Arthur’s Day. It returns this year to celebrate the momentous 251st anniversary of something or other to do with Arthur Guinness or the St. James’ Gate lease… only it’s not on the same date as last year’s event. No matter. What better way to commemorate the hugely important 251st anniversary (I think that’s the fibre-optic anniversary) than to re-stage last year’s joyous festival of stout. Yes, to appreciate the drink of choice for angry old Irish men, we’ll have a jam-packed line-up of bland pop acts from yesteryear appearing on stages around Dublin to make a quick buck. What’s more, if you try to go into one of your regular pubs for a pint of the black stuff, you can’t! Ticketmaster have gotten there really early and taken all the seats! You’ll have to pay in! It’s worth it though, you’ll get to see some nothing band play in the corner and if you’re lucky, The Maccabees might drop in later. No matter where you go in Dublin on Thursday though, you’re almost guaranteed the worst pint of Guinness you’ll ever receive as barmen around the country throw endless streams of stout into whatever containers they can find to keep the till ringing to the sound of idiots all night. If it’s anything like the carnage of last year, which was like Oxegen, Junior Cert night, Leaving Cert night and St Patrick’s Day all mixed together, it’ll be hard to avoid if you’re in town.
My recommendation is to forgo the obligation bestowed on you by the muppets in the Diageo marketing department and try visiting the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College. They’ll be opening a new show to celebrate the slightly less impressive 50th anniversary of the Modern Art Collection at Trinity. Their party wins in my book though, because there’ll be free wine, room to breathe and a fairly excellent selection of work on show. The exhibition features work from well-known figures in 20th century Irish art like Jack B. Yeats, Æ and Mainie Jellett as well as more contemporary names like Aoife Desmond, Laura Fitzgerald and Elaine Reynolds. The Douglas Hyde Gallery is one of the more consistent galleries in Dublin for showing interesting work without alienating the public and here they’ve gathered an impressive mix of artists for an exhibition which should have something to please everyone. ‘Holding Together‘ opens tomorrow (Thu 23rd) at 6pm and runs through to November 3rd. Have a nice relaxing pint of Guinness over the weekend when you can find your favourite seat and give out about the state of the nation in peace – the way it’s supposed to be.