As we settle into 2019 and look to the year ahead, #TeamAlice’s Christmas shenanigans seem like a distant memory. But, as always, we’re making sure you don’t miss out on the highlights. We’ve been discovering the best podcasts, reviewing our favourite Christmas reads, and letting you in on what’s been inspiring us most in Dublin and around the country.
On the Plate
Mammy dinners. Lots of them!
Aside from our respective (and indisputably best) dinners courtesy of the parentals over the Christmas break, we also ventured to some wonderful places to eat.
Martina’s culinary highlight from the past few weeks was definitely the Alice PR & Events Christmas outing to Dublin’s Bastible, where we enjoyed a delicious tasting menu. The food there is really creative and beautifully presented. Martina has been a few times, and it never fails to disappoint!
While at home in Monaghan over the break, Darragh ventured out to Castle Leslie for a leisurely walk and afternoon tea. If you’re up that neck of the woods, it’s a must. After settling at a table overlooking the lake, they nibbled on the best afternoon tea Darragh has ever had. Lashings of the estate’s homemade jam and clotted cream. A dream! There was even time for a tinkle on the keys of the centuries-old grand piano in the Drawing Room.
On the Page
Martina finally found time to read Michael Palin’s ‘Erebus’ over the Christmas break. She saw the author himself discuss this work during the Dublin Festival of History back in October. For history fans (and fans of Arctic / Antarctic exploration, in particular), it’s a fascinating read, charting the fate of the ship Erebus, which was built in the 1820s. The ship disappeared during an Arctic expedition in the 1850s. The shipwreck was finally discovered in 2014. You can read more about the book here.
Martina has also been dipping in and out of ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, a collection of writings by Anthony Lane, long-time film critic with the New Yorker magazine. She says it’s like a masterclass in how to write well and so entertaining that she’s been laughing out loud as she reads. This review of it from The Guardian sums it up nicely.
On the Screen
Back in Dublin after the break at home, Darragh went to see Mary Poppins Returns and fell completely in love. It’s funny, whimsical and has a flamboyant, old-school musical sound track. It’s everything a Disney classic should be, and draws you wholesale into the magical world that they have so beautifully created. Perhaps a little controversial but, Darragh’s of the opinion it’s even better than the original!
Martina really enjoyed ‘The Favourite’: she found it funny and fresh, and was delighted to see a movie with three strong (if somewhat mad!) female leads. She also pushed herself out of her comfort zone, going to see a Transformers movie for the first time ever: ‘Bumblebee’. She was pleasantly surprised – it was more entertaining than expected, and has lots of nostalgic 1980s details, including a great soundtrack.
Out and About
Niamh went to see Adam Kay live at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. He’s the author of the book ‘This is Going to Hurt’ which she read (and loved) during the summer. It is a series of diary entries regaling the highlights and lowlights of his six year as a junior obstetrician and gynaecologist in the NHS. Thankfully, she tells us, Adam was just as funny in real-life as he is in his writing. He read excerpts from the book and mixed that with hilariously reworded well known songs, accompanying himself on the piano. A true renaissance man. It was belly laugh funny and Niamh cannot recommend his book or show highly enough!
Emily’s highlights over the Christmas break included a trip to the infamous ‘Jim o the Mill‘ pub in Upperchurch, Tipperary. A visit there is like a step back in time. There’s one tap in the bar (Guinness, of course!), big turf fires, and live trad sessions. Musicians of all ages join in to either play a tune or sing a song (ideally a rebel tune!). It was thronged when she was there, and she’d totally recommend a visit. This is old Ireland at its authentic best.
In the Ear
Emily stuck her earphones in and got to work over the Christmas break, gleaning insights into the lives and minds of various high-profile people. She’s been listening to two podcasts, Dolly Alderton’s ‘Love Stories’, and ‘How to Fail with Elizabeth Day‘, as recommended by Darragh. Both great series with bags of lessons and insights to learn, and a great way to keep up with the newest releases from bestselling authors.