From flame throwing on Dame Street to curragh racing on the Liffey and all things from fashion to the Legion of Mary, as Culture Night takes the streets of the capital by storm.
‘Hoards of ‘culture vultures’ are roaming around in thirsty search of the intriguing, the thought-provoking, the different – and very importantly, the fun.
But be careful out there. It’s frenzied, it’s feverish and it is more than a little frustrating. Artistic differences are a very real thing as groups of friends hotly debate what to do, where to go and what to see.
On the tenth anniversary of Culture Night, the event shows no sign of waning, with more than 1,500 venues in 41 regions, towns and cities around Ireland threw their door open for a diverse mix of 3,000 free events.
In Dublin, over 250 venues threw open their doors with highlights including Curragh Racing on the Liffey organised by Oireachtas na Gaeilge, a cultural running tour around Dublin from Runlogic; the Freemason Hall, headquarters of the Freemasons in Ireland is open to explore – and there’s even a special one hour tour through the smaller streets of Dublin in a Tuk Tuk.
Getting in an early start at Temple Bar Square in Dublin were the Line-Up gospel and spiritual choir.
Not officially part of Culture Night - they were actually part of the Buckets for Barnardos appeal, nevertheless they fitted in nicely with a feel good factor.
Down a tiny alleyway off Temple Bar at Aston Place, artist Aga Szot had opened her studio installation inspired by Francis Bacon.
From the dulcet tones of the RTE Philharmonic Choir singing Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves to the holiday feel of the Stomptown Brass band, the cobblestones of Trinity College offered very different experiences for culture junkies.
“Outside Dublin Castle, the Dublin Circus Project mesmerised audiences with fire juggling.
Young juggler Oisin O’Carroll (17) from Dublin said he had been training with the project since he was 13, while Poi artiste Erika Brocca from Italy swung balls of flames with deceptive ease as she simultaneously did the splits and literally bent over backwards.
She moved to this country two years ago and said there is an exciting circus community in Ireland. “We are doing things here than are not happening in Italy,” she said.
Daniel Keenan (7) and brother Patrick (5) from Inchicore were taking it all in.
While Barry Honan from Dublin had brought his children Emily (9) and Ben (7) in to soak up the atmosphere.
Asked what their favourite thing so far was, both declared: “Dublinia.”
And their worst? Queuing for Dublinia.
Belgian tourist Jeff Goetstouwers said he had been unaware of Culture Night but was looking forward to checking out what was on offer.
In Temple Bar, artist Aga Szot had opened her Francis Bacon-inspired studio to the public, having first opened on Culture Night last year.
“It’s a struggle – I don’t make money but it’s a passion,” she admitted.
At The Ark in Temple Bar, children enjoyed “40 ridiculous minutes” of crazy poems, silly songs and nonsense rhymes, with the intriguing invitation: “Whether you’re as big as a house or as small as a shoe, strap on your custard wings and tune your gnu.”
Plenty did and the Ark – like pretty much everywhere else, was booked out solid.