Tonight we own the night.

logoOk, so I might be stealing a line from The Wanted but this week’s blog really couldn’t be about anything else except Culture Night. You see tomorrow Friday 20th September is Culture Night in Ireland. To those of you unfamiliar with the concept it involves an evening (usually 6-10 pm or so) where the doors (and pavements) are thrown open and the person on the street (that’s you!) is welcomed in to enjoy, admire, listen, inhale and gently absorb the richness and the beauty that is our culture. From visual arts to historical tours, music, dance, literary recitations, speakers corners to family culture trails, this night really has it all. Whilst many events did require pre-booking (but were all free!) there is still plenty to be enjoyed right across the country. All the info you need is available on The lists are long and there are only a few hours. Decisions decisions.

To help, I have complied my own A-Z of events, merely to whet your appetite. The choices are entirely yours…

A Adam and Eve Church, Merchants Quay, Dublin. Tours @7 and 8 pm. Live music 6-8.30pm

The building is one thing, the Franciscans are another. Think music bouncing off the stunning ceilings, throw in a photographic exhibition and a guided tour.

adam and eve

B Black Church Print Studio, 4 Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Tour this contemporary fine art print studio located in an award winning building with live demos and cakes to eat! Discount on limited edition prints on the night.

C Christchurch Cathedral, Christchuch Place, Dublin 8. 5-10pm

Although I started out thinking that I should exclude venues that are otherwise available for easy visits this one still begged to be included. Not just for the tour of the building and the opportunity to admire the 19th century encaustic flooring (my pet subject!) but there is so much more happening to celebrate culture night. From a silent movie accompanied by an organist, story telling in the crypt to outdoors food stalls. Literally something for everyone.


D Dance Ireland, Dancehouse, Foley Street, Dublin 1. 6-8.30 pm

dance irelandNow I am not known for my dancing prowess but even I know that we could all get fit and have fun if we did more. Now is your chance to check out which of the 14 classes you might be tempted by: zumba, burlesque, ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, Irish dance, flamenco, nia, aerodance, reggaeton, Latin–American and ballroom. Chose to join in or just watch.

E is for Edenderry! Public Access Arts, Edenderry, 7 pm till late.

I’m not sure what you might have expected but since I am an Offaly girl I thought I would share what sounds like fantastic fun with you. It’s billed as “the biggest band in the smallest venue in Ireland”. 40 musicians in a live lounge with a mini rotating audience of just 4! They say loiterers are welcome to enjoy the music through the window. Only in Ireland!

F Freemasons Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. 5-10 pm with music from 6-7.30pm

This one falls into the “not easy access on other occasions” category. From the classic examples of the architectural orders on the façade to the varying architectural styles on the interior Chapter Rooms, this is a must see. Watch out for the Egyptian style in the Royal Arch Chapter room, Gothic and Tudor in the Princes Masons Room and Medieval in the Knights Templar Room.

freemasons hall

G Gutter Bookshop, Cows Lane, Dublin 8.5-10 pm. Book launch @7 pm

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars” This book shop takes its name from the above quote from Oscar Wilde. This culture night it will be welcoming Dublin man Sam Najjair to launch his book “Solider for a Summer” telling his tale of fighting against Gaddafi in war torn Libya.

gutter oscar wilde

H Heritage.

It’s what this night is about. More than 190 organisations, across 32 regions have been working for months to showcase Ireland’s unique cultural life for us.

I Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. 5-11 pm

Enjoy tours of what used to be Ireland’s largest terraced house, now home to the Irish Architectural Archive, an amazing source of information on Ireland’s buildings and those who designed them. The building has been beautifully restored. The smell of the books (that’s a good thing!) and the calmness of the atmosphere will linger with you long after you have left.

J James Joyce House, 15 Ushers Island, Dublin 8.  3 pm till late…

james joyce houseGo early, go late, the choice is yours. This one is where anything could happen. The setting for Joyces The Dead, you get to see the dining room in which the meal was set along with tea, songs and tours. This was voted last year’s number 1 venue. You might also want to check out Swenys Joycean Pharmacy at 1 Lincoln Place, Dublin 2 from 5-7 pm

K Book of Kells, Trinity College Dublin 5-10 pm

Again, this might seem obvious. The point is, if you have never seen it and the Long Room reading library you should. It forms part of the Family friendly trail with story telling every 30 minutes for kids between 6-8 pm. The Old Library is quite simply one of the grandest interiors in Ireland. Once you have visited you will never, ever forget it.


L is for limerick. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bridge Street, Limerick. 6-9.30 pm

limerick bellsLiving adjacent to St.Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin for few years I went from loathing to loving the sounds of the bells. St. Mary’s Cathedral with 30 bells ringers in total on its books, has bells and bell ringing on offer for culture night this year. You can see how they are rung and meet the people who ring them.

If you are in Dublin and travelling by Luas watch out for flamenco dancing at some red Luas line stops. (“Hop on and clap!”) and musical entertainment on the red lines trains. You can also experience a journey of musical performances and storytelling in motion on the Dublin Bus complimentary Culture Night buses.

M Mansion house, Dawson Street Dublin. half hourly tours from 5-9.30 pm

mansion houseUnless you are in politics or plan to be, then you don’t often get the opportunity to see inside the official residence of Dublin’s Lord Mayor. Formerly the home of Joshua Dawson, it was constructed in 1710 and has the distinction of being the oldest free-standing house in the city. For me the closest I have ever been is to sign a book of condolence outside or to visit the living crib at Christmas time!

N Na Píobairí Uileann. 15 Henrietta Street, Dublin 1. 6-11 pm

uileann pipesNot an obvious choice for me at all, this one, but I think it sounds intriguing. Henrietta Street, laid out by Luke Gardiner in 1729-30 is Dublin earliest Georgian Street. It set new standards in scale and ornament in domestic architecture in Ireland. For culture night you can get a guided tour of No 15 to include a visit to the library and archive whilst listening to the haunting sounds from leading Uilleann pipers.

O Outside of Dublin. Beyond the Pale.

However you wish to call it. It is with apologies that I have included most of my list from Dublin. Hands up, I’m biased. However if you are lucky enough to be anywhere near the beautiful part of Ireland that is West Cork then go along to The Pier, Castletownbere, Co Cork to the opening of the Melania Lynch Exhibition at the Sarah Walker Gallery. You can also absorb Tess Leak’s soundwork “Field Recordings for a Resurrection Machine”.

sarah walker gallery

P Palestrina choir at St.Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, 83 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1. 5-11 pm

A complete evening of entertainment starting with vespers with the choir at 5.15 pm followed by sung mass, Holy Darkness and the Dublin Bach singers. Enjoy all this whilst admiring the stucco ceiling, the mosaic flooring and the sheer vastness of this early 19th century gem.

Q Check out the maps for Cork, Dublin and Galway on the culture night website. You will see dotted along the Quays lots of events from the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork to the Druid Lane Theatre in Quay Street, Galway to an array of options on Dublin’s North and South Quays.

R Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. 5-11 pm

RCPIAnother building that the public don’t generally have access to, so a great opportunity to have a look around. The entrance hall with its double staircase with gothic coving in the ceiling is impressive as is the Graves Hall, used for examinations.

S South Frederick Street Fest, south Frederick Street, Dublin 2. 5-11 pm

south fred stIf you feel a bit peckish on the night here’s where to head to. Design meets food with edible art. Twenty masterpieces from Irish artists, bakers and confectioners are promised along with tastings of ice cream, cakes, chocolate. There’s not much more to say except Yum!

T Temple Bar Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 Speakers corner from 7-9 pm and RTE Arena programme 7-10 pm, entrance at East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Hear ye hear ye. Just one of many speakers corners on the night. There is so much going on in this part of the city that if you wish to nothing else you could just hang out here and absorb the atmosphere. RTE will be hosting a culture Night Special programme in Meeting House Square with the Concert Orchestra, Lunasa and others.

U Unitarian Church, 112 St. Stephens Green West, Dublin 2. 5-11 pm

Ever since studying the various types of stone on the exterior façade of this building which in its self is complex, I have been dying to get a proper look around. Behind it lies a cleverly planned building in which the church is raised above street level over what was a school, meeting rooms and caretakers apartment. On Culture Night there will be a series of talks and recitals in the church.

V Very, very, very lucky, to have all of this and lots lots more at our disposal.

W Weather, always important in Ireland!

A bit of an Autumn chill forecast but not much rain, wrap up and make no excuses. According to Met Eireann “Friday will be mainly dry and bright with good spells of sunshine in many places but there will be outbreaks of rain later in the north and northwest.”


 X marks the spot.

My advice is to print out the map or pick it up when you are out and about, of wherever you are and plan your route as best you can. Time is of the essence.

Y Ok, so there’s no “Y’s” but we are nearly at the end of the alphabet, so why not just decide to get out there and soak up the atmosphere. Check out the website for a complete list of venues from An Gaeltacht right through to Wicklow.

Z Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, 5.30-9 pm

Great for the kids this one! They can get their picture taken through the jaws of a shark (or maybe watch you do so?!) or meet Prince Tom, the ‘Royal’ elephant who traveled the world with Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred. Combine it with a visit to the book of Kells for a memorable evening.

So that’s it. Even if you don’t think you can make any of the events planned why not save a copy of the venues so that you can make your way to at least some of them in your own time. Please, go out there, enjoy yourselves and let me know how you get on.


Date for your diary. Open House is scheduled from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October 2013.

Check it out and get your name into the lottery for access to certain buildings.

3 thoughts on “Tonight we own the night.

  1. An excellent post Nicki! Best yet! Just home from a wonderful evening. Your post certainly steered us in the right direction. James Joyce House the highlight. Keep up the brilliant blog.

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