03 May 2005
The Film: Kingdom of Heaven
'Kingdom of Heaven' is the latest movie from Ridley Scott. It's set during the Crusades, and tells the story of Balian, played by Orlando Bloom, a blacksmith, who ends up defending Jerusalem against the massed armies of Saladin. So how can that happen? Even in a movie? Well, a famous warrior - Liam Neeson - returns from the Holy Land and tells the blacksmith that he is his long lost father. Not only that, he tells him to come and protect the King of Jerusalem against those on both sides who would destroy the elusive dream of East and West living together in peace. The blacksmith, having nothing better to do, follows his father, becomes a knight and his adventures begin. 'Kingdom of Heaven' opens nationwide on Friday.

The Play: What Happened Bridgie Cleary?
In 1895, a young Co Tipperary woman was set alight by her husband Michael Cleary, who believed her to be a witch. Michael watched, with others, as she burned to death - all the time waiting for the evil fairy which had taken control of her to leave her body. They believed that only then would she return to her normal self. Tom McIntyre's 'What Happened Bridgie Cleary?' takes us to the afterlife, where Bridgie is finally reunited with that husband - a man tormented by guilt over the death of the woman he loved. 'What Happened Bridgie Cleary' is at the Peacock until 4 June. It then goes to Galway, Longford, Cavan, Monaghan, Dundalk, Bray and finishes up in Letterkenny on 9 July. Also in the autumn, look out for Bridgie's story as part of RTÉ's 'Hidden History' documentary series.

The Book: Utterly Monkey
Earlier this year Nick Laird, a young writer from Cookstown in County Tyrone, published his first book of poetry. And now comes his first novel 'Utterly Monkey' - the story of Danny, a young lawyer from Co Tyrone, living in London. He could be a million miles from the North but then one night, an old school friend, Geordie, arrives on Danny's doorstep - and brings the North with him. 'Utterly Monkey' is published by Fourth Estate at £10.99 sterling.

The Exhibition: Requiem
To coincide with the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916, an exhibition of new work by Dublin artist Eoin MacLochlainn is on display at Kilmainham Gaol. MacLochlainn's family history is closely linked to the gaol. His father was the first keeper of the museum, and Padraig Pearse himself was a family relative. The work is exhibited in 24 of the gaol cells and designed to be seen only through the spyholes. 'Requiem' continues at Kilmainham Gaol until the end of June.

The Performance: Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy
Cork 2005 presents the World Premiere of 'Daughters of Albion' on Friday 6 May, at the Cork Opera House. It's an event which brings together a collection of English singers, musicians and interpreters of traditional song performing everything from ancient ballads to contemporary music. Here, with Tim Van Eiken on melodeon, are Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy.

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