Some 400,000 expected to celebrate Culture Night

Event to see ‘an eclectic mix of cultural and artistic endeavour’ on September 20th

 Samba dancers  Michele Silva and Kelly Baldonado at Trinity College Dublin for the Culture Night launch.

Samba dancers Michele Silva and Kelly Baldonado at Trinity College Dublin for the Culture Night launch.

 


The Government yesterday launched its eighth annual nationwide drive to encourage people to engage with and participate in Irish culture.

Culture Night will see 34 areas north and south of the Border present “an eclectic mix of cultural and artistic endeavour” on September 20th. The scheme is receiving €305,000 in public funding.

Cultural institutions around Ireland are to run special programmes and remain open late into the night to enable people who would not otherwise be able to experience culture, due to work or other commitments, to do so.

The events will all be free of charge. Dublin Bus and the Luas will transport people for free in the capital, where events will include live music, dance, theatre, spoken word, literature, visual art and interactive tours.

The night will involve more than 150 cultural venues in Dublin, including Leinster House. The RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform live in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar.

The event attracted some 300,000 people across Irelandlast year. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said yesterday he expected this figure to grow to 400,000 this year.

“It’s very important because it really encourages people to participate in cultural events they wouldn’t normally participate in. The hope is that having been initiated into some aspect of the arts, they will continue that interest,” he said. “They are really embracing it in Northern Ireland, which is great because culture transcends all boundaries – political and otherwise.”


Culture’s intrinsic value
In terms of benefit to the economy and the potential for drawing tourists to the country, Mr Deenihan said it was more geared towards Irish people and that it was the “intrinsic value of the culture more than the economic value we are pushing here”.

“The whole philosophy around Culture Night is to encourage Irish people to understand and appreciate our own culture. It has been very much directed at Irish people. It’s a celebration of Irish culture by Irish people,” he said.

“If it so happens there are tourists in the area – obviously they will enjoy it too – but it’s really to encourage Irish people and residents from different locations to come out and enjoy their own culture. That’s the real message.”

He noted culture was worth more than €3 billion to the Irish economy and said local economies around the country would receive a spin-off from the events. “People will be out on the streets, drinking coffee, eating in restaurants, maybe making a night of it – so there is definitely a spin-off.”