Weekend Q&A: Props designer Dylan McCaughtry on Culture Night, Ogham Grove - and that Derry Girls blackboard...

Dylan McCaughtry (31) works in props in TV and is a member of the creative team behind Ogham Grove, an installation in Writer's Square in Belfast which is headlining Culture Night, which takes place next weekend

Dylan McCaughtry, part of the Culture Night creative team behind The Ogham Grove at Writer’s Square from Friday September 17 to Sunday September 19. Picture by Francine Montgomery/Excalibur Press
Jane Hardy

How do you unwind at the weekend?

There hasn't been much chance to unwind while working on the Grove. But I quite enjoy the creative process and think it's going to be spectacular. Today I've had a delivery of wood. It's been a tight turnaround as our proposal was only accepted two months ago. It's all quite metaphorical, based on an ancient druid, pagan-y alphabet. The tall structures are like the tree of life and it's somewhere you can go to lose yourself but there's a treasure hunt and an audio-visual display too. To relax, I play with the Belfast Ukulele Jam, doing all sorts of '50s and '60s numbers – we're doing a Wednesday night residency at The Deer's Head. I am a great fan of the Kinks' numbers like Dedicated Follower of Fashion. I walk occasionally and like the urban experience of places like the Hilden Mill.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up on the Lisburn Road, Belfast. I don't want to advertise underage drinking but as a teenager, I'd hide away with friends and some cider down back alleys around Cranmore Park. My grandparents, Una and Campbell Morrison, have a couple of caravans on a plot of land up the North Coast. One is a 120-year-old gipsy caravan and we would sleep in that.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I'm more Saturday night. It's the 'going out' night when you gear up but still have Sunday to recover. My day job is in props and I am about to start the next series of Derry Girls so there are often six-day weeks. The strangest thing I had to produce was the iconic blackboard indicating the differences and similarities between Protestants and Catholics. Cue calls to all our team's family and friends – I thought the stuff was a bit made up, about whether you keep your toaster in the cupboard, until people started posting on social media.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show or podcast?

Not really. The only radio I listen to is Belfast 89FM for its '60s and '70s music. That's not from my parents – my mother's into '80s heavy metal and plastic rock, my dad likes electronic music.

Do you have a must-watch weekend TV programme or box set?

No. For someone who works in the industry, I don't really watch an awful lot.

Is Sunday still special?

Yeah, I would try to keep Sunday just for myself but there's also time to catch up with people or go to the market.

Favourite eatery or is it a takeaway?

My brand new fave restaurant is Frae in Holywood which opened a month ago and is run by an old friend, Shaun Tinman. It does delicious modern takes on standards like a grilled cheese sandwich with pickled courgettes. The takeaway is Kamakura on the Holywood Road for Japanese food like their sushi platter.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

This week I'm feeling a little stressed because Culture Night's about to happen. I am currently standing in our workshop surrounded by wooden pallets. But we're putting them to a creative use which is possibly nicer than setting them on fire.

The Ogham Grove, September 17-19, Writer's Square, 10am-10pm.

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