Up to 3,000 free artistic events to be staged as Culture Night kicks off
As many as 3,000 free artistic events across Ireland could be staged this evening, as final preparations for Culture Night 2015 get underway.
Hundreds of thousands of families, young people and culture vultures are expected to attend various events as the all-island celebration of arts goes from strength to strength.
A sneak peek inside Leinster House, a 'Culture Crawl' on Achill Island and a punk party in Paris' Irish Cultural Centre are just some of the offerings on the programme this year.
Attendance at Culture Night events has grown steadily over its 10-year lifetime - it attracted 40,000 people when it first began to 350,000 people in 2014.
Culture Night Co-ordinator Aimee Van Wylick said that the number of culturally curious attendees could be higher than ever in 2015.
"The programme has grown hugely," she said. "I think we will definitely exceed 350,000 this year."
Ms Van Wylick told the Irish Independent that 1,500 locations for Culture Night had been registered on its website, and that each location could host multiple events.
She estimated that the total number of events could exceed 3,000, though she called this estimate "conservative".
"This week alone, we've had an increase in the number of venues," she said, adding that the James Joyce Tower and Solomon Gallery in Dublin have only recently been added to the schedule. "It has just gone viral."
Leinster House has also made 1,650 tickets available for those who wish to visit the historic building, which will be open from 5pm to 11pm.
This year's theme is 'Revolves Around You' and promises to offer cultural experiences for all ages.
"It revolves around the artists, the organisation but also the public," said Ms Van Wylick.
A document for the proposed National Cultural Policy was released by Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys in August, and is entitled Culture 2025.
Public meetings will be held in Cavan, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny and Dublin throughout September and October.
"I view the development of Culture 2025 as a chance to reflect the important role that culture plays in our lives," the minister said.
"It should also help to create a platform for bringing together the various cultural bodies and groups at a local, regional and national level.
"The series of local workshops to be held in the coming weeks will ensure people across the country are given an opportunity to have their views heard."
Regional meetings for the National Cultural Policy continue until October, and submissions will be accepted until September 30.
For event listings and further information, visit www.culturenight.ie.