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Friday 22nd September 2023

Openness | Discovery | Celebration | Belonging

Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir is a national moment, celebrating all that makes up the richness and diversity of Culture in Ireland today, connecting people to cultural activities locally and nationally and aims to open up pathways to ongoing engagement.

An annual, all-island public event which takes place each year on the second last Friday of September, Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir celebrates culture, creativity and the arts and seeks to actively promote the belief that this rich and varied culture is alive, treasured and nurtured in people’s lives, today and every day.

Special and unique events and workshops are specifically programmed at participating locations and, thanks to the continued support of the Arts Council and local Authorities across the island of Ireland, all activities are made available to the public free of charge.

An initiative of Temple Bar Cultural Trust / Dublin City Council, Culture Night began as an innovative but relatively modest local event in 2006 with 40 venues opening free and late in the evening in Dublin’s Temple Bar, expanding citywide in 2007, more than doubling in size with 87 cultural institutions participating.


In 2008 Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford became part of the initiative and created a Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir offering and by 2009 the number of participating cities numbered ten expanding to include Tralee, Roscommon, Mayo, Wexford, Sligo and Belfast.


In 2010 the number of cities involved had doubled to 20 throughout the Republic, including the islands of Tory and Inis Meáin, the Gaeltacht regions and north of the border Derry joined Belfast in hosting Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir.


In 2012 Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir became an international event with Irish Culture Nights held in London, Leeds, Newcastle and Liverpool.


Over the intervening years Culture Night has grown in scale and profile becoming an established and popular part of our national cultural calendar, with international participation in Irish centres and overseas missions growing year on year.


In 2015 Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir celebrated it’s 10th birthday with 1,500 events and in 2016 in partnership with Ireland 2016, Dublin City Council and the OPW, RTÉ presented a Centenary special series of live and broadcast events in Dublin Castle for Culture Night. That year approximately 3,000 events took place across 40 towns, cities and regions.


In 2017 events were held in Paris and New York for the first time. In 2019 the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht moved responsibility for Culture Night to the Arts Council.


In 2020 in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir became a hybrid of digital and in-person events. RTÉ replaced their annual concert with a series of special broadcasts, commissioned performances and live concerts across television, radio and online. And through a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs cultural unit events were held in London Paris, Berlin and New York.

Culture Night is brought to you by the Arts Council, in partnership with local authorities and cultural organisations throughout the island of Ireland.

What is culture?

While ‘Culture’ by its very nature is fluid and evolving – it is understood to be:

“A set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual, and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.”

UNESCO, Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity


The Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir programme reflects this diversity and is across a wide range of sectors – culture, arts, heritage, education, hospitality, tourism, health and commercial and corporate enterprise.


Who is it for?

Culture Night invites everyone, everywhere, on one joyful night to discover and celebrate all that our culture is today.  Arts and cultural organisations and venues of all shapes and sizes, from independent studios and art-spaces to national cultural institutions, extend their opening hours to allow increased access for the public.


Culture Night happens because many people share a vision and enthusiasm for enjoying, celebrating and promoting creativity and culture. Its diversity is reflected in the scope and range of events and people who participate – and it aims to continue connecting with both engaged audiences as well as extending its reach to those who may not always have access.


Culture Night has evolved to become a collaborative experience with an emphasis on opening doors, welcoming people into new spaces and the discovery of different experiences meaning that Culture Night continues to belong to us all.

The following list gives a taste of the wide range of people and institutions that help make Culture Night happen each year: the public, artists, performing groups, galleries, museums, sports clubs, libraries, arts centres, craft workers, studios and workshops, theatres, public spaces, broadcasters, schools, community groups, local authorities, government departments, state agencies and public bodies, transport companies, universities, shops and many more.

For one night only, the island of Ireland and select international locations become YOUR free cultural playground, where you’re invited to seek out the culture around every corner.

How can you get involved as an organiser, community group or artist ?

Participation for local groups and communities is through your local Arts Office who oversee the organisation of the  programme of events in each region/county.

You can do this by filling in the expression of interest form which is available on the Get Involved page

The contacts for all Arts Offices can be found on our contact us  section.

If you are a national organisation or institution you can contact the national coordinator directly – [email protected]

For more information on Culture Night Event & Venue Criteria view our terms of participation section

Please note that the local Arts Office or national coordinator decision in relation to inclusion in the programme is final

Thank you to all organisations who are planning to take part.

To register for a webinar please contact [email protected]

There are further resources available in our organiser toolkit 

The Arts Council’s #PayTheArtist policy is being highlighted in our terms of participation to ensure that artists who are invited to perform and participate are paid. It is also recognised that many artists also freely volunteer and participation in Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir in many different ways is very welcome.

Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir organisers are also encouraged to consider the Arts Council’s Equality, Human Rights & Diversity Policy & Strategy when programming for this year’s event.

We strive to ensure that the programme promotes diversity and inclusion, welcoming all communities, both new and established.

Culture Night Event & Venue Criteria:

Please note that the Local Arts Office or National coordinator decision in relation to inclusion in the programme is final 

Culture Night respects, supports and ensures the inclusion of all voices and cultures that make up Ireland today, from all sections of society, from existing and new communities, and from all social backgrounds, ethnicities and traditions’** to ensure this objective.

All events must embrace the following:

Be free (although groups or organisations may seek donations but access isn’t dependent on this)

Be  registered through the relevant Arts Office/local authority or the national coordinator and uploaded to the national programme/website

Embrace the Arts Council’s Pay the Artist  policy and ensure that all engaged artists and practitioners are paid, unless participating in a voluntary capacity or as part of a community group

Be open to all and seek to create a sense of community and belonging – and promote the belief that I am part of this and this is part of me.

All events must demonstrate their commitment to at least one of the following:

Reflect and enhance the definition of culture outlined in ‘what is culture Night’ and embrace openness, discovery, celebration and belonging

Clearly seek to raise awareness of a cultural experience, has an educational value, an element of discovery and opens up future pathways to engagement

Promote diversity and inclusion through the celebration of creative communities, both new and established

Seek to engage with and create opportunities for increased participation with those who may not always have easy access to events of a cultural nature, particularly, but not limited to, the following often marginalised groups

  • – asylum seekers, refugees and migrants
  • –  D/deaf culture or arts and disability;
  • –  Irish Traveller culture;
  • – those promoting  gender equality;
  • –  under-represented groups.

Celebrate the value that art, culture and creativity bring to our lives and provide a platform and exposure for cultural organisations, activities and facilities and community groups

Seek to actively promote cultural diversity, particularly intercultural encounters

Build on existing community resources and networks in order to further their cultural development and increase their reach

Recognise the value of artists’ work and embrace the Arts Council’s Pay the Artist policy

Provide a platform for creative talent in its many forms

Encourage more people to visit cultural venues and experience culture in their locality

Remind us all about the fantastic cultural facilities and resources that we have locally and nationally that we can experience year round

Open the door of a venue or organisation to the public which might otherwise be regarded as off limits at that time of year or time of day.

** Arts Councils Equality Human rights and diversity policy


Only events or venues registered with Culture Night, either through the national coordinator or via a local coordinator can apply Culture Night branding.

To request a branding pack please contact [email protected]


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