Saturday 10 December 2016

Culture Night 2016: Thousands flock to city centres to savour best of Irish creativity

Jane O’Faherty

Published 16/09/2016 | 21:17

Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle.
Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells

As the first handfuls of curious culture vultures appeared across Dublin, you could have imagined a rather reserved Friday evening in Dublin.

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But Culture Night 2016 proved it wasn’t going to be a quiet event, as soon thousands arrived in the capital to savour some of the best of Irish creativity.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys was among the first to hit the cultural trail, arriving early to Dublin Castle.

“This is a busy night, but it’s a really, really good night,” she said.

Caoilfhinn Groake from Killiney came with her two children Euan (8) and Romilly (11), and was one of the first in line to have her face painted in St Stephen’s Green. 

“We just wanted to bring the children in while it’s early,” she said. 

“We’ll stick around the Trinity area tonight and bring them to see the Alliance Francaise, the Little Museum and the square,” she added.  “We’d like to show them the atmosphere and what Dublin looks like at night.”

Spectacular scenes were spotted in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square, as Aerial Cirque performed a truly stunning and magnificent vertical dance.

Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle.
Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells
Culture Night with RTE in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Pic Maxwells

Abseiling down the surrounding buildings, the troupe bounced off a canvas while weaving designs in red wool.

Near St Stephen’s Green, Boston College was the scene of a magic lantern show, a music for deaf audiences workshop and a Nigerian choir performance.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International invited the curious to Fleet St to hear the stories and poetry of migrants in Calais and Dunkirk.

Outside of the capital, Galway hosted events as wide ranging from stories of direct provision to a sneak peak into the building of Galway Hookers, the city’s iconic cargo boats.

Those seeking more hands-on events were also treated to a brief lesson in aerial yoga, hoola-hooping and balancing acts with Galway Community Circus in Shantalla.  

Night owls then plan to head to the Culture Night Party in the Róisín Dubh, featuring sessions from local acts like My Fellow Sponges, New Pope and Tracy Bruen.

Meanwhile, Wexford town embraced culture from outside of Ireland, welcoming three Shaolin masters for a spectacular Kung Fu display at the Irish National Heritage Park.

But the varied programme ventured far further than Irish shores. Capitals across the world also joined in the festivities, with the showcasing of several Irish artists.

Belfast painter Colin Davidson opened his exhibition, Reflected Gleams, at the Irish Arts Centre in New York.

Colin has immortalised famous faces from Angela Merkel to Glen Hansard, and his new collection will run in the Big Apple until the end of the month

Meanwhile, the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris hosted ‘The Souvenir Shop’, an art installation taking inspiration from Tom Clarke’s 1916 tobacconist.

Caoilfhionn Groarke, from Killiney, with her son Euan (8) and daughter Romilly (11), getting their faces painted in Boston College. Below, Hannah Thomson, from Glanmire, with Elisabetta Mazza of the Glucksman Gallery, Cork having fun at the Teddys Bear Walk.

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