Saturday 23 June 2018

It's access all areas on culture night

Night to remember: Entertainment at Smithfield
Night to remember: Entertainment at Smithfield
The Lilliput Press
New Theatre
Windmill Lane Studios
Worst Dublin Tour Ever
Aerial Cirque
Rob Doyle
War of the Buttons

Culture Night 2017 is almost upon us, with artistic and historical venues across the country opening their doors to the public for one special evening.

The event has grown from humble origins as a Dublin-specific initiative in 2005 and has now captured the national imagination, with over 200,000 people attending Culture Night talks and exhibitions annually.

With more organisations than ever participating this year, adults and children alike are counting down to Friday, September 22. Here, with just a fortnight to go, are our top picks, though given the sheer range of things to see and do, we are merely scratching the surface. A full programme of events is accessible at

1. Aerial Cirque perform 'Arc' at Barnardo Square, Dublin

Aerial Cirque

The popular aerial performance group - think Cirque du Soleil with an Irish twist and minus the Vegas bombast - will host two "cocoon" classes for parents and children, with a performance of student members of the troupe to follow. The contrast between the graceful pirouettes and the hubbub of central Dublin will add another layer to what is sure to be a memorable evening.

Barnardo Square (just off Dame Street), Dublin, 5pm-9pm.

2: Tour of Windmill Lane Recording Studios

Windmill Lane Studios

Behind a humble metal door stands one of the most iconic locations in Irish music. Windmill Lane is synonymous with U2, for whom the studio is a home away from home. All of their iconic records were at least part-recorded in this labyrinthine facility. The Script, Sinead O'Connor, Shania Twain, Ed Sheeran and The Spice Girls have also worked here, making it a true landmark of Irish popular culture. The tour will also feature live performances by surprise guests.

Ringsend Road, Dublin, 6pm-10pm.

3: Readings at the Lilliput Press

The Lilliput Press

In the heart of Stonybatter, Lilliput Press will throw open the doors to its offices for readings by up and coming authors such as Rob Doyle (below), Aidan Matthews, John Patrick McHugh and others. Proprietor Antony Farrell will also share war stories from the world of publishing - sure to be of interest to avid readers and would-be writers alike and you can also peruse Lilliput Press's expansive catalogue.

Rob Doyle

Sitric Rd, Arbour Hill, Dublin, 5pm-9pm.

4. Acting at the New Theatre

New Theatre

Budding thespians can put their acting skills to the test as they take part in scene readings from Nora, Gerard Humphrey's upcoming play which examines the Northern Ireland hunger strikes from a female perspective. You'll have 15 minutes under the spotlight, so make the most of it. The intimate theatre is regarded as one of the capital's dramatic hubs - this is an unique opportunity to tread its intimate boards. And don't worry if you flub your lines. This isn't X Factor so nobody will huff at you Simon Cowell-style.

Temple Bar, Dublin 5pm-9.30pm.

5. Celebration of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington

The pioneering feminist and suffragette is honoured with a "site specific" instillation at Cathal Brugha Barracks by artist-in-residence Margaret Fitzgibbon. The prisoner's yard and cells will be "animated" with her "imaginary presence". Spooky and informative, with poetry readings, military demonstrations and a ukulele band.

Military Road, Rathmines, Dublin 5pm-9pm

6. Interactive playground at Smithfield Square

The popular "interactive playground" returns to Smithfield, with workshops and drumming, dance and fencing classes. Recommended for all ages.

Smithfield, Dublin, 5pm-10pm.

7. The Worst Tour of Dublin Ever

Worst Dublin Tour Ever

See a different side to Dublin with a tongue-in-cheek tour of the capital that sidesteps the usual cliches - no Molly Malone statue, the organisers promise - to bring you a side of the city guide books don't tell you about.

Begins outside Chez Max restaurant, Palace Street, Dublin, 5pm-9pm.

8. Film screenings at Cork City Hall

War of the Buttons

One of the city's most famous landmarks throws opens its doors for free screenings of Irish and international films, including, at 5.15pm, a rare chance to see David Putnam's War Of The Buttons on the big screen. Also at City Hall, the Lord Mayor's chambers will be open to the public - a unique opportunity to explore the history of the city through the experiences of its first citizen, based in these rooms since 1936.

Cork City Hall, from 3.30pm.

9. Talk on the life of Eleanor Shackleton

The fascinating life story of Eleanor Shackleton, sister of Antarctic explorer Ernest, is brought vividly to life by Shackleton expert Sharon Greene. Raised in Kildare, she became a nurse and served in the killing fields of World War I.

Ballitore Library & Quaker Museum, Co Kildare, 7pm-8.30pm.

10. ReCreate Workshop at Russborough

Historic Russborough house will lay out the welcome mat, with tours, talks and screenings - plus there will be an open play-space where children are invited to create art from cardboard, yarn, chalk crayons and twine. It's recommended kids wear old clothes. Russborough is also home to the National Bird of Prey Centre, which will be open free of charge.

Russborough, Blessington, Co Wicklow, 5.30pm-7.30pm.

11. The History of Limerick City and County Through The Medium of Postcards

A fascinating journey through the annals of Limerick is presented with this collection of postcards stretching back to the 19th century, as collected by Canon Donough O'Malley. Think of it as Reeling In The Years without the irritating music. Also worth seeing is the venue, St John's Cathedral, designed by noted 19th century architect Philip Charles Hardwick and completed in 1861.

St John's Cathedral, Cathedral Place, Limerick, 6.30pm-7.30pm.

12. The Norah Barnacle House

A sound instillation by composer and aural artist Francis Heery, inspired by the relationship between James Joyce and Nora Barnacle, will be performed at Nora Barnacle House Museum. This is the very building in which Nora lived with her mother and six siblings until 1904. A treat for Joyce lovers, fans of contemporary composition and anyone curious as regarding life in turn-of-the-century Ireland.

Bowling Green, Co Galway, 5pm-11pm.

13. Family Workshop at Garter Lane Arts Centre

Fun for kids and adults alike as the art of portraiture in the age of the selfie is explored. Works by artists Sinead McDonald and Debbie Godsell will be on hand to serve as inspiration. Children must be accompanied.

O'Connell Street, Co Waterford, 5pm-7pm.

14. Meet the Curator at Medieval Mile Museum

With St Mary's Church and graveyard as backdrop, the recently opened museum explores Kilkenny's distinct heritage. Entry is free on Culture Night and the museum's curator will talk about the powerful figures from Kilkenny's past who shaped the city-scape and continue to influence the region today.

St Mary's Lane, Co Kilkenny, 6pm-8pm.

15. Medieval Family Fun

Get your "hey nonny nonny" on as the Kerry Medieval Living History Group present a talk about life and death in the Dark Ages, while wearing authentic medieval garb. The museum features an interactive recreation of life in 15th century Tralee, when the area was ruled by the powerful Earls of Desmond.

Kerry Country Museum, Tralee, 6pm-10pm.

Irish Independent

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