Video: Secrets of Dublin’s Masonic Hall revealed

Culture Night to be broadcast on RTÉ as 1,300 events are planned

Taxi and bus drivers are among the 25,000 members of the Irish Freemasons, while secret handshakes are still a feature of the Brotherhood. Culture Night gives Dubliners the chance to explore one of the most mysterious buildings in the capital.

Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 12:32

Culture Night moves to another plane tonight with 1,300 events across 34 regions of the country, making it the biggest to date by far. It will also be the most high-profile, thanks to a partnership with RTÉ.

The Arena nightly arts programme on RTÉ Radio 1 is being extended to three hours tonight while being broadcast from Temple Bar, with contributions from Cork, Limerick and Galway.

The programme will feature a specially commissioned work from Irish composer Stephen Gardner, performed by the RTÉ concert orchestra conducted by Gavin Maloney.

Presenter Seán Rocks will present from Meeting House Square and will be joined on stage by Julie Feeney, O Emperor and The Walls.

RTÉ Radio 1 arts, features and drama editor Lorelei Harris says culture is for everyone and broadcasting it will make it a “truly inclusive event”.

Culture Night was originally conceived as an initiative to open Temple Bar Trust properties to the public for free, but has mushroomed into an all-Ireland affair since it originated in 2006.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said RTÉ’s involvement in Culture Night had given it a new impetus.

“It has been very well promoted, it is very positive. The fact that there is free access to all the events means a lot to the people,” he added. “It is a chance to give something back in this time of austerity. There is a very positive vibe for the whole concept.”

Culture Night was expanded to include the North three years ago. This year six areas are taking part: Armagh, Belfast, Derr, Strabane district, with two new additions, Omagh district and Newry and Mourne district.

The interim chief executive of Temple Bar Cultural Trust Ray Yeates said the outpouring of grief over the recent death of poet Seamus Heaney showed that culture remained central to Irish identity.

“Culture Night has grown significantly since its inception in 2006 across the entire island and it is fantastic to see the sharing of ideas, cultural activity and creative insights growing and expanding.”

The gates of Leinster House will be opened to 1,650 members of the public for an evening of culture and entertainment from 5pm to 11pm. Dublin’s Masonic hall will also open its doors.

Of interest to those who are interested in both food and art is the Goodall’s Edible Art Gallery on South Frederick Street, Dublin, where more than 20 edible installations will be on show from some of the country’s foremost bakers and artists.