Panto joy: Snow White, left and Alice in Wonderland, right, are still running at the UCH and the Lime Tree until this weekend
NOW that the new year has arrived, thoughts turn to resolutions, recovery from Christmas excesses and wishing Mariah Carey well as she returns to her underwater kingdom to prepare for next year's festive declarations that all she wants for Christmas is you.
Again. Get over yourself, Mariah, it's not going to happen.
This weekend is a very quiet few days in Limerick. I could lie to you and tell you that the festivities never stop and that this weekend is an utter gift but the purpose of this page is to give you an honest heads-up on what you can see, not to act as a PR loudspeaker. That's as close to a mission statement as you will ever get from this column. That said, it's a chance to shine a little light on some events that would not normally be included, so this weekend you can buckle up for panto, male strippers and fancy tea.
Thursday (January 3)
We're coming to the end of panto season for another year. This weekend is your last chance to catch the outlandish antics, feisty dames and chances to scream “Look out behind you!” at performers who know full-well what's behind them.
Limerick Panto Society's Alice In Wonderland runs at the Lime Tree Theatre until Sunday. The maddest panto in town stars Emma O'Driscoll as the titular Alice, a woman who frequently doesn't know whether she's coming or going, not helped in any way by a Mad Hatter who speaks in riddles and a caterpillar who goes out of his way to be confusing. 7:30pm on Thursday and Friday, midday and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are €20.50 for adults and €18.50 for children.
Also running until Sunday, Snow White is at the University Concert Hall. Limerick's wackiest panto has Katherine Lynch as a murderous queen chasing her step-daughter, who's house-sharing with minor miners and trying to avoid apples. The regular-priced shows on Friday and Saturday at 6.30pm and on Sunday at 1pm and 5.30pm are €29 for adults and €24 for children. And there are three economy shows left with cheaper tickets: Thursday's performances at 2pm and 6:30pm will cost you €26.50 for adults and €21.50 for children, as will Friday's sensory-friendly show at 2pm.
Friday (January 4)
Country-folk duo Foster & Allen are on a national tour to remind us that they're still alive and eager to keep their tax affairs up to date. They're at the Longcourt House Hotel in Newcastle West this Friday evening. It's been 40 years since their first (and only) Irish number one single A Bunch Of Thyme, the world's most successful song about a kitchen herb. The song isn't really about a kitchen herb, of course - it's a coded warning about the dangers of sexually-transmitted infections (I am not making this up). A ticket to see the Statler and Waldorf of Irish music would be the perfect new year's gift for your granny or any pensioner in your life who likes the accordion. 8pm, tickets are €30.
Saturday (January 5)
Storytime with Roisin Meaney is back at the Granary Library this Saturday morning. Aimed at children between 3 and 6, it's the perfect opportunity to teach your child a love of having things read to them by someone else. It's a short step from there to reading for themselves and demanding a library card. 11.30am and it's free.
Pinkalicious is a fundraising night for the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation at Houlihan's 41 Bar in Kilmallock this Saturday. Hosted by cancer patient Meg Curran, the aim of the night is to raise awareness of work done by breast care staff at University Hospital Limerick and to raise funds for the cancer care organisation. You can expect a night of good vibes, good music and some goodness in your heart for helping a worthy charity. It runs from 6pm till late and tickets are €20.
Saturday is traditionally the Twelfth Night of Christmas, an evening of wassailing and raucous entertainment. So it's rather appropriate that Dolan's Warehouse is hosting the Hunks Of Desire. The blurb describes it as “A Male Cabaret Full Monty Show”, which is a convoluted way of saying that it's a male stripper night. I'm guessing they'd have called the act A Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love except that the estate of Elvis Aaron Presley would sue the pants off them for it. Not that this would be a problem - optional pants are core to their business model. The event is, not surprisingly, over-18s only and runs for two and a half hours, roughly the same length as an instalment of Lord Of The Rings. Doors at 8pm, tickets are €15.
Sunday (January 6)
There's a Toy Fair this Sunday at the Castletroy Park Hotel. You might be wondering why anyone would run a toy fair two weeks after the year's biggest cash-generator for the toy market. That's a perfectly reasonable question. It's something of a speciality fair, with a focus on diecast models and dinky cars. Probably more for the hardcore collector than the casual browser, though there is always a chance that you'll spot something that you absolutely must bring home. It runs from 10.30am to 3pm and tickets are €5.
Sunday is Epiphany, often called Little Christmas or Women's Christmas but never Little Women's Christmas, as that would restrict celebrations to female dwarves. You have two glamorous options to treat yourself for the day. Yes, glamorous means pricey, but that’s the price of glamour. There's a Women's Christmas Mindfulness & Afternoon Tea at Fitzgerald's Woodlands House Hotel in Adare from 10am to 1pm. Two hours of group mindfulness and relaxation followed by fancy tea. That will cost you €50. Or you can take in some champagne afternoon tea at No.1 Pery Square between 1pm and 6pm. That's €39 and doesn't include any mindfulness but does come with a harpist.
The Maud Cotter and Anita Groener exhibitions run at Limerick City Gallery until January 6. This weekend is your final chance to see them so get in there before the exhibitions close. The Blurring The Edge ceramics show is at the Hunt Museum until January 20. All free to visit.
That's your lot for this weekend and it has never been as true to say that if you go to things, there will be more things!