Heritage to beat the band on Culture Night
Poetry, famine suppers, paintings, and African drums is just a sample of the cultural feast enjoyed by 'culture vultures' across the county on Friday night as Kerry's museums, galleries, historic houses, artists' studios, and cultural centres became a hive of activity.
Kerry is a county unrivalled in terms of its rich heritage, and Culture Night is that one event in the year when the past is brought creatively to life in a multitude of remarkable and engaging ways. The weather also played its part as the dry evening meant navigating from venue to venue was made that bit more pleasant.
Funded by the Department of Heritage and Gaeltacht and Creative Ireland, Culture Night is run in partnership with Kerry County Council and crowds of people came out in great numbers in places like Tralee, Killarney, Listowel, Dingle, Castleisland, Ballinskelligs, Kenmare, Waterville, and Killorglin - to name but a few locations.
Killorglin was the first town to switch on the Culture Night buzz with poetry reading and music, while a well-informed audience enjoyed artist Pauline Bewick who talked about her life and work.
Tralee also got the show underway early as students from Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School provided some Alice In Wonderland themed fun. The Square attracted a huge turnout for dance, circus, music and lots of family fun events. There was a standing ovation at Siamsa Tíre for the dance show 'It Takes A Village' by choreographer Catherine Young.
The County Museum hosted tours, workshops, music and medieval family fun, while Rebecca Babington's art installation in Roundy's Bar wowed everyone.
It was all things literary at The Abbey Inn where a reading session by John Sexton and local poet Noel King entertained crowds. At Tralee International Resource Centre the beat of African drums was the showpiece.
Over in Killarney, the Cultural Centre and Killarney House hosted music, a youth choir, choral, song, dance and theatre. Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny were in concert at Muckross Traditional Farms. The visual arts was well represented on the night with selected Kerry artists showcasing their work at Government Buildings (a show that runs until October 17). Meanwhile in Fossa, Tureencahill, Castleisland, and Listowel there was plenty of song, dance and céilí long into the evening at community centres and public houses.
A large crowd gathered at The Listowel Arms Hotel to hear Fergal Keane read from his new book 'Wounds: A Memoir of War and Love'. This was preceded by poetry readings at the Lartigue Monorail, while at the Olive Stack Gallery attendees were treated to spectacular mosaic demonstrations.
In Dingle, artist Áine Ní Chiobháin led the crowd in art, music and demo making at Nellie Fred's and she had audiences sketching Culture Night events across the town.
Creative Ireland 'Kerry Youth Choral' events also featured in Cahersiveen, Tralee, Listowel and Killarney, while in Ballinskelligs there was a great attendance for a tour of the artist's retreat and famine village at Bolus head. This was followed by a famine supper in the house - a house once lived in by Seanchaí Sean Ó Connaill.
All in all, it was another enjoyable occasion and the hope is that people will now continue to experience the vast array of cultural events Kerry has to offer on a weekly basis.