Friday is Culture Night all over Ireland. Do you: (a) put on comfy shoes, arm yourself with the guide or the app and let loose, collapsing with exhaustion after gorging on as many cultural feasts as you can squeeze in; or (b) chill out, be more selective and hit a couple of spots you never think of visiting, for some gentle horizon expansion and expectation busting?
This is Ireland's 13th Culture Night, and the ever-growing choice of free entertainment running into the night can bamboozle. We've lucky-dipped some new, offbeat or less well-known events to consider. But we haven't forgotten about some perennially popular Culture Night events, plus a selection of family-friendly events and venues.
And the weather? It’s all relative. After the mid-week Storm Ali, and another possibly brewing for Sunday, it looks like Culture Night will at least be mainly dry (clear spells, with a few isolated showers in spots), but windy. So, safe to get out and about, but pack a raincoat.
TRY THESE FOR SIZE
Dublin Civic Trust
18 Ormonde Quay, Dublin 7; 4-9.30pm
The first chance to explore Dublin Civic Trust's latest building conservation project after two years' work. The handsome merchant premises has been carefully restored to 1840s glory, with a traditional shop at ground level and living quarters above. More details here.
Seanad Chamber: Gold Air and the Blue
Leinster House, Dublin 2; 4-4.45pm
As part of the Oireachtas celebration of a centenary of suffrage, Poetry Irelandand the National Museum present a poetry reading hosted by Olivia O'Leary. (The title is a line from Eva Gore-Booth's poem Women's Rights). Readings by the poets Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Moya Cannon and Martina Evans, plus two small coloured pastels by WB Yeats on show. Free; book by emailing email@example.com or calling 01-6486334. More details here.
Meeting House Square party
Temple Bar, Dublin 2; 6.20-10.30pm
You can start and end your evening with a Vogue Interactive Dance Class, led by the drag queen Regina George. Events in between include The Brass Kings and Attention Bebe's high-octane big-band covers of 1990s hits. More details here.
Inchicore Road, Dublin 8; 5-9pm
For this year only, an exhibition marking Nelson Mandela's centenary, tracing his life as comrade, leader, prisoner, negotiator and statesman. Plus accompanying audio in the Victorian Wing. Booking, and more details, here.
14 Henrietta Street
Dublin 1; 4-8pm
Sample a slice of social history in the just opened 14 Henrietta Street museum, which explores 270 years from Georgian town house to tenement dwelling. Thoughtful and nuanced conservation, nourished by testimony of former residents. A 30-minute taster tour offers insight into the lives of the tenement residents. Maximum of 15 people per tour; three tickets per booking. More details here.
Grangegorman Development Agency
Clock Tower, Grangegorman Lower, Dublin 7; 4-9.30pm
New for this year, a showcase of artists and curators such as Clodagh Emoe, Jennie Guy and Smashing Times Theatre Co. More details here.
The Gutter Bookshop
Cow's Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8; 5-10.30pm
One of Culture Night's Trailblazers – "ambassadors", appointed by the Minister for Culture – the author and Irish-language activist Darach Ó Séaghdha, will read from his new book, Craic Baby (7pm), and the Hellenic Community of Ireland celebrates Greek language and culture with Mother Tongues (5pm). More details here.
Irish Music Rights Organisation
Copyright House, Pembroke Row, Dublin 2; 6-10pm
Mundy, in interview and performance, as well as public interviews with up-and-coming and established musicians in an intimate setting, including live music from Stephanie Rainey and interviews with BP Fallon and Fangclub. More details here.
Synergies at the French Embassy
66 Merrion Square, 6.30-11.30pm
Inspired by ancient shadow puppetry and combining digital technologies and illusion, this giant interactive video projection onto the French embassy for Culture Night involves virtual mechanics. The projection, Synergies, created by French artists Scenocosme, will evolve according to the public's interaction and is a hands-on experience suitable for all ages.
Dublin Airport Terminal 1, Swords, Co Dublin; 4-9.30pm
Students from the National College of Art and Design students showcase their work to give passengers and the public a taste of contemporary Irish art, with installations in publicly accessible airport areas. Local music groups perform in the airport's Entertainment Zone. More details here.
37 Merrion Square, Dublin 2; 4-10pm
The German cultural institute is back on Merrion Square after an impressive restoration and the creation of a new mews, with a hive of activity: Liz Roche's site-specific dance (booking required); artist Liam Gillick's new work; and sci-fi author Michael Marrak reads from his new novella. Or just delight in Martin Henchion's architecture, and in the courtyard garden, linking the old with the new building, designed by landscape architects TTT (thirtythreetrees). More details here.
DIAS Dunsink Observatory
Dunsink Lane, Castleknock, Dublin 15; 7-11pm
See the historic observatory building and Grubb telescope, and learn about the Dublin company that became one of the greatest telescope makers in the world. Weather permitting, stargaze with smaller telescopes. More details here.
Outhouse: LGBT+ Cabaret
105 Capel Street, Dublin 1; 4-10pm
Outhouse collaborates with the theatre group Acting Out for LGBT+ cabaret- songs, stories, comedy and raucous entertainment. More details here.
The Digital Hub
Thomas Street, Dublin 8; 8-11pm
Celebration of Dublin 8 creativity, with music and film at the Digital Hub technology campus, and Dublin International Film Festival host new Irish short films. More details here.
Marlay Craft Courtyard
Marlay Park, Grange Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16; 4-11pm
Opening of the recently restored Marlay Craft Courtyard Project, with additional craftspeople. Meet artists, jewellers, textile designers and more; plus trad music 6-8pm. More details here.
Dr Steevens' Hospital
Steevens' Lane, Dublin 8; 6-9pm
The former hospital, now the headquarters of the Health Service Executive, makes its Culture Night debut with public tours plus an exhibition, Mythical Creatures, at the Edward Worth Library of rare books. Maximum 20 people at a time; tours at 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm; suitable for all ages. More details here.
26-27 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1; 4-8.30pm
An exhibition of behind-the-scenes materials, a walking tour of Dublin's theatre history, and a theatre-making workshop. Free but ticketed; limited capacity. Also in Cork: see Munster section, below. More details here.
Cork city has an extensive Culture Night programme. You can see it all at culturenightcork.ie.
Cork Come Dancing
City Hall concert hall; 7-9.30pm
Come Dancing, with Evelyn Grant and the Cork Pops Orchestra, features music from Johann Strauss to Abba, to dance waltzes, tangos, two-steps, swing, disco and rock'n'roll. More details here.
Out of the Abbey
Cork Opera House; 1-7pm
The national theatre stages free performances of Manchán Magan's Gaeilge Tamagotchi and Arán & Im. Reserve tickets, and see more details, here.
Céilí Afro Dabke (A World Music Céilí Dance)
Baile Mhuire Community Hall, Balloonagh, Co Kerry; 7.30-9.30pm
World music, dance and song with Catherine Young Dance and the Welcoming Project, African dance and drumming, Palestinian Dabke Dance, and traditional ceilí dances. Audience can dance at a world music ceilí. More details here.
Pauline Bewick in conversation with Frank Lewis
Kerry County Council, Killorglin; 6-7pm
Seven Ages:The Kerry Collection is a permanent display of Pauline Bewick's work in Killorglin. More details here.
Don Cronin, sculptor and motorcycle designer
Old Mill/James O'Neill Building, Church Square, Kinsale, Co Cork; 6-9.30pm
Collection of motorcycles and sculpture, functional and nonfunctional, related by a common aesthetic. More details here.
Julian Gough: Children's Storytelling
Cashel library, Co Tipperary; 3.45-4.45pm; for five- to eight-year-olds
The novelist, poet and musician Julian Gough reads about Rabbit and Bear's adventures in his latest book (shortlisted twice for children's book of the year in the Irish Book Awards). More details here.
Pigtown Comes to the Milk Market
Cornmarket Row, Limerick; 5-10pm
Pigtown Food Series and Limerick Food Group present Pig Talks, Pig Parade Walks, street food, cooking demonstrations and music. More details here.
'The Greatest Showman' singalong screenings
Pálás cinema, 15 Merchants Road Lower, Galway, 4.30pm and 6.30pm
Grab a look at the Pálás Galway's new cinema – finally up and running after a fraught journey – at a singalong to The Greatest Showman, with lyrics on screen. Free but ticketed. (Also at the Light House Cinema in Dublin; see family-friendly events, below). More details here.
Leitrim Design House
A crash course in abstract painting for all ages with the artist and educator Kate Murtagh Sheridan. A journey through colour, shape and emotion using music to influence mood. More details here.
Various venues, Achill Island, Co Mayo; 8-11.30pm
Scoil Acla brings the Travelling Bus of Culture pop-up trad tour of musicians and dancers. More details here.
Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co Wicklow; 3-9pm
Art on a circus theme (including from local community groups), with children's workshops, a hall of mirrors, music and poetry. More details here.
Belfast's Culture Night programme ranges from Street Countdown to the Camper Van of Dreams, and from street wrestling through circus performers to ballroom dancing and street flamenco; culturenightbelfast.com.
Art Deco and Roaring 20s Evening
Clones library, Monaghan; 7-8.30pm
Swing, jazz and daring outfits as Clones library goes back to the 1920s, with Art Deco Expo (from the Paul Hankar Institute in Brussels), exploring the origins, influences and principles of art deco in architecture, fashion and design. More details here.
CULTURE NIGHT’S GREATEST HITS
Freemasons' Hall, Dublin
7 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2; 5-10pm
In the esoterically designed meeting rooms of this Victorian hall, the purpose- built headquarters of Freemasons in Ireland since 1869, the tour is self-guided, but staff are on hand to answer questions (if you have the handshake). More details here.
CIT Cork School of Music
Union Quay; 7-10pm
Highly anticipated concert by young musicians who will represent the school of music in the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year competition in Dublin in October. The programmes range from classical to contemporary (Curtis Auditorium, free, 8pm). Guided tours 7-8pm. Informal live music in the foyer 7-10pm. More details here.
Dublin Street Art Tour
Starts outside Thunder Road Cafe, Fleet Street, Dublin 2; 5-7.30pm
The street artist and self-proclaimed mindful vandal Will St Leger leads a tour of Dublin's street art – sometimes political, sometimes playful. There is a lot to see on the walls of Dublin. If you have booked for this favourite, be smug (or book early next year), as it's now full. More details here.
Trinity College Dublin: Book of Kells
Old Library, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2; 5-9pm
See the ninth-century manuscript of the four gospels alongside other Christian manuscripts of the period; walk through the magnificent 18th-century Long Room (the main chamber of the Old Library), with 200,000 of the library's oldest books; spy a rare copy of the 1916 Proclamation and the 15th-century Brian Boru harp, the model for Ireland's emblem. More details here.
The Amphitheatre at Wood Quay
Civic Offices, Dublin 8; 6.30-11pm
The open-air amphitheatre at Wood Quay hosts pop-up performances by the Discovery Gospel Choir, the Hit Machine Drummers, Dublin Circus Project, The Ramparts and Sam Kavanagh's Lalalala Choir. More details here.
Collins Barracks: RTÉ Open Air Concert
Arran Quay, Dublin 7; 8 -10pm
A perennial attraction, the concert this year moves from Dublin Castle to the National Museum at Collins Barracks, with live music, theatre, comedy and poetry, hosted by Sean Rocks of Arena, RTÉ Radio 1's arts show, which will also be streaming and broadcasting the concert live. Performers include Villagers, Sebastian Barry, Waterford Whispers, members of Horslips and Paul Muldoon, Mick Flannery and Amanda Coogan, the 14-year-old pianist and Syrian refugee Alma Harrak, the Irish hip-hop duo Mango x MathMan, the soprano Claudia Boyle and the Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan. (Free, subject to capacity, no booking.) More details here.
A History of Dublin for Children
Outside Smock Alley Theatre, Cow's Lane, Dublin 8; 5.30pm
Join Humpty Dumpty for nursery rhymes and stories from auld Dublin. You'll hear all about what life was like for children over 1,100 years of Dublin's history. Viking kids and modern kids welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The event is 60 minutes long. More details here.
Taking Flight: Education & Performance
Unit 4, Cross Guns Business Park, Phibsborough, Dublin 7; 4.30-10pm
Taking Flight provides circus-arts education to learners of all ages and abilities. Parents, grandparents, and children alike are invited to take part in family circus workshops in aerial movement, acrobatics and other circus disciplines from 5pm-7pm, followed by circus-arts performances at 7.30pm and 9pm. Proceeds in aid of the Gaza women's circus project. More details here.
10 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; 5-9pm
Aerial Cirque is a home for budding and professional aerialists. In their gorgeous studio they will be hosting two 50-minute child-and-parent cocoon workshops, at 5pm and 6pm. From 7pm to 9pm the studio will be open to the public to come to watch aerial students practise their skills. Book workshop spots here. More event details here.
1 Kildare Street, Dublin 2; 6-10pm
Check out some unmissable family events at the Alliance Française. Bring your team to the library for the multimedia treasure hunt, from 6pm to 8pm, for a chance to win goodies and prizes, before heading to the building's French restaurant for a concert by the folk-pop group Alcaz. The restaurant will be open serving treats and drinks. More details here.
22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; 6-7.30pm
Engineers Ireland, one of Ireland's largest and oldest professional bodies, will be providing a hands-on family workshop, incorporating elements of Stem and the arts for all to enjoy. Learn about the many disciplines of engineering and the work of Engineers Ireland in a fun and welcoming atmosphere through interactive sessions running all evening. The workshop will be held in collaboration with Gaiety School of Acting. More details here.
DLR Mill Theatre Dundrum
Dundrum Town Centre, Sandyford Road, Dublin 16; 5-10pm
The theatre will open its doors again this year for a wide range of events for the whole family. Listen to live music in the bar, view the print exhibition in the gallery, and, for younger audiences, take part in a Roald Dahl drama workshop in the studio. More details here.
Light House Cinema
Market Square, Smithfield, Dublin 7; 4pm-9.30pm
One of Dublin's most exciting cinemas welcomes all the family to a very special singalong screening of the year's biggest, most spectacular musical, The Greatest Showman. Lyrics will be shown on the screen – all you have to worry about are the singing and dancing. (Also at the Pálás cinema in Galway; see Try These for Size, above.) More details here.
RTÉ Lyric FM live @ The Chester Beatty
Dublin Castle, Dublin 2; 4-10pm
Come to see a range of exceptional and exotic treasures at one of the city's most popular museums. Join Lorcan Murray's Classic Drive for a live RTÉ Lyric FM broadcast celebrating the collection in music and speech with special guests. Take a free guided tour, take part in a workshop or pick up a family activity pack. The gift shop and Silk Road Cafe will be open for the evening. More details here.
Dance Theatre of Ireland
Bloomfields Shopping Centre, Lower George's Street, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin; 6-9.30pm
Ready to dance the night away? Take part in an evening of free taster classes at Dance Theatre Ireland's studios. Encompassing styles from hip hop to modern dance, salsa, Zumba, jazz, and more, there's something for all ages, from a dance class tailored to the over-60s to lessons for all the family to enjoy together. More details here.
Gaiety School of Acting
Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8; 6-11pm
Sample some of the eclectic theatrical treats the school has on offer throughout the year. Kids can choose between musical theatre or acting for ages four to 11, and there's acting for camera for ages 12 to 18. Adults can try stage combat or an introduction to acting, and the whole family can take in the on-street dramathon taking place throughout the night. More details here.
Irish Film Institute
6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2; 6-8.30pm
Get ready for the annual dive into the collections of the IFI Irish Film Archive. Enjoy three programmes of family-friendly Irish shorts, dating from the 1940s to the present day. Take a whistle-stop tour through the history of short-film production in Ireland, and view newsreels, animations, dramas and public information films. More details here.
Malahide Castle and Gardens
Malahide, Co Dublin; 4-7pm
Visit the fabulous castle and gardens, an award-winning visitor attraction. Once owned by the Talbot family, the castle has friendly and passionate guides who take great pleasure in retelling the story of the Talbots at Malahide, from the Oak Room to the Great Hall – not forgetting the castle's five known ghostly residents. Booking essential via the castle website. More event details here.
Deadlines and More Deadlines!
Meeting House, Ballitore, Co Kildare; 8-10pm
Griese Youth Theatre present Forty-Five Minutes by Anya Reiss, a play about exam deadlines, hopes and fears, with a postshow discussion and study tips. Over-13s (strong language); booking required. More details here.
Baby Culture Night with Branar
Hawk's Well Theatre, Temple Street, and the Model Niland, The Mall; 5-10pm
A breakthrough space encouraging child-directed free play, enabling children and their families to have hours of fun as they imagine, invent, build and play. Facilitated through the Irish and English language across two Sligo venues. More details here.
Bilingual Tour and Explore
Carlow County Museum; 4pm
Carlow County Museum will have a free family-friendly, interactive, bilingual tour of Ireland's newest local-authority museum. Families can complete a quiz as they visit the galleries, identify mystery objects and handle some artefacts – as well as get ideas for hundreds more questions to ask parents and grandparents. More details here.
Drumming for Everyone
The Plaza, Main Street, Cashel; 5.30-6.30pm and 8.15-9pm
Grab a drum and find your inner rhythm with Jabba Jabba Jembe drumming group. A great family activity, open to kids, parents and grandparents alike. Experience the excitement, energy and satisfaction of making music in the moment at these energy-packed interactive workshops. More details here.
The Temper Tantrums
An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny; 7pm
Following the success of his solo show, Little Folk: On Tour, Kyle Riley is back and bringing the band The Temper Tantrums. The Sing to Me tour features original songs, some traditional children's music and a little something for the adults, too. It's an hour of folk and rock music, sure to get you moving. Fun for the whole family. More details here.
Engage, Express, Explore: Intercultural Evening
Roscommon Arts Centre; 5pm
An evening of theatre, music and dance from Roscommon Women's Network in association with Roscommon County Council. There will be a mix of Irish dancing and Brazilian capoeira martial arts, the melodic jazz sounds of a local Slovakian family band and a newly devised theatre piece developed around the themes of displacement, home, belonging and your community. More details here.
Pitch'd Circus Arts Festival
Coal Quay, Skiddy's Plaza and Cornmarket Street; 7pm, 9pm and 10pm
Join Pitch'd Circus Arts Festival at 7pm on Skiddy's Plaza for street performances, see a community fire and circus show at 9pm or watch Inferno's FireStorm at 10pm, both on Cornmarket Street. Check out pitchdfestival.ie for full festival details. More event details here.
Run Away with the Circus
Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre; 4- 5pm
Katie Holmes and Emily Aoibheann, who teach and train at Creation Aerial, are set to wow the crowd with aerial tricks, dance, movement and poetry. More details here.
Cruises Street, Chapel Street, Denmark Street; 8-9pm
Similar to last year but bigger, say the organisers, who promise a pig float, live piglets, a brass band, and schoolchildren with pig-themed arts and crafts. They have involved more schools, and are encouraging families to get involved by making the parade a colourful pig-themed mini festival. More details here.
PS2, Spencer House, 69- 71 Royal Avenue; 7- 9.30pm
Clay is full of creative potential. You can form, shape or kick it into whatever form you imagine, sculpt small objects or throw – with the assistance of experts – small magic cups, bulging vases or tiny rings. More details here.
Writers Square; 7-10pm
Volunteers from the local section of the Royal Society of Chemistry will be giving out free glow sticks. Find out how this wonderful chemical reaction happens, in a 60-second enlightening chat with one of the friendly chemists on hand. Then you can be the bright spark at this year's event. More details here.
Family Fun at Start360
6-10 William Street; 3-6pm
Take part in a wide range of family fun activities, including arts and crafts, and a 4pm appearance from local celebrity balloon modeller Ryan Tracey of Duff Balloons (as seen on Britain's Got Talent, Blue Peter and Ninja Warrior). More details here.
Culture Night's full listings are here
Bus Éireann has three Culture Night routes in Cork, Orange: City Hall, Eglinton Street, to Blackrock Castle; Pink: City Hall, Terence McSweeney Quay, to Collins Barracks; and Green: City Hall, Anglesea Street, to Wilton Road
Culture Night is producing four podcasts in association with Headstuff Podcast Network. The topics are cultural spaces; the Irish language; music; and cities as playgrounds. Guests include the musician Daithi, the Irish-language writer Gabriel Rosenstock, Fiona Kearney of the Glucksman Cork and Edel Tobin of Waterford Walls Festival. You can download episodes here from Friday morning