Old Masters And New Stars At Heart Of Weekend 2009: Romance Precedence

Old masters and new stars at heart of weekend

Romance may take precedence this weekend but there are plenty of other activities going on around the country over the coming days for star-crossed
lovers and singletons alike. Restaurants are set to do a roaring trade this evening as couples celebrate St Valentine’s Day but the night will also see a bevy of stars hitting the town for the 6th annual Irish Film and Television Awards (Ifta) which take place at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin. Among the 900 guests expected to attend the ceremony Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Brendan Gleeson, Saoirse Ronan and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The event, which is it to be hosted by Ryan Tubridy will see veteran documentary maker George Morrison, the pioneering director of Mise Éire , presented with an industry lifetime contribution award by President Mary McAleese. Hunger , the harrowing feature film which focuses on the 1981 hunger strikers, has been shortlisted for eight awards while the TV series The Tudors has received multiple nominations for the second year running. Coinciding with the awards, the 7th Dublin Film Festival, which began last night and continues over the weekend.
Those of a romantic nature will be encouraged to share the love tomorrow by supporting Irish charity Love SHACK (Love for Sick Homeless and Abandoned Children in Kenya), which will be parking its ‘love emergency’ ambulance on Grafton Street in Dublin. The charity is asking people to consider forgetting about buying flowers and chocolates for their loved ones and instead donate the money to help it realise its aim of building a school for destitute children in Nairobi. The organisation is holding its second official flag day tomorrow where volunteers will be joined by Glória, Ireland’s lesbian and gay choir, who plan on serenading the members of the public with love songs. Elsewhere, three world-renowned paintings by Dutch 17th-century masters, Vermeer, Fabritius and De Hooch, go on view today in the Beit Wing of the National Gallery of Ireland. The Goldfinch (1654) by Carel Fabritius, The Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658) by Pieter de Hooch, and Woman Writing a Letter with Her Maid (c.1670) by Johannes Vermeer were all produced at the height of artistic prosperity in the Dutch city of Delft. Entrance to the exhibition is free. Met Éireann is forecasting a mild weekend with settled weather which will last into the early days of next week.

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