Downstairs Dublin: Merrion Square’s basements come alive for Culture Night

Back for a second year, The Irish Times prepares to retake Merrion Square for Culture night

 Downstairs Dublin:  The Irish Times HQ for the night  is at the Irish Architectural Archive at 45 Merrion Square, above,  but  at least 20 of the square’s famous basements will be colonised for the night. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Downstairs Dublin: The Irish Times HQ for the night is at the Irish Architectural Archive at 45 Merrion Square, above, but at least 20 of the square’s famous basements will be colonised for the night. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The Irish Times’ Downstairs Dublin returns for this year’s Culture Night on September 18th. Running in twenty basement venues around Merrion Square, events include The Talk Show Hub with Irish Times journalists, gigs, poetry therapists with emotional biscuits, a curious café, mystery books and a new way of seeing National Gallery treasures on the street.

Irish Times journalists including Fintan O’Toole, Kathy Sheridan, Una Mullally, Conor Pope, Patrick Freyne and Catherine Cleary will pull up an armchair in the outdoor sitting room for an evening of interviews and chats with invited guests. Feis Ceoil winners will perform during intervals as each of the journalists prepares to take their turn in the spotlight.

Over 8,000 people visited The Irish Times Downstairs Dublin in 2014. This year’s focus is on architecture, property and design and will see commissioned installations by leading and emerging artists and makers, specially designed sets as backdrops for music and performances, along with garden design, lighting and architectural installations.

There will be plenty of music, fashion, film and food to enjoy too. Number 64 on Merrion Square will play home to a Hard Working Class Heroes stage, featuring acts from this year’s festival, while one of Ireland’s most successful fashion designers, Louise Kennedy, will take over the basement in number 56.

Building on last year’s exhibition, visual artist Jenny Brady will have another funky installation in number 70. Screenings of archival footage, the Architecture Film Competition winners and Irish language films can be viewed in various basements throughout the square.

On the west side, people can venture downstairs into number 89, go through a garden made to resemble a picture from the National Gallery before emerging at number 88. Here, visitors will be greeted by a life-size projection of the 1864 watercolour, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Clare artist Frederic William Burton.

A series of 10-minute yoga sessions in number 39 promises to help improve your life for the better, though poetry therapists housed under a giant book cover might try do the same thing, but in a different way. And if you find yourself with any leftover aggression, you can pump it out in a safe way with a five-minute boxercise session in number 41.

Everything from food to street performances to Nós architects building a structure in real time will delight adults and kids alike throughout the evening.

The Irish Architectural Archive building at 45 Merrion Square hosts The Irish Times Downstairs Dublin in their basement and garden. They also offer tours of their building on the night and details can be found here iarc.ie

The Irish Times’ Downstairs Dublin is supported by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Culture Night, the ESB and Fáilte Ireland
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