Friday, 31 January 2014

Here come the teddy bears!

The Ark is running a lovely series of school and public events over the next few months that celebrate teddy bears. The public ones include:-

The V&A touring Teddy Bear Story Exhibition - runs at weekends from 8th February to 6th April (Saturdays from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 12pm-5pm). Also runs during midterm break from Monday 17th - Friday 21st February (10am-5pm).

Teddy Bear Hospital – bring your teddy for its annual check-up on Saturday 8th February & Saturday 15th March from 1-4pm.

Know Your Bears – a fun talk on real bears with zoologist Geraldine Breen (for kids aged 4+). Runs on Sundays 9th February, 9th & 23rd March at 2pm & 4pm.

Teddy-themed early years visual arts workshops – runs on Saturdays 15th February, 1st & 15th March from 10am & 11.30am.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic early years music workshops – runs on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th February & Saturday 29th March from 10am & 11.30am.

Soft Toy making workshops – runs on Thursday 20th & Friday 21st February & Saturday 8th March at 11am.

Make a Memory Bear workshops – runs on Thursday 20th February & Saturday 8th March at 2.30pm.

Family Teddy Bear making workshops – runs on Saturday 22nd February at 10am, 12.30pm & 3pm.

Illustrate a bear character workshops – runs on Sunday 23rd February at 12pm & 2pm.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Free Family Activities for World Wetlands Postponed

It was RAMSAR International World Wetlands Day last Sunday, February 2nd.

To celebrate, Dublin City Council was planning to run free family activities at North Bull Island UNESCO Biosphere , Sandymount Strand, Poppintree Park and Tolka Valley Park.

However, all Activities at North Bull Island UNESCO Biosphere, Sandymount Strand, Poppintree Park, Tolka Valley Park have been postponed until March 8th and 9th due to interests of public safety due and the high tides last weekend on coastal areas. The programme of free activities will now happen a when tides are low and subject to weather Dublin City Council hopes to host more interactive activities for families outdoors. The event on Sunday 9th March between 12 noon and 3 pm will invite you to join with BirdWatchIreland, CoastWatch Ireland, Irish Wildlife Trust and The Marine Experience to explore how wetlands work and the rich wildlife that they contain. Free activities will include, walks and talks on wetland birdlife , displays on wetlands, interactive touch pool with live sea creatures for kids, arts and crafts, looking for creepy crawlies living in wetlands and telescope viewing on the causeway at North Bull Island. On Saturday 8th March in Poppintree Park, Ballymun and Tolka Valley Park the children's nature charity OWLS will provide a guided walk for younger children with games and craft making.

Images of Flying Geese and Marram Grass

Monday, 27 January 2014

Dublin City Parks Questionnaire - Have Your Say!

Dublin City Council is currently developing its Dublin City Parks and Landscape Strategy. To have a say in its development, you are invited to complete the Dublin City Council Parks Questionnaire before 28th February 2014. 

You will be asked your opinion of public parks, access to them, what you do there, ideas for improvements, as well as your views on the quality and value of the parks provided by Dublin City Council. So, if you or your kids have any ideas, feedback etc on parks in Dublin, this should be of interest to you.

Please click here to complete the questionnaire. You may also pick up a copy at any Dublin City Council library, Local Area Offices, or in any of the main parks.

Image of a park

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Discover Theatre Workshops for 14-18 yr olds

Discover Theatre / Workshop: Introduction to Theatre

Draíocht is giving 14-18 year olds a chance to find out more about theatre through its
Discover Theatre / Workshops. Three workshops will provide a mixture of games, improvisation, voice works, technical theatre, working from scripts and production talks.

Sunday 26 Jan (12pm-2pm) is the "Introduction to Theatre Workshop " with Eimear Morrisey (costs €2)

Sunday 23 Feb (12pm-1pm) is the "Production Talk: Costume and Set Design Workshop" (free)

Sunday 30 Mar (12pm-2pm ) "Introduction to Physical Theatre Workshop" (€2)

Booking through Draíocht’s Box Office on 01-885 2622. Limited availability.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Dublin Chinese New Year

One of Dublin’s biggest annual festivals, the Chinese New Year Festival runs from 31st January – 14th February, 2014. 2014 sees the celebration of the year of the horse. There is a great selection of history, music, dance and cuisine events at various venues around the city, many of which are free, so something for everyone - see

There is a special Children’s Programme which your munchkins might like. Dublin City Libraries is running some nice events. Dublin’s finest storytellers and school children will be invited to listen and share Irish and Chinese stories. It is also running arts and crafts workshops. For teenagers the Chester Beatty Library is running a Creative Lab for Teens. Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane will hold workshops with a ‘Horse’ theme of calligraphy, ink drawing and family sketching.

The munchkins should also like the highlight of the Festival, the Chinese New Year Carnival, which will be held at Temple Bar Meeting House Square on Sunday, 2nd February from 12 noon – 5pm. Chinese performances with dragon and lion dances, Tai Chi and martial arts displays, special musical and dance entertainment performing traditional and contemporary Chinese and Irish music and acts are planned.

For full information and brochure on these and many more events during the Festival please log onto

Monday, 20 January 2014

READ The Powers

READ The Powers is the Citywide Reading project for children. The Powers: The Not-so-super Superheroes is written by Kevin Stevens with illustrations by Sheena Dempsey. The aim of the initiative is to encourage as many children as possible to read the book during the 3 month campaign and to engage with the story by visiting the dedicated website Children will get the chance to attend free events in their local library. Keep an eye on the website, details of events will be available over the next few weeks.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Vote for the next children’s laureate - Laureate na nÓg

The nomination process for Ireland’s next children’s laureate is now open. Laureate na nÓg, an iniatiative of The Arts Council, is an honorary title conferred on an established and dynamic children’s author or illustrator for a period of two years.

The next Laureate will be following in the footsteps of the inaugural Laureate na nÓg, Siobhán Parkinson, and the incumbent, Niamh Sharkey. The past and current Laureates have acted as ambassadors in countries including the US, Sweden, Austria and Italy. For example Pictiúr, an exhibition of Irish children’s illustration, has been seen by 25,000 people in 4 countries. And at home Ireland’s Laureates have campaigned for libraries and to secure access to books for all babies born in Ireland, amongst many other activities. 

And now it’s time for Ireland to choose its third Laureate na nÓg. For the first time, people of all ages have the opportunity to help decide which Irish author or illustrator they would like to see so honoured. Nomination forms are available here. Nominations should be submitted by February 15th 2014. Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of The Arts Council, with the support of The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland, Poetry Ireland and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Tiny Tot Workshop at the National Gallery

The National Gallery is running a Tiny Tots workship at 2pm called Jack Frost nipping at your nose, for the under-3’s and their grown-ups tomorrow at 2pm. Kids can have fun exploring colours, shapes and sounds with storytelling and art. The programme is free and lasts 35 minutes. Suitable for children from walking to under the age of 5. It involves activities for adults and children working together under the guidance of a qualified tutor. Children should be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times Workshop runs every thirs Friday and Saturday of the month. 

Discovering art!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Back To School, How Bright Are You?

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in conjunction with the RSA , Dublin Fire Brigade, An Garda Síochana and the HSE Ambulance Service is holding an open day in Dun Laoghaire Fire Station, Kill Avenue, to raise awareness of road safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Thursday 16th January 2.30pm to 4pm. The event will see free give-aways to children including Hi Visibility Vests, Goodies and Bike Safety Lights.

This event is aimed specifically at local school children and is designed to increase road user safety awareness post Christmas and into the New Year.

Children will be shown around emergency service response vehicles by members of Dublin Fire Brigade, An Garda Síochana and the HSE Ambulance Service and given safety information on the day.

This is a free event and all members of the public are welcome.

For more information on road safety please visit , and

For further info on the event itself, contact Felicity Gill Road Safety Educational Officer Tel: 2054700 Ext. 4630 or email

Monday, 13 January 2014

Art Workshops for Children at the National Botanic Gardens

This Saturday the 18th January, the National Botanic Gardens are hosting Art workshops for children.

Younger kids can join the 'budding' artists, a creative workshop especially for younger children taking place once a month, under the eye of artist Niamh Synnott. Children are encouraged to take a closer look at the natural world all around them to inspire fun art-making activities. Suitable for 4 to 7 year olds. Time: 11.00am – 12.30pm, meet at the visitor centre. Cost: €10, booking essential.

On the same day older kids can join the Hardy Annuals art programme. Participants in this art programme will be encouraged to use materials in fun and interesting ways while taking inspiration from the world of plants on show at Glasnevin. Suitable for 8 to 12 year olds. Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm, meet at the visitor centre. Cost: €10, booking essential.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Gruffalo Double Bill

A double bill of two much loved children’s stories written by Julia Donaldson, "The Gruffalo" and "The Gruffalo's Child" will be shown in the Mermaid Arts Centre at 2pm on the 25th January. Tickets cost €5.

The Gruffalo is the story of a mouse who explores a dark wood. He meets three creatures who want to eat him for supper. To scare them away he describes a creature called the Gruffalo, but what will happen when he meets the Gruffalo himself? In The Gruffalo’s Child, the Gruffalo is living in a cave with his daughter. He warns her not to wander too far into the forest. But one night she explores the forest and meets Snake, Owl and Fox. Then Big Bad Mouse appears. What’s she going to do?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Top Ten Tour

Today at the National Museum of Archaeology (3.30-4.30pm) there is a public tour suitable for all ages. You can explore 7,000 years of Irish history through its top ten artefacts, including a gold lunula, the ’Tara’ Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice! There is a 2 euro fee at the Museum shop, but 16 yrs or under go free. No booking required. Wheelchair accessible.

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Lambert Puppet Theatre

The Lambert Puppet Theatre in Monkstown was established in 1972 by Eugene Lambert and his wife Mai. It has been a firm favourite amongst Dublin kids since then.

At the moment is is showing Cinderella (11 Jan, 12 Jan, 18 Jan, 19 Jan, 25 Jan, 26 Jan at 3.30pm) and next month is will show Hansel and Gretel

On the ground floor is a foyer/ coffee shop which houses a Puppet Shop. Upstairs, the building houses Ireland’s only museum of puppetry, a small studio space suitable for rehearsals and small scale productions and a party room, which accommodates up-to three children’s parties at any one time or a larger corporate group.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Re-enactment of Napoleonic anyone?

On Saturday 11th January, you can drop in (no booking necessary) to see the Drill Sergeant instruct new ‘recruits’ in Clarke Square at Collins Barracks. From 10am-12pm you can watch the re-enactment of foot and arms drills of His Majesty’s 86th (Leinster) Regiment of Foot, dressed in the iconic red coats and armed with Brown Bess flintlock muskets in a historical re-enactment, suitable for all ages, of the Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815.

Clarke Square Collins Barracks

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Chester Beatty Library

The Chester Beatty Library is in the grounds of Dublin Castle. It has collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. It is definitely worth a visit - and it is free admission.

You can just go along and explore the exhibitions in the library or get your hands on the specially designed family friendly activities for under 3's, 5+ and 8+. These include, puzzles, crosswords and a colouring book. Drawing Packs for Adults and Teens are also available for adults and teens with a number of simple exercises ranging from the use of line, colour, decoration, perspective and shading. Packs are available the first weekend of each month on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 4pm and are free of charge unless stated otherwise. 

Just outside the library is the Dubhlinn Gardens which kids will love to run around, play hide and seek in and follow the shapes of the snakes in the grass - I think they are snakes!!

The library also runs great free events for kids and teenagers through its Creative Lab for Teens aged 12-17 and its Silk Worm Club Events for Children for kids aged 6-11. They are really popular and book up very quickly. There are limited places available for the Chester Beatty's Creative Lab for Teens 2014 on Saturday 25th January from 2-5pm. The workshop is called Funky Stitching: Glitch n'Stitch your own design inspired by Costumes Parisiens with Andrew Healy. There are also limited places available for the Creative Lab for Teens on Saturday 15 February 2-5pm on Chinese Painting - join Dutch-Chinese artist Hoi-Shan Mak and create your own painting. The Creative Labs for Teens in March and April are booked out already.  The Silk Worm Club Events for Children are all booked out.

If you all this art exhausts you and you are in need of a snack, the on site Silk Road Cafe is a lovely pit stop.

Treasures of the Chester Beatty Library

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Family Film at Rua Red

The monthly Family Film in Rua Red this month is Despicable Me 2.  It will be shown on Saturday 11th January at 12 noon.  It is the sequel to Despicable Me and is about a character named Gru who is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Pictiúr Family Day at IMMA

Pictiúr Family Day takes place this Saturday 11 January from 11am – 3pm at IMMA.    

Enjoy picture books and open up the world of literature and visual arts. If you pop in you can attend the second last day of the Pictiúr exhibition of children’s book illustrations by 21 of Ireland’s leading illustrators.  

The exhibition curator and current Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey will be collaborating with families to illustrate panels and add them to a large scale sculptural pod or den. Niamh will also invite families to contribute to a large scale monster doodle!

Artist Felicity Clear will be asking you to create your own imagined animals to a museum of ‘cryptic’ creatures.

You can find out how an illustrator makes digital images. Join illustrator Chris Judge to find out and to make your own.

You can add your illustrations to the newly published book ‘My Summer Snowman’ written by Chester Travis. This is part of a series of books devised by Curved House Kids, which aim to support children’s language and visual literacy with two picture books, one with a story that kids can illustrate and the other with illustrations that children write the story for.

This event is free and is drop-in.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Book and Secret of Kells

Dublin is renowned for its literary tradition, dating back over a thousand years when monks would transcribe the bible into beautiful manuscripts. The best surviving example of which is the Book of Kells, dating from 800 AD and it is on show at Trinity College, which has been voted the no 2 top attraction in Ireland to visit on TripAdvisor's list of Ireland's Top 10 Attractions for 2013, and has also been awarded a TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Award.

Kids under 12 can visit the Book of Kells for free and there is a family ticket for €18 which would be great if you have older kids as it covers 2 adults and 4 children. 

To get your little ones interested beforehand you could look up some free online colouring pages for them to do.   Trinity Library has designed sets of worksheets which can be downloaded from its website used during and after a tour by students or young kids. These give some background text to the exhibition and pose related questions. Similarly, teachers’ guides provide some ideas for preparation prior to a class visit and some further resources. These could be useful to set the scene and get the kids interested. 

Nominated for an Academy Award in 2010 (Best Animated Feature), The Secret of Kells is a vibrant animation that retells of the origin the Book of Kells. It could also provide some inspiration before a visit.  It will be screened at The Ark on the 11th January at 3pm.  An exhibition of limited edition art prints of scenes from The Secret of Kells will also be on at The Ark from 11-26 January.  

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Temple Bar Trad Fest Family Programme

The Temple Bar TradFest takes place every year in the heart of Temple Bar over 5 days and 5 nights with over 200 events. This year the Temple Bar TradFest takes place from 22nd-26th January and it has a jam packed programme of family events which look fab.  

Banjo workshops, ceili workshops, music and dance shows, clayotic workshops, petting farm, gaelic games, face painters, family music workshops, films, street performers, craft club, children's open trad session, early years trad music concert, the urban street farm and more. 

The Ark is the Family Hub for Temple Bar TradFest. Events include the first ever Trad Session especially for ages 2-4, energetic family concerts from FullSet and World class Irish singer Karan Casey with celebrated musician Niall Vallely. There is also have a very special family workshop for ages 7+ with the Battle of the  Bodhráns and a whole host of fantastic free drop-in activities including Children's Open Trad Sessions and the popular Crafts Club.

The Kilfenora Ceili band performing in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin as part of the Temple Bar TradFest on Sunday, 31 January 2010.

Photography by Brendan Duffy.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Spring Festival Gala Performance

On Tuesday 28th January at 7.30pm, the Spring Festival Gala Performance will take place in the National Concert Hall.
Prices a snip at €5.  The Chinese Liaoning Art Performance Troupe will perform Chinese acrobatics, magic, Chinese traditional instruments, Chinese Traditional dance and martial arts. The performance celebrates the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and is organized by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland.

Spring Festival

Thursday, 2 January 2014


Arclight Theatre company are putting on their 11th annual panto in the Pavilion Theatre at the end of January. They will tell the tale of Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, so if you fancy a Flying Carpet, a Genie, and a Princess, then this tale of tyranny, treachery, temptation and triumph might be up your alley. All ages welcome. Runs on 21 Jan, 22 Jan, 23 Jan, 24 Jan, 25 Jan, 26 Jan.

photo of Aladdin

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

January Events

Here is a list of the family friendly and kiddie oriented events that I have heard of taking place this month.  

(updated 30th January)

Wed 1st Jan

* Red Riding Hood, Civic Theatre (6.30pm)

New Years Family PartyThe National Wax Museum Plus (12pm-5pm)
Dun Laoghaire Christmas Festival 2013
Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
The Big Brunch, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar (from 11am)

Thurs 2nd Jan

* Red Riding Hood, Civic Theatre (7.30pm)
Trouble in the Kingdom of Enchantasia, Mill Theatre (2.30pm)
Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
* Moon Man, IFI (1pm)

Fri 3rd Jan

* Trouble in the Kingdom of Enchantasia, Mill Theatre (2.30pm)

* Red Riding Hood, Civic Theatre (7.30pm)
Christmas Wonderland in the RDS

Sat 4th Jan

* Trouble in the Kingdom of Enchantasia, Mill Theatre (2.30pm)

* Red Riding Hood, Civic Theatre (2.30pm and 6.30pm)
* Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
* Family Programme - 'Sparkling Snowflakes' with Louise Neiland, National Gallery (3-4pm)
* Artefact Detective! for ages 6 plus, National Museum of Archaeology, Kildare Street (2.30-3.30pm)

Sun 5th Jan

* Trouble in the Kingdom of Enchantasia, Mill Theatre (2.30pm)
* Red Riding Hood, Civic Theatre (2.30pm and 6.30pm)
* Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
* The Armagh Rhymers: The Mummer’s Play, Performance - All Ages, Collins Barracks (Decorative Arts & History)
(3pm - 4pm)

Saturday 11th January

*Pictiúr Family Day, IMMA (11am – 3pm)
Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
* Silk Worm Club for 6-11 year olds “Drawstring Bag: be inspired by Costumes Parisiens and create your own bag”, Chester Beatty Library (2-3.30pm) 

* Dublin Youth Orchestra's Annual Concert, National Concert Hall (8pm)
* Family Film in Rua Red - Despicable Me 2 (12 noon) 
* Public Tour: The Top Ten! - suitable for all ages, National Museum of Archaeology, Kildare Street (3.30-4.30pm)
* Re-enactment: Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815 - suitable for all ages, Collins Barracks (Decorative Arts & History) (10am-12pm)

* Screening of The Secret of Kells, The Ark (3pm) 
* Monthly Family Film at Rua Red,  Despicable Me 2 (12 noon)
Cinderella, Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)

Sunday 12th January

Drop-in Activity “Explorer”, IMMA West Wing (2.00pm – 4.00pm)
Christmas Wonderland in the RDS
RHA Art Cart  in the RHA Atrium every Sunday (2.30-4.30pm)
Cinderella, Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)

Friday 17th January

* Tiny Tot WorkshopNational Gallery (2-2.45pm)

Saturday 18th January

* Teencreate Programme for 12-15 year olds, IMMA Studio 10 (2:00pm – 4.30pm)
* Family Programme - 'Create a Calendar' with Joe Coveney

National Gallery (3-4pm)

Tiny Tot WorkshopNational Gallery (2-2.45pm)
* Budding Artists – workshop for children aged 4-7, National Botanic Gardens (11am-12.30pm)
* Hardy Annuals– workshop for children aged 8-12, National Botanic Gardens (2pm-4pm)

* Moon Man, The Ark, Sat 18 Jan 2014 @ 3.00pm
* Family Tour: Winter Wonders, Natural History Museum (12pm--1pm & 2-3pm) 

Cinderella, Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)

Sunday 19th January

Drop-in Activity “Explorer”, IMMA West Wing (2.00pm – 4.00pm)
* Lambert Puppet Theatre presents Cinderella, Mermaid Arts Centre (2pm and 4pm) and at the Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)
RHA Art Cart  in the RHA Atrium every Sunday (2.30-4.30pm)
* My Museum: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword! - workshop for 8-12 year olds, National Museum of Archaeology, Kildare Street (3-4pm)
* Hands on History, drop in activity for all ages, Collins Barracks (Decorative Arts & History) (3-4pm)

Monday 20th January

* Baby Workshop, National Gallery (2pm)

Tuesday 21st January

Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (7.30pm)

Wednesday 22nd January

Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (7.30pm)

* Temple Bar Trad Fest

Thursday 23rd January

Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (7.30pm)

* Temple Bar Trad Fest

Friday 24th January

Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (7.30pm)

* Temple Bar Trad Fest

Saturday 25th January

* Studio 8 Programme for 15-18 year olds, IMMA Studio 10
* Family Programme - 'Happy Birthday National Gallery!' with Sarah Edmondson, National Gallery (3-4pm)
* Chester Beatty's Creative Lab for Teens aged 12-17 years - Funky Stitching. Glitch n'Stitch your own design inspired by Costumes Parisiens with Andrew Healy, Chester Beatty Library (2-5pm)

* Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child, Mermaid Arts Centre (2pm) 
Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (2.30pm and 7.30pm)
Public Tour: Pieces of Power - tour for ages 14 plus, National Museum of Archaeology, Kildare Street (3-4pm)
* Temple Bar Trad Fest
Cinderella, Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)

Sunday 26th January

Drop-in Activity “Explorer”, IMMA West Wing (2.00pm – 4.00pm)

RHA Art Cart  in the RHA Atrium every Sunday (2.30-4.30pm)
Aladdin, The Pavilion Theatre (2.30pm)
* Temple Bar Trad Fest
Cinderella, Lambert Puppet Theatre (3.30pm)
Introduction to Theatre Workshop with Eimear Morrisey suitable for 14-18 year olds, Draiocht (12pm-2pm) 
Clann agus Cairde, Seamus Ennis Centre (3pm)

Tuesday 28th January

* Spring Festival Gala Performance, National Concert Hall (7.30pm)

Friday 31st January

* Dublin Chinese New Year Festival

The Big Brunch

Starting at 11am today and going on until dark, The Big Brunch in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar,  is a family-friendly way to start the New Year, with a special children’s creative area, as well as face painting, balloon modelling, puppet and magic shows.

Browse and brunch at the market stalls, enjoy an encore performance from Irish language act Seo Linn, then channel The Great Gatsby as vintage tea dancers take to the stage performing the Charleston, two-step and more. In the late afternoon, the tone will change to full-on trad with an afternoon céilí. If you are going to make a new year's resolution you can tie it to the special Resolution Tree.