Culture Night 2023: A guide of 26 events to see and do this Friday

With more than 1,700 events across Ireland, all free, there is plenty to keep you busy

Get your party shoes or your walking boots on: Culture Night is this Friday, September 22nd. The 18th edition of this diverse celebration of culture, pulled together by the Arts Council in partnership with local authorities, cultural and community organisations across Ireland, offers a whopping 1,700-plus events in villages, towns and cities. And all events are free.

Stuff your schedule with action all night, or take it handy and gentle; revisit a favourite or try something new you always wondered about. Plus, this year there’s an expanded Culture Night late programme going into the later hours of the evening.

Here is just a small selection of what’s on offer across the country. See for more and note some events require booking. Keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more announcements.


The Big Sing and Ping Pong Disco

Visual Centre for Contemporary Art; 9pm-1am

Music, cabaret, performance and dance, led by conductor Mary Ormond O’Brien. Including a large-scale choral event; performances and dance routines from the Ping Pong Girls and guests, blending clubbing and performance in Visual’s gallery spaces. DJs lead the audience through Nu Cosmic Disco, 80s Italo house, dark bubbling electronic synths.



Kevin McGahern

Townhall, Cavan; 8-9.30pm; booking required

The presenter and comedian (Republic of Telly, Dancing with the Stars) returns to Cavan, along with a mysterious guest.


Cork city hall

English Market: Live Music and Stalls

Cork City; 6-9pm

Cruise the stalls and enjoy live music throughout the evening at Cork’s covered market.

The Glucksman: Creative Wanderings; Workshops And Walks

University College Cork; 4-9pm; booking required

Events for all ages inspired by Glucksman’s current exhibition détour: selected works from the FRAC Bretagne collection. It includes an art and nature workshop and creative walk through the grounds for children. Adults later join artists to explore art, architecture and nature while learning practical creative skills such as drawing and photography.


Dancing in Dublin city

Various times and places

While Meeting House Square in Temple Bar has a programme of dance performances all evening ending with queer party Strawberries’ electronic music (10pm-midnight), around the corner on Dame Street, Barnardo Square becomes an outdoor dance studio with a series of social dance classes by Mind The Step, from Swing Dance to Brazilian Forró, with some of Dublin’s finest dance instructors. All experience levels, including beginners, welcome.

Arts Council Exhibition

70 Merrion Square; 5-9pm

Showcasing some recent additions to its large visual art collection of nearly 1,350 modern and contemporary Irish art pieces, built up since 1962. See art by Elizabeth Cope, Miriam De Búrca, Mollie Douthit, Justin Fitzpatrick, Marie Holohan, Helen Hughes, Catriona Leahy, Jialin Long, Kevin Mooney, Doireann Ni Ghrioghair, Emma Roche, Mark Swords, Amna Walayat, Orla Whelan and others.

A Meditative Evening to Expand the Heart

5 Little Fitzwilliam Place; 4-8.30pm

Visual arts, music and poetry at the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. Including meditation workshops, exhibition by artist and humanitarian Sri Chinmoy, concert of meditative music, art sessions and a mantra singalong.

Spencer Dock

Various events from 5pm

Varied line-up all evening, including CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s dance work Bench; an aerial show featuring international champion Lisette Krol and Tribe Fitness & Dance Studio students; Faró Quartet’s traditional, folk and fusion music; No Strings Theatre puppet show; songwriting workshop with Lorna Meade; folk singer Macdara Yeates, historian Dónal Fallon, actor/poet Roxanna Nic Liam and others present songs, poetry and social history celebrating Brendan Behan’s centenary; entertainment from Temi NLA; and Bó Abhainn, an interactive sculpture honouring Dublin’s dairy heritage by artist Jane Groves.

The Bretzel Bakery – A Tasty Journey

Lennox St, Portobello, Dublin 8; 6-8.30pm

A food experience where tradition meets innovation with the aroma of freshly baked bread in the air. Meet the owner of the Irish Food Awards’ Artisan Bakery of the Year, learn and taste how to make the most of bread, plus raffles.

The Way We Wore: Representations of Social Change Through Clothing

National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks; 7-8pm

Tours, trails and tactile sessions exploring the barracks’ 300-year history. You can also join a public tour of The Way We Wore exhibition of Irish clothing and jewellery from the 1700s-1900s.

Painting Mirror

National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square; 8-11pm

A return of the French embassy’s fun, interactive real-time outdoor digital art installation, in association with the National Gallery. Snap your portrait in a photo booth and feature in your own masterpiece on a grand scale as your photo is projected (in the style of Monet, Cézanne, Jellett or others from the gallery collection) on to the gallery’s exterior, accompanied by DJ sets. Visitors can also see and learn about the gallery’s new acquisition, Paul Cézanne’s La Vie des Champs (until 8.30pm).

Late Night Jazz, The Complex, Dublin

Late Night Jazz

The Complex, Dublin 7; 9pm-11pm; booking required

Late-night jazz with Ronan Guilfoyle’s Tudo Bem, OKO, and an open jam session in The Cooler led by The Jazzabelles, presented by Improvised Music Company.

Bike Disco

Phoenix Park; 8-9pm; booking required

A 5km cycle open to all ages, abilities and bike types, on a car-free route leaving from Phoenix Roundabout at Chesterfield Avenue at 8pm. ReCreate bike decoration station will be open from 7pm.

Wood Quay Amphitheatre

Various events from 5pm

A busy programme through the evening includes Walkeleles ukulele band from Walkinstown (5.30-6pm); Discovery Gospel Choir (6-6.30pm); Afro-Brazilian contemporary dancer Alessandra Azevedo’s City of the Sun God (6.30-7pm); Jessie Thompson and Jason McNamara’s Dance Music For The Apocalypse (7-7.30pm); John McCormack Songbook by Ross Scanlon (7.30-8pm); Vogue Ball hosted by QueerMania (8-9pm); and burlesque performer Bonnie Boux (9-10pm).


Tom Mathews, Still Crazy After All These Years

Town Hall Theatre, Courthouse Square; 6-7.30pm

Opening of a career retrospective exhibition of one of Ireland’s wittiest cartoonists, marking his 70th birthday. Plus, revealing the line-up of this year’s Galway Cartoon Festival programme (Sept 29th-Oct 4th).

Deaf Culture and Identity

Galway Mechanics Institute, Middle St, Middle St; 8-10pm

On International day of Sign Languages, three 30-minute sessions where visitors explore what it’s like to navigate Galway as a deaf person, learn sign language and basic sentences to help those in the deaf community.


Movie Night at Young Irish Film-makers

St Joseph’s Studios, Deansground; 7-9pm

Young Irish Film Makers opens its doors to showcase Irish youth-made short films. Tour the studio and find out about film making and programmes for young people.

Upstairs, Downstairs: Popular Tunes Of The 16th And 17th Centuries

Kilkenny Castle; 6-9pm

Laoise O’Brien (recorders) and Malcolm Proud (harpsichord) go back in time to explore melodies and songs that would have been popular upstairs and downstairs in Kilkenny Castle. Plus, explore the castle’s period rooms.


Pop-up Fab Lab

Leitrim Sculpture Centre; 4-9pm

Demonstration of digital fabrication and design, laser cutting and engraving, 3D-printed ceramics, 3D resin printing for metal casting, digital screen-printing, and vinyl cutting. Visitors can get hands-on experience making digital screen-printed cards and laser-cut wooden art.

Evening with author Colum McCann
will be held at Fenagh Arts Centre

Evening with author Colum McCann

Fenagh Arts Centre; 7.30-9pm

Acclaimed writer Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin, TransAtlantic and Apeirogon; and co-founder of Narrative 4, an international empathy non-profit organisation) reads and discusses his fiction. Plus, stories from local transition year students who were on a Narrative 4 story exchange.


Top 8 Culture Night – Dance Limerick

Dance Limerick and The Commercial Record Room; 8.30-11.30pm; booking required

Two over-18s social gatherings in collaboration with Dance Limerick. Showcasing the rich underground culture of neo-Irish-Afrolism, a blend of Irish, UK, West-African and American culture, with dance ciphers and performances from Limerick’s Strange Boy and Dublin-based Yankari Afrobeat Collective.


8 Fold Artist Studios launch

16 Fair Street, Drogheda; 6-10pm; booking required

Open studio, tours, and talks as artists Dee Walsh, Brian Hegarty, Rodney Thornton, Kieran Mc Nulty, Nuala Early and Vivienne Byrne celebrate their new studios.


Cultural Food Fest
Margaret’s Kitchen, The Walk, Roscommon town

Cultural Food Fest

Margaret’s Kitchen, The Walk, Roscommon town; 7-9pm; booking required

Celebrating food, cultures and traditions of the world as experienced in Roscommon town, presented by community groups and residents of the new communities. Hosted by Roscommon Leader Partnership on behalf of the Ukrainian Forum Community Integration work group.


DJs Til Late

The Model; 9pm-1am

A selection of DJs curated by GASH Collective, focusing on supporting women, trans, queer, non-binary and others in music production and DJing. Kelly-Anne Byrne headlines the second gig space, supported by DJ Tara Be.


Fallen Stars Tribute Concert

O’Connell Street Stage; 8-10pm

Tribute concert with Waterford musicians remembering the songs of stars who have died, including Sinéad O’Connor, Dolores O’Riordan Christy Dignam and Tina Turner. With support from the Kalimbas.


RTÉ 2FM Live At Mermaid Arts Centre

RTÉ 2FM Live at Mermaid Arts Centre

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray; 7.30-11pm; booking required

Mermaid celebrates its 21st birthday with a live concert of contemporary Irish music, curated from the RTÉ 2FM Rising list, presented by Dan Hegarty, and broadcast live on 2FM.