Culture Night 2014: Our pick of the best

With hundreds of events taking place across Ireland, it can be difficult to decide what to go to. This handy guide should help you narrow your search

More than 900 venues across the country are throwing open their doors for free, so keeping your evening open on Friday to absorb some culture is a very good idea. This is Culture Night’s ninth year, and it has now expanded to 36 regions across Ireland, so there’s something for everyone.

Several hundred events will happen simultaneously, so you won’t make it to everything. Here are our top picks across music, film, theatre, art, technology and heritage, and even then, this is only a small selection of what’s on offer.

Ableton Push Playground

Make some noise at the Sound Training Centre's drop-in music lab in Temple Bar, Dublin. They have combined music- creation software Ableton Live with Push, a hardware instrument for playing and composing. No musical experience is necessary: your ears are all you need.

Áras an Uachtaráin

This year, for the first time, President Michael D Higgins will open his doors to the public on Culture Night. Ticketed guided tours will allow you to nose around the presidential reception rooms of the 1751 residence. Farmleigh, the State residence and former home of the Guinness family, will also open in the Phoenix Park.


Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Galway

Every Galway author who has had a book of any kind published in the last year has been invited to speak for five minutes at a literature evening in Charlie Byrne’s in Galway city.

The Complex Drive-in Movies

Smithfield Square in Dublin will be home to a drive-in cinema for one night only. The Mission will be shown at 8pm, with What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? following at 10pm. It's first come, first served.

Cork City Hall Atrium

Crawford College of Art and Design graduate Darragh Wilkins is spending the week compiling a temporary floor installation with flour and raw pigments in Cork’s City Hall Atrium. It will gradually fade away as visitors come and go on the night.

An Cósan Glas – Loinnir: Seeing in a New Light

Large sculptures and installations will be illuminated and will form a trail around a large factory space in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, as part of Loinnir, an exhibition of sculptures by An Cosán Glas.

Fab Lab Limerick

Fab Lab in Limerick is running drop-in tutorials on 3D printing, 3D scanning and laser cutting techniques. They've built their own laser cutter – Lasersaur – so it's well worth checking out.

The Ferocious Mingle

Meet the Ferocious Mingle’s resident artists, and enjoy the world of bohemian steampunk. There will be live music performances and old movies showing in their tiny cinema, Mingleopolis, on Dublin’s Camden Street.

Galway Community Circus

Running away to the circus might not be a realistic option in generally, but it’s no harm to be prepared. Head to Galway Community Circus’ Circus Hall to sample its workshops or catch shows from the professionals.


Works from the National Gallery of Ireland collection depicting Gaeltacht landscapes have been reimagined by Irish artists, and will be projected on the front of the National Gallery, as well as in Dingle, Inis Oírr and Gaoth Dóbhair.

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Four exhibitions are open to the public at Imma in Kilmainham, Dublin, on Culture Night: interactive exhibition Propositions by Hélio Oiticica; photography exhibition Second Sight from David Kronn; Isabel Nolan's solo exhibition The Weakened Eye of Day; and Group Coordination, curated by Caroline McCarthy. A family-friendly workshop will also take place at 6.15pm.

Irish Film Institute

Under the theme of celebrating diversity, the IFI in Dublin’s Temple Bar will be running Short and Sweet, screenings of shorts from their archives. The event is free, but ticketed.

Italian Quarter, Dublin

Dublin's Italian Quarter is going back in time to the 1400s. The scenographic reproduction will include street games, music and dancing, and international street artist John Byrne will paint his own Last Supper live.

Kate’s Party at Outhouse

Catch talented pop-punk trio Kate's Party at Outhouse LGBT Community Resource Centre on Dublin's Capel Street. You can expect to be blown away by their energy, as they perform their new album, Hollow.

The Market Studios, Dublin

The Market Studios in Dublin plays host to absurd comedy Can Stand Up – Don't Want To! which considers disability and questions of choice, all with the aid of an improvised wheelchair.

The Mendicity Institution, Dublin

The Mendicity Institution, Dublin’s oldest working charity, will have actors recreating the life of the institution as it would have run back in the day. You’ll be able to taste the food served in the 1820s and take a look into their records.


If you fancy yourself as an inventor, get down to TOG, a hackerspace on Dublin’s Chancery Lane. Check out past projects or give one of their micro-workshops a go and learn some life hacks that really work.

UCD College of Science Artists in Residence

UCD Science students and the National College of Art and Design’s fine-art students have taken part in a year-long artists-in-residence programme, aiming to bring art and science together. Their studios will be open to explore on the night.

Urban Agency

Urban Agency is mixing architecture with photography and videography, and projecting it over Dublin’s quays, in Culture Night’s only architectural audiovisual event.

White Lady Art

All-female street art collective Minaw is taking over the White Lady Art gallery on Wellington Quay in Dublin for the night. Minaw’s artists Bubu and Made will be live painting, while DJ Skelly B will look after your funk and soul needs.

Windmill Lane Recording Studio

Windmill Lane, famous for its association with U2, has also hosted everyone from the Spice Girls to Lady Gaga to Hozier. It's only open for tours for Culture Night, and you'll be treated to an intimate performance by Northern Irish rock band Relish while you're there.


This year on Culture Night, The Irish Times will celebrate our creative culture with Downstairs Dublin. It's a unique night of installations, talks and events on Merrion Square, home to some of Ireland's most elegant Georgian houses. Taking place in the outside basement spaces of houses around the square, artists, foodies, fashionistas, writers and speakers will make a little magic happen.

These are small basement yards; often empty, unremarkable spaces. In a recent Irish Times article, Frank McDonald reignited the conversation about how we use and relate to this unique part of the capital. On Culture Night, The Irish Times will imagine what that something might be.

In partnership with the Merrion Square Innovation Network, Fáilte Ireland, Sherry FitzGerald and Culture Night, we're inviting you to watch a fashion show emerge from subterranean levels, to catch some delicious contemporary classical music, to see what Ireland's leading artists have made for us, and to dine in the dark – if you're brave enough. Plus: a garden space, treasure hunt, Ireland's smallest cinema, the Irish Times chat show, library lottery and much more.

Downstairs Dublin takes place on Friday, 5pm-10pm. All events are free. See for timings and listings