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22nd Jan 2020

A Banjo and Bovril festival takes place just outside Dublin this weekend

James Fenton

A banjo and Bovril festival. What more could you ask for when trying to think of things to do in Dublin this weekend?

Okay, The Harbour Bar is as much in Dublin as the Great Wall of China but it is only a swift DART journey away so we’ll allow it. We’ve spoken about the charms of the popular Bray pub before and you might know it from its annual Toastie Festival. If you’re not familiar with The Harbour though, this weekend seems like the perfect time to visit.

The venue will be hosting its sixth annual Banjo and Bovril Trad & Folk Festival which will feature, you’ve guessed it, a fair amount of banjo-playing as well as endless cups of steaming hot Bovril to get you through the last few days of January.

The event actually kicks off today (Wednesday) but continues every day until Sunday so you’ve got plenty of time to make your down to Bray and listen to some of the most fleet-fingered musicians this side of the Mississippi.

There will be a stellar line-up of acts from 9.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before festivities kick off at 2pm on Saturday and 2.30pm on Sunday, until late both nights.

If you’re planning on going on Saturday, be sure to catch the hugely-talented Robert John Ardiff and his backing band at 7pm in the Live Lounge. Robert’s profile has been rising steadily in the past couple of years and his song People Talking has already featured in U.S. TV series Modern Love which stars Anne Hathaway and Tina Fey. It’s also just passed one million listens on Spotify and you can check it out for yourself below.

If you can’t catch Robert at the Banjo & Bovril Festival, make sure to check him out at Lost Lane in Dublin on February 29.

The full line-up for this year’s Banjo and Bovril Festival can be viewed below…

Wednesday 22nd January

9.30pm Brand New Switcheroo (Bar)

Thursday 23rd January

10.00pm Junior Brother (The Live Lounge)
9.30pm Rake The Ashes (Bar)

Friday 24th January

11.00pm The Scratch (The Live Lounge)
10.00pm Hugh Cooney (The Live Lounge)
9.30pm Crooked Jack (Bar)

Saturday 25th January

11.00pm Bunoscionn (The Live Lounge)
9.30pm Seodín (Bar)
9.00pm Fanacanta (The Live Lounge)
7.00pm Robert John Ardiff (The Live Lounge)
6.00pm Alfi (Bar)
5.00pm Fintan McHugh (The Live Lounge)
3.00pm Mules & Men (The Live Lounge)
2.00pm Candlelit Tales (Upstairs)

Sunday 26th January

9.30pm Anna Mieke (The Live Lounge)
7.30pm John Francis Flynn (The Live Lounge)
5.30pm Aoife Nessa Frances (The Live Lounge)
4.30pm The Lonesome Boatmen (Bar)
3.30pm Sound of Sirens (The Live Lounge)
2.30pm Candlelit Tales (Upstairs)

things to do in Dublin this weekend

Aside from all those performances (which are all free btw), attendees will be treated to endless Bovril as well as plenty of cheese and crackers. What more could you want?

More information can be found on the Banjo and Bovril Festival Facebook page or via The Harbour Bar’s website here. It might not appear in many ‘what’s on in Dublin’ guides but you can guarantee there won’t be many better things to do in Dublin, or Wicklow, this weekend.