Make it a night to remember
CULTURE NIGHT is nearly upon us, and at first glance the programme can seem daunting and exhausting. But never fear – with our 10-step Culture Night survival guide, you are sure to get the best out of what is one of the most unique, enjoyable (and free) evenings across the country with zero stress, minimal queuing and hopefully without missing out on things you really want to see. Here’s what you need to do:1 PRE-PLAN
Like any good operation, the first step is planning. Because the programme is so vast, involving venues in Dublin city centre, along with 10 venues outside the city centre, and 34 other cities, towns and villages around the country, you are going to need to do a certain amount of planning to make sure you are not wandering around aimlessly. Download the free Culture Night app if you have a smartphone, or the programme PDFs, handily broken up by area on the website (see culturenight.ie). Printed Culture Night programmes are also available from several of the venues. Have a thorough look at what’s going on, and draw up a shortlist.
2 PICK A QUARTER
Friday evening presents an excellent opportunity to binge on culture, but you don’t want to overdo it or else you won’t enjoy the experience. If you try to see everything, you’ll probably end up getting to check out very little. The most practical approach is to take one area and schedule things you want to see within that area. Dublin has been broken into six areas by the Culture Night crew, so if you’re based in the capital, pick one area and do it well. The rest of the country is broken into 34 individual regions, so wherever you are, there will be something not too far away waiting for you. Just make sure your plans are logistically smart. In the capital, Dublin Bus will be running free bus routes across the city if you feel like spreading out.
3 DON’T JUST DO THE BIG STUFF
Some of Ireland’s best-known attractions open their doors on Friday night, which is a brilliant opportunity to check them out afterhours and for free. But venues such as Dublin Castle, the Jameson Distillery, the National Gallery and so on – as fascinating as they are – are open year round. So instead, use Culture Night to explore smaller, lesser-known venues. Keeping to the smaller sites also means there’s less likelihood you’ll get stuck in queues. Trinity College Dublin alone took in more than 4,000 visitors last Culture Night. Our hidden gems guide below should get you started, but chances are if you see the name of a venue near where you live that you’ve never even heard of, now is your chance to find out what lies inside.