Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Last Post?

I stopped writing this blog in August 2014. I will leave the abandoned site running for as long as I am using this server for other purposes.
Dublin Duchess was an opportunity to write about my loves; books (of which I thank so many publishers for providing me with review copies), eating out in Dublin, theatre (thank you for preview tickets!) and art events of which Dublin is plentiful and for the most part free. I also wrote up recipes and other items that interested me. 
Now with work constraints I will probably not maintain it. The traffic numbers surpassed my expectations.
Regretfully, 
Dublin Duchess

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Twelfth Night at Smock Alley Theatre

Just heard word of a British travelling company who are going to be at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin's Temple Bar for 'one night only' with a production of Twelfth Night. If Shakespeare is your 'thang' then Smock Alley is a lovely casual environment in which to enjoy the experience.

PurpleCoat Productions is a Liverpool based theatre and film company supported by Stephen Fry and the RSC. This September they're going on their first ever tour and visiting Dublin's  Smock Alley Theatre as part of it on Tuesday 2nd September at 8pm, ticket just €15. 

1TwelfthNight_ForWebsite


National Brown Bread Baking Competition 2014

Is brown bread as popular as it once was? Certainly it's one of the easiest breads to knock together due to the fact it needs baking soda instead of yeast to rise. Once the bastion on the Irish Mammy, popped in the suitcase when they went to visit the lad or the lassie in London ("he's no way to get real bread you know!") it has slightly lost it's place.


But maybe down to the Great British Bake Off  quickly followed (read 'copied') by The Great Irish Bake Off along with the country's obsession with bloody cupcakes (now thankfully waning as we wade out from under tonnes of buttercream) there is now to be a National Brown Bread Baking Competition.
Last held in 1973 it is now back sponsored by Aldi and in association with the Irish Countrywomen’s Association and the National Ploughing Association. 

Watch the Youtube launch video here.

Contestants from around the country gathered at An Grianan, Co. Louth where judges Edward Hayden from TV3, Eileen Brennan from NPA and Laura McHale from Aldi chose eight finalists who will meet in the finals at the Aldi tent at the National Ploughing Championships on the 23rd and the 24th of September. One winner will be picked from each day, and they will go head-to-head in the final on the 25th of September.

Good luck ladies and long live brown bread!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Releases: The Caver-Carol Burnham, The Diary of Mary Travers-Eibhear Walshe, The Blood Dimmed Tide-Anthony Quinn.

Somerville Press is a really quality publisher down in Bantry. You can find their books in Hodges Figgis or buy of their website. Recent books I have enjoyed are Bishops Move  by Colm Keena and the excellent Footprint Under Water by Barbara Fitzgerald. Two new releases from this publisher are The Caver by Carol Burnham and The Diary of Mary Travers by Eibhear Walshe.

 
The Caver published earlier this summer will be officially launched at Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, Dublin on the evening of the 2nd September. The press release reads;

"Claire, an American writer, returns to the island of Kythera, "for answers" and befriends a café owner who offers to teach her Greek. But certainty is difficult in the land of myth and "trickster" light. Even her new tutor, who possesses a "strange consonance" with the island, becomes for her, an object of intrigue. When an amiable new neighbour extends an invitation on the day they meet, Claire declines, indicating that she needs to be alone for a while, but subsequently is persuaded to attend a dinner party. There she meets George, a caver from Malta, and falls inexplicably in love. She travels to Crete and ventures alone up a mountain to the remote village where she can be with him near his project. Then the unexpected occurs. Claire comes to Greece in search of answers and finds, instead, a stubborn but beautiful mystery."

Sounds fab and for anyone planning a late summer holiday to Greece maybe the perfect beach read.

Somerville Press's other offering is very different in the form of a great historical fiction novel where the main protagonist is following the trials of Oscar Wilde from nineteenth century County Cork.


The Diary of Mary Travers by Eibhear Walshe, described by Carlo Gébler as 'historical fiction of the highest order' is a fascinating view of the famous historical events involving one of Dublin's now most loved and once most hated genius's. The press release reads;

"It is April 1895 and Oscar Wilde is on trial in London at the Old Bailey, following his libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, and faces ruin, public disgrace and imprisonment. In County Cork, a woman called Mary Travers is following the Wilde Trials in the newspapers, increasingly troubled by the growing public outcry. Mary Travers has her own secret, her hidden connection with Oscar Wilde and his parents, William and Jane, and dreads discovery and exposure. Unknown to those around her, in 1864, as a young woman, she had been the key figure in a notorious court case in Dublin, in which she sued Jane Wilde for libel, and the resulting scandal filled the newspapers for weeks."

For fans of historical fiction, literary fiction, Irish history and just about anyone fancying a good interesting read. From the first line 'Sometimes, unbidden, pictures of my young self rise up before me' this novel has a pull that draws you in to the world of this fascinating figure and her world in the closing years of the Nineteenth century in Ireland.

My final offer is from No Exit Press a crime fiction publisher with a very interesting catalogue. This time we are following another Irish genius in London, namely WB Yeats in the novel due to be published in late October by Anthony Quinn The Blood Dimmed Tide

 The Blood Dimmed Tide jacket

"London at the dawn of 1918 and Ireland's famous literary figure, WB Yeats, is immersed in supernatural investigations at his Bloomsbury rooms.
Haunted by the restless spirit of an Irish girl whose body is mysteriously washed ashore in a coffin, Yeats undertakes a perilous journey back to Ireland with his apprentice ghost-catcher Charles Adams to piece together the killer's identity.
Surrounded by spies, occultists and die hard female rebels, the two are led on a gripping journey along Ireland's wild Atlantic coast, through the ruins of its abandoned estates, and into its darkest, most haunted corners.
Falling under the spell of dark forces, Yeats and his ghost-catcher come dangerously close to crossing the invisible line that divides the living from the dead."

A fascinating reworking of Yeats genuine fascination with the occult and a historical mystery novel, The Blood Dimmed Tide is the first in a trilogy set in Ireland during this fascinating period of Irish history. If you enjoy this keep an eye out for those that follow.



Summer Rain? Ridiculous Celebrity Baby Names

Oh give me a break! Celeb baby names just do my head in. I know we shouldn't take any notice, rise above it etc.etc. but it is kinda shoved down our throats even if we try to ignore it. The fruit theme (Apple), the place names (Brooklyn), the compass points-or Hitchcock film? (North West) and there are several sites devoted to the subject.

Now, with the birth in the last few days of the songstress Christine Aguillera's daughter, the public was presented with a weather forecast, Summer Rain. It's like a weather version of a character from that old fashioned card game Happy Families, "Mr Heavy Rain, his wife Mrs Winter Rain, their son Master Squally Rain and his Baby sister Summer Rain."


Apparently she just "loves how Summer Rain Rutler flows"- yeh like rain down a pavement. Poor child.

According to ranker.com the top 20 most ridiculous baby names are:
  1. 1
    Up2244
    Down1244
    2003
    100
    Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
  2. 2
    Up2100
    Down1207
    2005
    99
    Penn Jillette and Emily Zolten
  3. 3
    Up1949
    Down1137
    2003
    98
    Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton
  4. 4
    Up1836
    Down1149
    2000
    92
    Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza
  5. 5
    Up1609
    Down1035
    92
    Jonathan Davis and Deven Davis
  6. 6
    Up1516
    Down1029
    1983
    88
    Bob Geldof and Paula Yates
  7. 7
    Up1552
    Down1010
    88
    John and Elaine Irwin Mellencamp
  8. 8
    Up1916
    Down1119
    2013
    88
    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
  9. 9
    Up2060
    Down1103
    1990
    88
    Bob Geldof and Paula Yates
  10. 10
    Up1623
    Down1036
    1996
    87
    Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates
  11. 11
    Up1518
    Down1034
    1967
    86
    Frank Zappa and Adelaide Gail Zappa
  12. 12
    Up1370
    Down955
    2010
    83
    Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
  13. 13
    Up1463
    Down1016
    2009
    82
    Jamie Oliver and Juliette Norton
  14. 14
    Up1054
    Down976
    2001
    78
    Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis
  15. 15
    Up1383
    Down1173
    2005
    77
    Nicolas Cage and Alice Kim
  16. 16
    Up1292
    Down1012
    76
    Jonathan Davis and Deven Davis
  17. 17
    Up1372
    Down1141
    2004
    76
    Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
  18. 18
    Up1248
    Down1007
    74
    James Brown and Deidre Jenkins
  19. 19
    Up1330
    Down1192
    2012
    72
    added by: BrittanyBear
    Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles
  20. 20
    Up988
    Down746
    1969
    69
    added by: RavinDoll
    Frank Zappa and Adelaide Gail Zappa