Everyone’s here for Dalkey Book Festival (except Matt Damon) – The Irish Times

Dalkey Book Festival

Thursday, June 16th, to Sunday, June 19th; Dalkey, Co Dublin; dalkeybookfestival.org

“The worst of times require the best of minds,” begins the bumf for this year’s Dalkey Book Festival, returning to real live action after two years on the online shelf. The festival has a line up of great minds, not all of whom think alike, who will dissect the global events and cultural shifts which have been happening at breakneck pace. In an age where decades seem to happen in the space of weeks, writers, thinkers and commentators will gather by the idyllic seaside town to try to make sense of it all — but don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of book talk too, and not forgetting a certain tome whose centenary is being celebrated this year.

The festival also won’t be forgetting the winners of the 2022 Novel of the Year and Emerging Writer of the Year awards, sponsored by Zurich, with a prize fund of €30,000, which will be announced on Sunday night. Who’ll be there? Who won’t be there. Look out for Simon Schama, Sally Rooney, Elif Shafak, Annie Mac, Blindboy, Marian Keyes, Gary Shteyngart, Fintan O’Toole, John Banville, David Puttnam and Tara Flynn to name but a few. This is one weekend when Matt Damon could wander around Dalkey with his SuperValu bag and no one would even notice.

The Tin Soldier

Tuesday, June 14th, to Saturday, July 2nd; Gate Theatre, Dublin; 7.30pm (Saturday matinees 2.30pm); from €15; gatetheatre.ie

Meet Hans Christian Andersen, creator of phantasmagorical fairytales for kids but also a fascinating, complex and troubled figure whose own turbulent life — lived in the grim shadow of war in Europe — was filled with personal heartbreak and disappointment. The Gate Theatre and Theatre Lovett have joined forces to bring Andersen’s story to life through the lens of his timeless tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Get ready for a roller coaster of a production, a dizzying, dazzling blend of singing, dancing and storytelling, starring the French dancer Kévin Coquelard and the Ukrainian singer Olesya Zdorovetska, and with music by Conor Linehan and narration by Louis Lovett.

The Killers

Tuesday, June 14th, and Wednesday, June 15th; Malahide Castle, Co Dublin; 5pm

The Las Vegas band have teetered on the edge of greatness but never quite tipped into U2-style stratospheric success. Still, The Killers have never lost their panache, and can always be relied on to pull some musical rabbits from the hat; when they rock up to Malahide Castle for two nights on June 14th and 15th, they’ll be drawing from a diverse musical output that veers from grandiose synth-pop to Springsteeny grit and even a couple of U2-ey air-punching anthems. On their latest album, Pressure Machine, frontman Brandon Flowers is in reflective mode, exploring his childhood growing up in Utah to a backdrop of lush, low-key arrangements. At Malahide Castle, we’ll get all the best of The Killers, including Somebody Told Me, Human, When You Were Young and, of course, Mr Brightside.

Covid Care Concerts Gala Concert

Wednesday, June 15th; National Concert Hall, Dublin; 8pm; €18.50/€22.50; nch.ie

In 2020, as the pandemic shut down live music, the cellist Gerald Peregine conceived the idea of the Covid Care Concert project, which brought musicians to the doorsteps of nursing homes, care centres and hospitals to perform concerts and help alleviate the loneliness and isolation suffered by many people in residential care. Now this gala concert will bring together many of the artists who took part in this initiative over the past two years, including Claudia Boyle, Steve Cooney, Mary Coughlan, Jerry Fish, Red Hurley, Niamh Kavanagh, Seán Keane, Iarla Ó Lionáird, John Spillane and Prof Luke O’Neill. They’ll be backed up by a 47-piece orchestra conducted by David Brophy, and Brophy’s Frontline Workers Choir, with the broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan ably looking after compering duties.

Camilla George

Wednesday, June 15th, Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo; Thursday, June 16th, Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare; Friday, June 17th, Kilmurry House, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny; Saturday, June 18th, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork; Sunday, June 19th, the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim; Tuesday, June 21st, St John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel, Co Kerry; Wednesday, June 22nd, Sugar Club, Dublin; Thursday, June 23rd, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co Donegal; Saturday, June 25th, the Mac, Belfast; Sunday, June 26th, National Opera House, Wexford; musicnetwork.ie

She is a leading light of British jazz, a virtuoso saxophonist who fuses African and western music to create a mesmerising blend of Afro-futurism, hip hop and jazz. This is the first Irish tour for the Nigerian-born, London-based musician, who has been dubbed the golden girl of jazz, taking in 10 dates around the island of Ireland between June 15th and 26th. She’ll be bringing along her all-star band, featuring the keyboardist/vocalist Renato Paris, the bassist Jihad Darwish and the drummer Rod Youngs. George will also lead a series of jazz workshops for aspiring musicians in schools and community settings while on tour, as part of Music Network’s commitment to making live music accessible to people of all ages.

Cork Midsummer Festival

Wednesday, June 15th, to Sunday, June 26th, various venues, time and prices, Cork; corkmidsummer.com

Back with a bang, and quite a few sparks, Cork Midsummer Festival is all set for 12 days of exhilarating, exciting and electrifying events throughout the city. Highlights include the premiere of ThisIsPopBaby’s new dance-theatre show, Party Scene, exploring the underbelly of queer culture, in a show that will tickle the funny bone but also take an uncompromising look at a world of chemsex, consent and care within the LGBTQ+ community (June 15th-17th, the Warehouse @ Marina Market, 8pm, €22/€16). Also premiering is a new production from Corcadorca inspired by Frank O’Connor’s short story Guests of the Nation, a collaboration between Kevin Barry, Pat Kiernan and Mel Mercier that reflects on what it means to be Irish in the 21st century, and performed in and around Cork Opera House and Triskel Arts Centre (June 18th-25th, 10pm, €30/€27/€22). There’s great music in store from Sharon Van Etten with support from Maija Sofia (June 23rd, Cork Opera House, 7.30pm, €30) and Tolu Makay, in an intimate performance that will explore the power of lived experiences (June 17th, Kino, 7-10pm, €15/€12).

Ardú and Klapa Dispet

Friday, June 17th; Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Dublin 2; 7.30pm; €15; gr8events.ie/ardu

Sometimes it’s nice to just strip away all the musical equipment and clear the headspace for that most incredible of instruments, the human voice. This night of a capella artistry is supported by the Department of Culture and Dublin City Council, and features one of Ireland’s finest a capella groups, Ardú, who will bring a blend of intricate harmonies, funky rhythms and superb solo performances to the stage, to celebrate the release of their new album, Songs from Here. Get there early so as not to miss Croatian vocal ensemble Klapa Dispet, a group of talented women at the forefront of Croatia’s klapa music scene.

Body & Soul

Friday, June 17th, to Sunday, June 19th; Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath; bodyandsoul.ie

The mindful music festival returns after a two-year absence forced by Covid. During that time the organisers have decided that, rather than just go back to the way it was, they’re going to reimagine the festival and create a whole new vibe. They’re going to reduce the number of tickets for this year’s festival to about a third of its original capacity, but also doubling the curation, so this year fans can enjoy an incredible line-up of top-notch entertainment in an intimate setting that won’t make them feel boxed in. To help celebrate the summer solstice in Ballinlough Castle estate, the line-up of artists includes Roisin Murphy, Jon Hopkins, Yves Tumor, Pillow Queens, Cmat, Soda Blonde, John Francis Flynn, Sinead O’Brien, The Altered Hours and King Kong Company, along with restorative wellbeing treatments including Jon Hopkins’s Music for Psychedelic Therapy immersive sound experience.

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