Culture Night, One Night For All Celebrates its Eighteenth Edition
It’s that time of year again! Culture Night, the beloved nationwide celebration of culture and the arts in Ireland, is back on the twenty-second of September for its eighteenth edition, with a programme full of unmissable events.
Culture Night is about opening doors and inviting people in to experience a range of quality Arts and Cultural events for free. It is a chance for each one of us to connect with the arts and experience something new. Over the years special attention has been given to creating spaces that are inclusive and safe. Culture Night celebrates belonging and is for everyone, so no matter what your age or inclination, go check out the Culture Night programme (https://culturenight.ie/events/) to see what free events are happening in your area.
The late poet Seamus Heaney said of poetry and the arts, that if they do anything ‘they can fortify your inner life.’ In a world that is increasingly busy, it is important for us to seek spaces that remind us to slow down and reconnect. Culture Night, which was conceived by Temple Bar Cultural Trust in 2006, is one such space.
The initial intention with the project was to connect various cultural spaces in Dublin and open them up to later audiences and during its first year forty cultural institutions took part. Now stewarded by the Arts Council in collaboration with local authority arts offices, the initiative has grown into one of the country’s largest cultural events, inviting artists and audiences all around Ireland to convene in late September for an evening of exploration and discovery. Indeed, there is something magical about the time surrounding the Autumn Equinox, and Culture Night reflects this, giving our island community’s imagination, a collective space to play.
The Arts Council partners with all local authorities and cultural organisations across Ireland to make Culture Night happen. Thanks to the hard work of these local authorities and cultural organisations, spaces throughout Ireland will open their doors to host audiences for free on September 22nd. A diversity of artistic voices, which reflect modern Irish society, will be represented on the night, meaning audience members can expect an introduction to new and emerging Irish acts, as well as artists well established within their fields.
Events that are accessible to families and people of all ages have always been a priority during Culture Night. For more information on multi-generational events, check out the full Culture Night program, but here’s a quick taster:
- The author Colum McCann, whose most recent novel Apeirogon was described as a ‘masterpiece’ by the Guardian, will read a selection of his work in Leitrim. McCann will also speak about Narrative 4, a non-profit organisation he co-founded that offers educators creative tools to teach compassion in classroom settings. (https://culturenight.ie/event/evening-with-an-author-colum-mccann/)
- For lovers of astronomy, folklore and archeology Cruinne Comhthreomhar – Áit A Bhfuil Gaeilge Ag Gach Duine invites people to Kerry’s Gaeltacht for a magical evening of music, dance and talks trí Ghaeilge, as Ireland’s connection to the stars is explored. (https://culturenight.ie/event/cruinne-comhthreomhar-ait-a-bhfuil-gaeilge-ag-gach-duine-parallel-universe-where-everyone-speaks-irish-2/)
- The Moco Music Academy in Monaghan invites younger participants (8-16) to discover and paint local historical landmarks. ‘A Moment Frozen in Time’ is an art workshop that allows children and teens to engage with history through their imaginations and creative process. Canvases will be provided, and participants are allowed to bring their artwork home. (https://culturenight.ie/event/a-moment-frozen-in-time/)
Culture Night Late is also back for its second year. Thanks to the Arts Council funding programme known as ‘Culture Night Late’, participants in Culture Night can look forward to an exciting late night programme, as well as innovative uses of space and introductions to new cultural spaces. The fund was conceived as part of the Night-Time Economy Support Scheme, which was developed by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in 2022.
In a time permeated by global economic and political uncertainty, Culture Night Late is a beacon of hope; not only a metaphorical imagining of what life can be as reflected by the arts, but also a figurative exploration of the ways in which our lives are enhanced by them. This year Culture Night Late promises a whole range of scintillating events, giving people of all ages a way to connect to late night culture in Ireland in a new and exciting way.
Some events in the Culture Night Late programme to check out include:
- Candy’s Sweet as Circus Cabaret is giving this Culture Night at Cork’s Marina Market. Led by the fabulous and formidable Candy Warhol, one of Ireland’s freshest drag acts, the show guarantees audiences a ‘fantastic feast for the senses,’ with circus, drag and burlesque performers all taking to the stage to serve! Audience members are invited to stick around for the after-party, which will continue into the late hours. The event is BYOB, unsuitable for children and will be fully accessible as it is seated. So, if you’re over eighteen, come through this September twenty-second and grab your tickets because they are sure to go like hot cakes. (https://culturenight.ie/event/marina-market-candys-sweet-as-circus-cabaret/)
- The Irish language theatre and culture institution, An Taibhdhearc in Galway invites participants in Culture Night Late to triail their gcuid Gaeilge at the theatre’s Pop-up Gaeltacht on Middle Street, described last year as a ‘dreamlike’ experience. With performances from Tenzi Choegyai, Galaxy, 424 Brass Band and An Taibhdhearc youth actors, the Pop-up Gaeltacht celebrates and encourages us to engage with our dteanga in a fun and relaxed way. If you’re in Galway this Culture Night, don’t be shy; this is a safe and encouraging space to start or continue your Irish speaking journey. (https://culturenight.ie/event/)
- Everyone knows how important an artist’s process is, but what of the space they create in? As part of Culture Night Late, the Dublin Buddhist Centre is hosting a late-night talk, which will explore the Buddhist tradition of creating sacred spaces for spiritual practice. Drawing comparisons between artists and Buddhist practitioners, the talk will highlight the importance of artists’ studios, as spaces of ‘study, reflection and pilgrimage.’ It will also prompt audience members to consider how these practices could help bring more meaning into their own lives. (https://culturenight.ie/event/creative-spaces-sacred-spaces-contexts-for-transformation-a-talk-by- jnanadhara/)
For those of us unable to take part in Culture Night due to illness, Read Mór, the Arts Council’s book-gifting project is back. This year the project is in collaboration with the HSE and will give books from a list of 30 Irish titles to patients in 7 selected hospitals around the country. Last year, the project gave books to passengers on Irish rail and bus services, and was described by one lucky recipient as ‘fantastic… a lovely idea.’
And finally, if you’re worrying about wanting to be in two places at once, RTÉ has got you covered, with a number of live broadcasts from around the country, including Dunlewey in Donegal, Wicklow’s Mermaid Theatre in Bray, as well as Sean Rocks beloved radio show ARENA the Culture Night Special on RTÉ Radio 1.
If you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of events taking place around the country, don’t worry, there are still five weeks to go before the theatres, galleries, museums and other venues involved in Culture Night open their doors. From visual art to poetry, from music to circus, there is something in it for everyone. As we begin our journey into winter, there is always the light that art and expression provides. So come and celebrate Culture Night’s eighteenth birthday, with events happening in every small hall and village, you will undoubtedly be taken on a journey you won’t forget. Take a look at the full program to see what speaks to you: https://culturenight.ie/events/.
For more information on Culture Night, go to www.culturenight.ie or join the conversation on social
media channels at Culture Night Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok and use the hashtag #OneNightForAll and or #OícheDárSaol