Stay healthy on Culture Night

Health and wellbeing venues around the country will host workshops, music, films and debate on everything from sustainable food production to reducing the stigma of mental illness

We usually associate the annual extravaganza of Culture Night with late-night art gallery and museum openings, spontaneous street music and tours of architecturally and culturally significant buildings. But there are a number of health and wellbeing venues which also throw open their doors this Friday to offer free workshops, music, films and debate on everything from sustainable food production to reducing the stigma of mental illness.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services is a stalwart of Dublin Culture Night and this year, a series of films from the #StillJustMe anti-stigma campaign and Frame of Mind short film competition will be shown in the lecture hall at St Patrick’s University Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8, from 5pm-9pm.

Communications manager Tamara Nolan says St Patrick's Mental Health Services sees partaking in Culture Night as "an important opportunity to celebrate the healing power of culture, give voice to those experiencing mental-health difficulties, and to spark conversations which change attitudes and combat stigma around mental health".

Jonathan Swift, founder of St Patrick's Hospital, was passionate about culture and the arts, and Nolan says his legacy has always played an important part in their vision of mental health recovery. "Expressing ourselves through the arts and participating in cultural activities empowers us to actively engage and explore our feelings and thoughts creatively, bringing therapeutic benefits and helping us to move towards positive mental health and wellbeing."

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The nearby Dr Steevens' Hospital (opposite Heuston Station) – now administrative headquarters for the HSE – will open its doors for guided tours of the rare books in the Edward Worth Library from 6pm-8pm. Entertainment will be provided by the Dublin Theatre of the Deaf, Deaf Folk Dance Ireland and the Dublin Deaf Choir. Meanwhile, Tallaght University Hospital choir will be among the performers entertaining patients, staff and visitors at Tallaght University Hospital from 4pm-8pm.

Free taster classes

The elbowroom in Dublin's Stoneybatter is a popular centre for yoga, Pilates, Zumba and meditation classes. On Culture Night, the elbowroom opens its four studios to free taster classes in everything from sound bath yoga (no swimwear needed, just a chance to soak up soothing sounds of bells and human voice in this passive yoga class) to meditation sessions to bump art (where pregnant women can have their bulging bellies painted). See the-elbowroom.com for advance booking.

The Sanctuary mindfulness and meditation centre on Stanhope Street, Dublin 7, will host drop-in guided meditations on the hour between 5pm-9pm. Other Dublin yoga studios open for Culture Night include Groundstate Yoga, 48-50 James's Street, and Samadhi Yoga Studios, Cows Lane, Temple Bar.

If you’re interested in sustainable food production and how to cook and eat healthy local food, head to the Fumbally Stables, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8, to hear chefs and food producers talk about how it’s done from 6pm-9pm.

Outside of Dublin, health-related events on culture night include a taster laughter yoga class in the Fairgreen Holistic Clinic, 33 South Main Street, Naas, Co Kildare, from 7pm-8pm. Unlike most other forms of yoga, laughter yoga doesn't require people to take on specific poses. Instead, it focuses on breathing exercises and gentle stretching combined with a playfulness which encourages spontaneous and contagious laughter.

In Mayo, a group of Taoist Tai Chi practitioners will demonstrate the meditative art outdoors in Ballina from 8pm-8.30pm.

And, finally, if you’re the active type and you can’t decide what to go to, consider joining the Culture Night running tour, starting from Runlogic, 3-4 Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, at 6.30pm, with plans to visit some of the best Culture Night exhibits in the vicinity.

See culturenight.ie for full programme of events scheduled for this Friday.