The area to the north of Scotland's Grampian mountains has a particularly favourable climate for cultivating barley - it gets plenty of sunshine and little rainfall - and this has spawned a thriving whisky industry, with more than 50 distilleries churning out the country's national drink. The 1999 Spirit of Whisky Festival is not only your chance to sample some of the produce in a four-day programme of tastings, but also to learn more about its creation and history from assembled experts. And if any member of your party is teetotal, there are plenty of other diversions on offer, such as cask-building, cookery demonstrations, a concert, a ceilidh and a tour of a cashmere mill.
Various locations in (01343 550044) from Friday until 19 April
Although Thailand has long since adopted the Western practice of celebrating New Year on 1 January, the three-day festival of Songkran - a Sanskrit word meaning the beginning of the new solar year - is still celebrated. Songkran has its roots in the religious ritual bathing of family elders and images of Buddha, though this has degenerated down the years into an excuse for huge water fights - no doubt partly prompted by this being the hottest season of the year. While you're dodging buckets of water, look out for stray birds and fish: another custom is releasing these back into the wild after buying them at market.
Various locations in Thailand (00 66 77 281 828 288 8179) from Tuesday until Thursday
Bernardo Bertolucci, Fiona Shaw, Neil Jordan, Ian McKellen - these are just some of the luminaries lined up to make an appearance at the 14th Dublin Film Festival. Topped and tailed by the world premieres of two Irish films - Cathal Black's Love and Rage, starring Greta Scacchi, and Deborah Warner's The Last September, starring Fiona Shaw and Michael Gambon - this year's festival is made up of five strands: Cinema Ireland, First Film Europe, Spirit of America, Europe in Focus: Spain and a documentary programme. There will also be seminars, a writing/directing masterclass with Mike Figgis and a special section devoted to images of disability on film.
Various venues (00 353 1 679 2937) from Thursday until 25 April
Cuba - Los mapas del deseo ("maps of desire") aims to provide a unique insight into this often misunderstood country by contrasting the viewpoints of and the subjects chosen by a variety of artists. Through the exploration of their experiences of homosexuality, emigration, spirituality and feminism in relation to Cuba, the artists create a complex but revealing chronicle.
Kunsthalle Wien, Museumsquartier, Vienna (00 43 1521 8933) until 30 May, 60 schillingsReuse content