My Culture Night
By Irish Times writers
Culture Night is a great opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the streets of Dublin, so spare a thought for those who find themselves living on them. From 5 to 9.30pm, Depaul Ireland is running an Open House at their Back Lane Hostel where artists, writers and musicians will be performing work made in collaboration with homeless people. On the same street, classical guitarist Marc Oliver is playing in one of Dublin’s oldest buildings, Tailor’s Hall.
Built in 1706, this former guild hall was where Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and a young Daniel O’Connell fomented revolution. If you want a dollop of culture but feel like staying in, Near FM and Near TV are presenting live coverage of Culture Night broadcast on DCTV, UPC channel 802, from 5-8pm and on Near FM 90.3FM, Dublin South FM 93.9, West Dublin Access Radio 96fm, Phoenix 92.5fm and Raidio Na Life 106.4fm from 4-8pm.
Mountjoy Square retains some of the most beautiful Georgian buildings in Dublin. The Mountjoy Square Society have organised a number of events for tomorrow, including a tour of the square, and a rare opportunity to see inside two private houses.
There will also be “Georgian parlour songs” in a drawing room on the square from 5-11pm, Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1. Merchants Quay is one of the best-known homeless and drugs charities in Dublin. It’s opening its doors for tours of the day centre, and a special performance of The Fisher Man Band by a combination of staff, volunteers and people who use the centre. 6.30-10.30pm, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8. You would think that the National Leprechaun Museum was solely the domain of the Little People, ie children, or tourists in search of irony. Not so tomorrow night, apparently. “Come hear the stories of the otherworld for an adult audience. Not suitable for children,” is the intriguing promise. 7-9pm, Leprechaun Museum, Jervis Street, Dublin 1
I’ll be at Clare County Museum in Ennis at 8pm, launching two National Roads Authority books on archaeological finds along the M18 Gort to Crusheen bypass. But if I wasn’t, I’d love to be at Glór where the brilliant Clare Memory Orchestra, featuring Liz Carroll and Mairtín O’Connor among others will be playing their distinctive mix of traditional and classical music. Glór also has an exhibition of Abbey theatre posters which should evoke some memories of misspent youth. If I was at home, I’d be in the magical Casino at Marino, part Tardis, part Greek temple and entirely one of Dublin’s more delightfully bonkers buildings.
If you want to expose your children to Culture Night, as I usually do, Dublin Castle is one of the less stressful options. It’s a pleasant escape from the crowded streets outside and has multiple attractions, from the crypt-based Revenue Museum and medieval undercroft to the Coach House (hosting live performances from the Music Network) and the wonderful Chester Beatty Library.
Then there’s the balcony overlooking the castle’s upper yard, which last year had actors playing characters as diverse as (Romeo’s) Juliet and Michael Collins. I live in Kilmainham, so on the way home I will definitely pay a visit to the very atmospheric House of the Dead on Usher’s Island, where James Joyce set his famous short story, and where Culture Night visitors are offered “tea, songs, and a tour” ( facebook.com/JamesJoyceHouse).
That might be the last stop. But if I still have the time and energy I might make a quick transit of the Phoenix Park to Dunsink Observatory, where the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (01-6140100, dias.ie) is hosting a night of talks and star-gazing.
Culture Night is an obvious chance to reach for the comfort of the familiar on an unfamiliar night. Many of the big institutions will buzz like no other night. But, really, it should also be about taking a cue to do things you otherwise would not. The Lir – still a fresh feature – is offering voice, acting and movement workshops, so what the hell, give it a go. There’s the Ingenious Ireland guided tour of the city, leaving from Christchurch Place in the afternoon, which looks promising. There’s a tour of the Freemasons’ Hall (don’t pretend you’re not curious) and there’s Poetry Ireland’s open-mic on Merrion Square. But, whatever the plan, a walk through the city on this wonderful night is a thrill in itself.
One of the many pleasures of Culture Night is some actual doing, as well as looking, so I’m thinking of a theatre workshop at The Lir academy, or the Abbey theatre, or children’s action at the Gaiety School of Acting, or a visual art bootcamp in artist Adrienne Geoghegan’s Stoneybatter kitchen – much more intimate! – or a children’s story-writing workshop at Fighting Words, and maybe adding to the communal Post-It mosaic at Alliance Francaise along the way.