Category Archives: Events in Europe

There are lots of interesting events in Europe on a variety of themes from sport to ceremonies to food, wine and music. We’ve written about some of these European events to give you a flavour of their diversity.

Perth Riverside Light Nights: Chinese New Year

Perth Riverside Light Nights are part of the Perth Winter Festival in Scotland. Entry is free.

There are various themes during Perth Light Nights. I visited during the Chinese New Year weekend. Other themes included a celebration of Burns (the Scottish poet), Superheroes and Valentine’s Day.

There is a light show every night from 5pm to every evening from late January to mid February.

Light Nights take place on the banks of the River Tay.

I really enjoyed the Perth Riverside Light Nights show. There was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. The only downside was the biting northerly wind. Despite wearing double trousers and jackets, I was just warm enough.

Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition 2018

The Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh runs until 6 June 2018.

There’s an admission charge of £6 for adults (£4 for concessionary tickets). This price includes a catalogue. However, you can get free entry on Mondays, but you have to pay £3 if you wish to have a catalogue.

Below are some of my favourite pieces from the RSA Annual Exhibition 2018.

I really enjoyed the RSA Annual Exhibition 2018.

Bird-land by Simon Ward at Patriothall Edinburgh

Simon Ward’s Bird-land ceramics exhibition runs until 20 May 2018 at the Patriothall Gallery in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh. Opening times are Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5pm.

I was looking forward to seeing this exhibition, as I recently completed a ceramics course at the Stirling campus of Forth Valley College. I wasn’t disappointed. I loved Simon’s work.

Edinburgh Lumen

You’d better move fast if you want to see the Edinburgh Lumen display, as it only runs until tomorrow, Sunday 11 March 2018. There is no entry fee.

There are three light installations around Edinburgh city centre. But I only had time to visit two, as I wanted to catch the last train back home to Stirling before the start of the dreaded evening bus replacement service.

The Ocean Of Light on the Mound was beautiful. It is nine metres square, consisting of 12,000 suspended light bulbs and you can walk through it.

The displays start at 5pm and end at 10.30pm.

I’d recommend that you visit after 6.30pm, once it’s dark. I walked past the Ocean of Light around 5.20pm, on my way to the Drawing Room at the RSA. As you can see from the photos below, the display didn’t looked great in the daylight.

The other installation which I saw was Serenity Gardens in St Andrew Square.

Street of Light Edinburgh

The Street of Light performance in George Street in Edinburgh runs every evening at 6pm and 8pm until 24 December 2016.


The event is free to attend, but you need to book tickets in advance. Even if you don’t get a ticket you can see the show from the pavement on either side.

Street of Light Edinburgh

For some reason, I thought that there was live music from a choir at the Street of Light. But it’s a playback of recorded music.


You need to wear warm clothing as George Street can be a bit of a wind tunnel. I had on double trousers, a jacket with fleece lining, gloves and an insulated hat with my hood up and I was just warm enough.


There are also some pretty light projections on buildings on George Street.




‘The Nether’ is One of the Best Plays I’ve Seen

When I was in London last week, I went to see  ‘The Nether‘ at the Duke of York’s theatre in St Martin’s Lane. I paid £11, including all fees and credit card payment charges, for a third price ticket with restricted view, booked on the website.

The Nether ticket

Now the issue with my seat, in the front row of the Upper Circle, wasn’t the restricted view, which was easily remedied by leaning forward, but the restricted leg and foot room.

That discomfort was soon forgotten when the performance started, This is an amazing, gripping, chilling portrayal of virtual reality in 2050, which allows you to act out your desires with (supposedly) no consequences.

the nether1

Now with some plays, you could argue that a TV or movie production might be superior to being limited to a stage. However, with ‘The Nether’ the 3D dreamy sets give an eerie fairytale-like feel to the grotesque tale.

the nether3

I’d recommend that you go to see ‘The Nether’ as its run at the Duke of Yorks is due to finish on 25 April 2015.

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Why You Should Spend New Year’s Eve in Dublin, Ireland

There’s plenty going on for Dublin New Year’s Eve. NYF Dublin is a three day festival running from 30 December 2014 to 1 January 2015.

The Procession of Light starts at Dublin Castle at 6.30pm on 31 January.

procession of light

It then winds its way through Temple Bar with the finale at St Stephen’s Green.


Dublin based rock band Kodaline and Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow are the headline acts at the Countdown Concert at College Green on 31 December.


Kodaline by Mary

The NYF Music Trail features gigs such as La Galaxie at Meeting House Square and Dublin Gospel Choir at Christ Church, as well as Pop Up Live Music sessions at various venues.

If you’re feeling peckish, there’s the NYF Food Village at Dublin Castle.

Several of Dublin’s landmarks, including Trinity College and the Sir John Grey Statue, will act as screens for 3D light projections, during the Luminosity event.


The NYF Art Trail offers talks, guided tours and showcases the work of both new and established artists, at venues including the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Green on Red Gallery.

Irish museum of modern art

Irish Museum of Modern Art by William Murphy

You can get special NYF discounts for the attractions along the recently launched Dublin Discovery Trails. You can choose between self guided walking tours, such as ‘The Story of Dublin’ and ‘Rebellion’, which is about the 1916 Easter Uprising (the General Post Office building pictured below was the HQ for the leaders of the Uprising).

Main post office Dublin

On 1 January 2015, you can join in Resolution Day activities. There’s a Fun Run starting from Dublin Castle at 12 noon and exercise classes in parks around the city.

The Borders Book Festival in Melrose

The Borders Book Festival was held in the Harmony Gardens in Melrose from the 12 – 15 June 2014. It was free to enter, but you did have to pay for most of the talks and presentations, with adult tickets costing an average of  £10 – £14.

borders book festival sign

We had a look around the Festival before going for a walk along the River Tweed. The backdrop of Melrose Abbey afforded a unique setting.

borders book festival

Andy Stanton, author of the ‘Mr Gum’ series, was signing his books.

borders book festival andy stanton

There was a good selection of children’s books, including the Scottish favourite ‘Oor Wullie’, a comic strip character from the Sunday Post, who’s usually portrayed sitting on an upside down bucket.

borders book festival book selection

There was some free kid’s entertainment. Free WiFi was advertised, but I didn’t try it.

borders book festival kids entertainment

The beer tent wasn’t doing much trade, but it was before 1pm.

borders book festival beer tent

The portaloos at the Borders Book Festival were the poshest I’ve ever seen.

borders book festival portaloos

WW1 Events in Ireland

With the centenary of the First World War approaching, the nations that fought in the war are commemorating the event in different ways, from special museum exhibits, new monuments and services of commemoration. Although the Republic of Ireland didn’t exist at the time, many Irish soldiers fought in the British army during the conflict. Around 200,000 Irishmen fought in the conflict, with over 30,000 casualties.

Irish WW1 Recruitment Poster

Irish WW1 Recruitment Poster

Events commemorating the nation’s involvement in WW1 include a centenary commemorative event at the Athy Heritage Centre, with special exhibits of wartime artefacts, contemporary film, lectures on local involvement in the war and a living history display. In Dublin, the Dublin City Archives, together with the Dublin and Irish Collections, are staging a large exhibition of letters and postcards from the Great War. These events will focus in particular on the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, which took part in some of war’s fiercest battles.

Irish War Memorial Gardens

Irish National War Memorial Gardens

Another Dublin event will be the unveiling of a “Cross of Sacrifice” at Glasnevin Cemetery. Erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the cross will be an addition to the cemetery’s existing memorial walls, which honour the Irish soldiers who died in the Great War. The unveiling of the Cross will take place on July 31st with both Irish and British representatives participating.

The main events will be in Dublin, only a short ferry journey from Britain, either direct or via Dun Laoghaire, making this an ideal opportunity to learn about a different side of First World War history, while staying within easy reach of home. Travelling by ship is a good way to relax, offering competitive prices for the trip to Ireland, either as a foot passenger or taking over your own car.

For many Irish people, and Dubliners in particular, the war years are associated not only with the European conflict but with Ireland’s struggle for independence from Britain. The Easter Rising of 1916 was a short-lived revolt against British rule that has become a symbol of Irish national history. The Georgian General Post Office Building in O’Connell Street was the centre of the fighting, and is now a must-see for history lovers visiting Dublin.


General Post Office Building in O’Connell Street Dublin

Compared to other countries, Ireland’s commemorations of the Great War will be fairly low-key. Ireland was not a scene of fighting, and some ambivalence remains about the nation’s role in the conflict. However, Ireland’s wartime history is no less interesting for being little-known, and the new centenary exhibits and events will give viewers the chance to see the period from a new perspective.

Perth Chocolate Festival 22-24 November 2013

The Perth Chocolate Festival was held from 22-24 November 2013. I headed to Perth, in central Scotland, on Sunday 24 to attend the interactive talks and workshops and have a browse at the Chocolate Market.

perth chocolate festival chocolate fountain
Chocolate Fountain at the Perth Chocolate Festival

perth chocoate festival lush spa

Lush Spa chocolate facial at Perth Chocolate Festival

perth chocolate festival iain burnett

A selection from Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier, at Perth Chocolate Festival

perth chocolate festival sign

Stalls at the Perth Chocolate Festival

perth chocolate festival cupcakes

Cupcakes at the Perth Chocolate Festival

perth chocoate festival