By Lisa-Marie Griffith
Tonight is Culture Night 2009 and this year even more cities and towns than ever will take part in the event. Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford and Wexford so I have taken a quick look at whats going on around the country to make some recommendations on what to see. Belfast is participating in Culture night for the first year and most of the events will take place in the Cathedral quarter which ‘will be totally transformed for the evening as public areas and streets are turned into performance spaces. People will be able to explore the Quarter whilst taking part in free talks, workshops, performances and tours’. Ruairí Ó Baoill and Jim O’Neill are giving a historical walking tour of the area throughout the night (starts at 5.30 and departs at 8.00 and 9.30). but if you are looking for a break from the historical ‘the Coors Light Open House Festival is offering a sneak preview of its newly commissioned subterranean musical walking tour of Belfast’s hidden heritage. Belfast poet Gearóid MacLochlainn and singer Alan Burke will enthral you with tales of blind harpers, whores and hacks, high life, low life, songs and sewers’. The site warns this has limited numbers but you can pre-book.
Cork: You can download the brochure for events in Cork city here but my particular recommendations are the tour of the Masonic hall that leaves at 7.15 and the Printing demonstrations taking place at the Cork Printmakers (6.30-7.15) and the etching (8.00-8.45). The Lifetime Lab is also hosting a series of talks on the history of the city.
Dublin: As the first city to run the event the capital is the home of Culture Night and runs the most wide ranging list of events. This year more institutions than ever before are opening their doors so it really is a struggle to recommend just a few but I will try. This year the GPO where you can send a free limited edition Culture night postcard to anywhere in the world. Na Piobari Uilleann is offering a guided tour of their beautiful Henrietta Street building, uilleann pipe music and a look at their archives. In the Historic Quarter the Chester Beatty Library have a Japanese Musical Storytelling workshop from 7pm, suitable for all ages! In the Temple Bar and North Liffey District Debra Bowden, a woodblock printmaker and Polly Mineet, an artist and paper maker are exhibiting their Japanese skills and the Winding Stair Bookshop are holding a series of atmospheric studies. If you get around all of those you will be doing well!
Galway: Charley Byrne’s ‘Galway’s legendary bookshop with a great night of readings by Galway authors published in the last year, chaired and organised by Michael O’Loughlin, former Galway writer in residence. Featuring prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction in the relaxed atmosphere of Galway’s legendary bookshop with a great night of readings by Galway authors’.
Letterkenny: My recommendation for Letterkenny is An Grianán Theatre’s special Culture Night programme which ‘will offer all-areas access to the best of local Donegal talent, with a special emphasis on the presentation of original work. All parts of the building will buzz with music, theatre and visual performances which will entertain and stimulate children, teens and adults alike.’
Limerick: I was so annoyed to have missed Waiting for Ikea at Electric Picnic but anyone heading to the Moycross Community Centre this evening is in for a treat. ‘Waiting for Ikea uses quick fire wit and old school charm to create a heart-warming story of friendship, to find the heart beneath the bling!’ See also Arts Office Limerick for their listings.
Mayo: In Ballycastle the Ballinglenn Arts foundation are running a printmaking workshop. The Jackie Clarke Library and Archives in Ballina in association with the Irish Film Institute are running a special screening of the Jackie Clarke Film Collection at the Icehouse Hotel from 9pm to midnight that looks excellent.
Roscommon: Roscommon is running one of the most unusual events, and one that I am sorry I will not be participating in. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is hosting a Céilí in a living room near you in various CCE branch areas around the county. Living rooms are small so contact the Comhaltas contact person to book your spot and get directions. The second event I would highly recommend is for children. The Roscommon County Library and Kid’s Own Publishing ‘have been helping groups of children write, print and bind their very own books based on their family histories. On Culture Night the libraries of Roscommon, Boyle, Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen will exhibit this work and provide an evening of workshops, readings and interactive activities.’
Sligo: Sligo are offering a ‘bag of culture’ to all their participants, you can even have your bag stamped at each event you participate in! Hope on one of their musical buses, Sligo looks like it will one of the liveliest country-wide spots!
Tralee: Tralee are aiming to break the Guinness World Record for Irish dancing tonight, you can pre-book for this event.
Waterford: Heading home, this is my first culture night outside the capital and I am going to be in Waterford this evening. I am hoping to get on the Artmobile ‘featuring the new sounds of Waterford music plus poetry’ and the Open Gallery at Garter Lane.
Wexford: The town is hosting Céilí Mór on the main street ‘followed by a unique take on well know traditional Irish ballads, as well as some original material as Gaeilge, bound to get the foot tapping’.
There is so much going on this evening I am sure I have left out some great events. Please let us know what you are getting up to and what If you think I have missed something that should be advertised. Have a great night!