Well, the night is nearly upon us. And at this point – if you're not in – it's too late for the Áras an Uachtaráin lottery, or for prebooked tickets for tours of the Guinness Storehouse, any of Dublin's many distilleries, or indeed for the Central Bank. So leaving aside those cornerstones of Ireland, what's the best plan? While some seem to tackle Culture Night by finding a likely looking queue and joining it, we prefer to spend our time doing rather than queuing, so we've put together some itineraries to help you get your cultural kicks.
The art trail
Purple markers on map below
Start your evening at Imma (1, Royal Hospital, Dublin 8. imma.ie), because they're closing inexplicably early, given the night that's in it. As well as the regular exhibitions, you'll find tours and open studios of resident artists. 5-8pm.
Dublin is chronically short of artists' studios, but they're great places to go and really feel the energy of art-in-the-making. Steambox (2, School Street, Dublin 8. steambox.org) are showing their annual members exhibition, The Hive and they're promising refreshments too. 6-11pm.
Walk along Thomas Street to the NCAD Gallery (3, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8. ncad.ie) to check out Niamh McCann's show. This always interesting artist was awarded NCAD's first Fine Art Studio Residency, and there'll be talks, music and performance on the night. 5-10pm.
Then drop down to Temple Bar (4), where you'll find the Gallery of Photography, the Graphic Studio Gallery, Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Blackchurch Print Studio (you get the idea), all open late, with talks, music and occasionally refreshments. Temple Bar gets louder as the night goes on, so you might want to get in early, and out while you can.
While in Temple Bar, you can call into Aga Szot's studio (5, 4 Aston Place, Dublin 2. agaszot.com), where the artist will be live painting, so you can see the artworks emerge and enjoy them while they're still wet. 5-11pm.
Go past the artworks on the railings at Merrion Square to the Goethe Institut (6, 62 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2. goethe.de), where artist Fergal McCarthy premieres his Right Wing Rising Exhibition. It's a cartoon series telling the story of the rise of a certain mindset in Ireland. The artist will give a talk at 7pm. Add to that German snacks and drinks, and it's a lot of lecker going on. 5-10pm.
Dublin's main arts institutions (Douglas Hyde, Hugh Lane, RHA and the National Gallery) are all open late, you can also end your evening at the United Arts Club (7, 3 Fitzwilliam St Upper. dublinarts.com), where you can tour the Georgian building, enjoy poetry, life drawing and music, and hang out in the bar where, over the years many an artwork has been dreamed of, and possibly later forgotten. Open until 11pm.
The wellness trail
Green markers on map
Start at the Fumbally Stables (1, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8. thefumballystables.ie) for a pot luck of experimentation, fermentation and other lively goings on. 6-8pm.
Then trot across to the Dublin Food Co Op (2, Newmarket Square, Dublin 8. dublinfood.coop) where you can stock up on sustaining snacks to the accompaniment of live music, plus a talk or two. 5-11pm.
If you're feeling energetic, take in a spot of samba dancing to work off all that yummy food at the Masamba Samba School (3, Bow Lane West, Dublin 8. masamba.com). 7-10pm.
Next, walk or Luas (nearest stops: Fatima/Heuston to Smithfield) over the river.
The Elbowroom Wellness Centre option is a bit of a commitment (4). They're holding a meditation/yoga session from 7.30pm. You'd need to be there on time, as latecomers may disrupt the Oms, earning dirty looks from the otherwise karmic classroom. (32 North Brunswick Street, Dublin . the-elbowroom.com). 7.30-9pm.
At Bí Urban (5, 3 Manor Street, Dublin 7. desireland.ie) you can get down with yourself and get connected to nature too through some sensory techniques and activities. Go on, you'll feel the better for it. 5-11pm.
End your evening in Smithfield Square (6) where you'll find drumming, dance, fencing classes and more at their massive Interactive Playground. There's also plenty of restaurants and bars about if all that wellness has started to take its toll (culturenight.com). 5-10pm
The quirky tour
Pink dots on map
Culture night is a great time to dip into things you wouldn't usually see or do.
Start at Heuston Station, where the Irish Railway Record Society (1, irrs.ie) is hosting an open evening for trainspotters everywhere in the former railway goods offices. 5-9pm.
Then head downriver to Aoife McElwain's Sing Along Social at The Amphitheatre (2, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8. culturenight.ie). Described as a zero-commitment choir, welcoming good and bad singers alike, and with a theme of Pop Culture, it's guaranteed to be a great fun. 6.30-7.30pm.
Release your inner femme fatale, hard-boiled detective or classic gangster at Flying Turtle Productions (3, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin. flyingturtleproductions.com), as you'll be guided through a live, immersive performance of Film Noir fun. Each performance is approximately 30 minutes. 6-11pm.
Next, stop into the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (4, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. dias.ie) to discover how an Irishman pioneered the understanding of earthquakes, despite the fact we're not terribly prone to them in these parts. 5-10pm.
Next, head over for a pitstop at the Cellar Bar at the Merrion Hotel (5, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2. merrionhotel.com), where they're playing music with a 1930s spin from the Tin Pan Alley Cats. 6-8pm.
Hang out in the Merrion until it gets dark enough to drop down to the French Embassy (6, 66 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. ie.ambafrance.org) as they're projecting an extravaganza on to their Georgian façade, courtesy of French artists Scenocosme. 6.30-10.30pm.
Then end your Culture Night in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar (7) where the wonderful Morning Gloryville bring their morning alcohol-free clubbing extravaganza to Dublin after dark. They're high energy, completely uncynical and lots of lovely fun. Get dancing from 7-10pm.
Kids culture trail (yellow dots)
Yellow markers on map
The Ark, the children's cultural centre in Temple Bar (1, 11a Eustace Street, Dublin 2. ark.ie) are hosting a mini-music concert for children, and it sounds lovely. Performances are at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm, and tickets are available on the day from 10am at ark.ie.
Even if you don't snag your Ark spot, there's still lots of family things to do. Get their love of reading off to a good start with Children's Books Ireland at Hodges Figgis (2, Dawson Street, Dublin 2. childrensbooksireland.ie). There'll be art happening live in the windows, while inside the Book Doctor will prescribe reading for kids of all ages. 5-9pm.
Next stop is the Chester Beatty Library (3, Dame Street, Dublin 2. cbl.ie), where there's family storytelling inspired by the Library's Persian Collection at 6.15pm, and you can also pick up family packs and drawing packs to bring the collection to arty life. Until 10pm. Family stories at 6.15pm.
It's a short walk from here to Barnardo Square (4, Dame Street, Dublin 2. barnardos.ie. culturenight.ie) for Arc, Aerial Cirque's vertical dance extravaganza. Events from 6pm to 10pm, Arc takes place 8.15-9pm.
Now head to Temple Bar, where the Project Arts Centre (5, 39 East Essex Street, Dublin 2. projectartscentre.ie) are hosting a children's colouring competition alongside their other events. There are prizes too. 5-11pm.
Then call in to the Irish Film Institute for a sit down as (7, 6 Eustace Street, Dublin 2. ifi.ie) they're showing a programme of family-friendly Irish shorts, focusing on films featuring children from the 1940s to the present day. 6-10pm.
- Full Culture Night programme available at culturenight.com