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4 events for... culture vultures looking to do January with a difference
Great arts events coming up around the country.

WITH THE EXCESSES of Christmas firmly behind us, many have vowed to take it easy for the month of January. No booze, no cheeseboards, no languishing on the couch in front of darts for hours on end.

And what better way to take it easy than engaging with some culture? Here are some arts events taking place across the country over the coming weeks.

First Fortnight

When: January 2018

Where: Various locations around the country

First Fortnight, Ireland’s mental health arts festival, is back and better than ever. This year’s programme is especially ambitious with events taking place across the country. There are film screenings, plays, gigs, spoken word events, art exhibitions, and much more besides.

“This year we really want people who have taken part before to come again and bring someone who has never been to a First Fortnight event before with them,” says organiser JP Swaine. “With events happening in 17 counties and prices being kept to a minimum everyone can be part of the experience.”

Each festival that passes seems to encourage a new crop of artists to work creatively in response to mental health as an issue in Irish society and it has been hugely encouraging to meet with artists who have been developing their work with the expressed purpose of contributing to the First Fortnight.

One of Swaine’s personal highlights is Lunatic There I Go, a play based on Hanna Greally’s book Bird’s Nest Soup, which recounts the author’s time spent incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital in Mullingar for the better part of two decades.

Find out more about this year’s programme here.

Good Morning Mister Turner

When: January 1st – 31st

Where: National Gallery of Ireland, Clare Street, Dublin 2

Every January, the National Gallery of Ireland exhibits a number of JMW Turner’s dreamy watercolours. The gallery has 31 in its collection and only puts them on display in January as that is when the natural light is at its weakest and therefore least likely to cause damage to the paintings.

This year’s exhibition will be accompanied by drawings by Kerry-based printmaker Niall Naessens. Don’t let another year pass you by without stealing a glimpse of these masterworks.

Boogie Nights 35mm

When: January 4th & 6th

Where: Light House Cinema, Dublin

Ahead of the release of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Dublin’s Light House Cinema are presenting a PTA retrospective and will be showing films from his back catalogue on 35mm over the coming weeks.

First up is Boogie Nights, a delightfully sleazy romp tracking the highs and lows of porn star Dirk Diggler. Rollerblades, dodgy moustaches, baby-faced Mark Wahlberg – what more could you want from a film?

Unexpected Poetry: Chase The January Blues Away

When: January 11th, 8pm (Free)

Where: Dunamaise Arts Centre, Laois

Dreading the onset of Janxiety? Allow spoken word artist Stephen James Smith to soothe your soul. As part of First Fortnight, Smith has enlisted poets Richard Brennan and Tony Walsh as well as Laois-based trad group cua for a very special night of dazzling performances. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance.

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