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 PJ Murphy Sweny's pharmacy shop manager and Culture Night Ambassadors songwriter, musician and vocal artist Jack L & singer and songwriter Miss Kate prepared for Culture Night 2014

PJ Murphy Sweny's pharmacy shop manager and Culture Night Ambassadors songwriter, musician and vocal artist Jack L & singer and songwriter Miss Kate prepared for Culture Night 2014

PJ Murphy Sweny's pharmacy shop manager and Culture Night Ambassadors songwriter, musician and vocal artist Jack L & singer and songwriter Miss Kate prepared for Culture Night 2014

CULTURE Night hopes to "wake up" a nation of people who spend too much time glued to their mobile phones or computer screens and make them aware of the talent and beauty they walk past each day.

Last year's festival welcomed around 350,000 people to some of Ireland's most iconic cultural venues. With more than 1,400 free events planned, organisers are hoping for more of the same this time around.

Coordinator, Aimee van Wylick said this Friday night is all about making us aware of the culture that surrounds us throughout the year.

She said the extra events put on by cultural organisations throughout the country were what made the night so special - and warned audiences not to get too "overawed" by the huge variety to chose from.

"I would select just a couple of things to do and not go too mad. Just appreciate those things and then wander around the streets wherever you are," she said.

Musicians Jack L and Miss Kate met up in Sweny's Pharmacy in Dublin to discuss plans for Friday.

The pharmacy - a Culture Night attraction in its own right thanks to its role in James Joyce's 'Ulysses' - is so untouched by modern life, there are still prescriptions and photographs from as far back as 1903 behind the counter.

Miss Kate said she was looking forward to checking out some of the music on show in Dublin's Merrion Square on an "extremely important" night for the arts scene in Ireland.

"Ireland is renowned worldwide for art and culture and sometimes we forget that ourselves. I think it is so important to celebrate that and remind everyone," she said.

The soulful songstress will be showcasing her debut EP alongside some special cover versions in the shop window of Tower Records on the night.

Jack L, who made his breakthrough as a solo artist in 1999, will perform alongside the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin's Meeting House Square.

He said people needed to re-discover the "communal experience" of live theatre and music.

"In the modern age, when everybody is stuck on their mobile phone, I think it is more important than ever to feed your imagination with real things and engage with people," he said.

Since it began as a relatively small-scale Dublin event in 2006, Culture Night has grown into a country-wide cross-border cultural movement.

The full programme of events is available at culturenight.ie

Irish Independent