Culture Night 2021 – A Gateway to Ireland’s Cultural Treasures

Streets, workshops, galleries, theatres, parks, museums, studios and libraries across Ireland are all bustling with visitors again as Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir 2021 kicks off. With 80% of programme events ‘in-person’ the magical atmosphere in our cultural venues, institutions and communities has returned for one national moment as Ireland and its arts and cultural community has “Come Together Again” for Culture Night 2021. The energy that this night emanates has the power to connect everyone to cultural activities locally, nationally and even internationally.

With a programme that offers an eclectic mix of 1,200 FREE events reflecting the diversity of culture in Ireland today, Culture Night / Oíche Chultúir 2021 is brought to you by the Arts Council in partnership with local authorities and cultural organisations throughout the island of Ireland and abroad, putting a spotlight on the quality and breadth of Ireland’s existing cultural offerings and institutions. It is a gateway for people to explore and discover our rich culture and heritage and enjoy it throughout the year.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:

“Culture Night/Oíche Chultúir has become a significant date in the country’s cultural calendar in the last few years. Tonight gives us a much-needed opportunity to celebrate our rich and diverse culture and arts sector. It is also important to acknowledge that most of the events scheduled for tonight are to be held in-person, marking a major turning point in our road to recovery. I would like to commend the Arts Council, local authorities and arts groups throughout the country who have, despite continued challenging circumstances, provided a wide ranging and extensive programme of events for us all to enjoy online and in-person.”

With a captivating celebration of culture in Ireland today, the programme spans from architecture to comedy, circus to dance, film to literature, museums to music, heritage to sport and science to fashion, to name but a few. This year’s Culture Night not only gives artists the opportunity to reunite with live audiences but also for people to explore new aspects of culture in-person and learn new skills and crafts with many venues staying open until 11.30pm. With 1,200 events across all counties in Ireland in the 2021 Culture Night programme, there is an extraordinary range of events, but two main art forms dominate nevertheless. Music will ring out across Ireland tonight as it makes up 54% of the entire programme – a big increase on previous years, while 69% of events are family friendly. 41% of this year’s programme comes from the visual arts, with heritage themed events featuring strongly once again at 24% and 10% of events are as Gaeilge.

Director of the Arts Council, Maureen Kennelly said:

“Culture Night is a joyful moment to celebrate our treasured rich and diverse culture and importantly, it is a reminder of all that is available to us year round. Many of the organisations and artists who are taking part in Culture Night are stretching themselves again after a difficult 18 months. We encourage everyone to continue to plan visits to our galleries, arts centres, museums and festivals and to book tickets to events and support our cultural sector, who continued to uplift and inspire us during the toughest of times.”

Culture Night is an opportunity to discover and celebrate the diversity of Irish culture today and includes L’Italia In Piazza, a night in Fitzwilliam Square featuring an Italian Saxophone Quartet, Brazilian music with Kasia Eliasz and Mother Tongues: an Interactive Museum of Languages for Children in Tallaght. There will also be deeper exploration into cultural communities in Ireland such as Pavee Roads Home, an online exploration of Traveller culture and A Snapshot of Orthodoxy and the Greek Tradition.

Across the country, the culturally curious can enjoy a myriad of events with something for all interests. Visit Galway’s Ballyglunin Station Culture Night presented by Three Rings Team for an evening of live performances of zydeco music and an audacious exhibition of unbridled art in all forms. In Cork, Teanga – Tongues sees Julie Goo weave her Irish Language Poetry from her recent debut collection DÁNA (Coiscéim), while Roscommon Arts Centre hosts “Martin Parr – 40 Years of Photography in Ireland”, an exhibition that captures a changing Ireland over the last three decades. Alchemy Music is a very special concert in Wicklow to celebrate some of the county’ s finest musicians led by Mary Coughlan on vocals, and Donegal’s An Grianan Theatre presents an evening of events for Culture Night, including the tongue-in-cheek Manny Man Does the History of Ireland on Stage, from the Ice Age all the way to Ireland today in less than 90 minutes.

Also this evening, the National Gallery of Ireland connects on an international level with the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris on Culture Night through the Live Drawing Project. The collaboration features several top international artists along with members of the public ‘live drawing’ onto the walls of the National Gallery and also onto the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. There are also a range of other events taking place across the world from an exhibition trail of Irish street photography in Berlin, to An Evening of Traditional Irish Music and Spoken Word, hosted by Irish Arts Foundation in Leeds.