturday night. Almost uniquely among indie artists, they've managed to keep the hipster crowd on side since their first album, mainly by continuing to release genuinely great records. Worth seeing. Doors at 7:30pm, tickets are €29.50
Sunday (October 27)
Thirty guitar-driven bands occupy three stages for the Autumn Siege of Limerick at Dolan's this Sunday. Swedish death metal band Tribulation are headlining the day-long event, which runs from midday till the wee hours of the morning. Free entry.
There are at least three things that I will probably never understand: what came before the Big Bang, why my brain keeps reminding me of stupid things I've said and why there are still tickets available for the Amanda Palmer gig this Sunday at the University Concert Hall. Since the breakup of the Dresden Dolls she's carved out a solo career of hard-talking feminist music and you have to see her perform live. Easily the gig of the week. 7:30pm, tickets are €25.
Mariele Neudecker's Sediment exhibition is at the Limerick City Gallery until November 17. The Open Minds exhibition at the Hunt Museum runs till November 24. Both free to see.
That's your lot for this weekend and, as always, if you go to things, there will be more things!