Friday 16 September 2011

Time to start planning your Culture Night

The countdown has begun. This time next Friday will see arts and cultural organisations all over the island opening their doors – free of charge – to an impressive showcase of local and visiting arts acts. It's a great chance to celebrate Irish culture at absolutely no cost.

Now in its sixth year (it started in Temple Bar in 2006), Culture Night has been embraced by 30 towns, cities and islands and there are hundreds of options for a great night out. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Dublin: Renowned tenor Noel O'Grady will be performing musical classics at the James Joyce Centre at 6.30pm and 8pm. There's also a late night opening of the Old Library and Books of Kells Exhibition at Trinity College.

Belfast: The first ever Cathedral Quarter Parade (6.30-10.00pm) will take place up and down Donegall Street every 30 minutes, with each parade having a different theme. Leading the celebration is the newly elected (and totally unofficial) Mayor of the Cultural Quarter, Terri Hooley. Meanwhile, Lower Garfield Street will be turned into the Spanish Quarter, with sangria, oranges, flemenco guitar and dance, and carnival.

Carlow: Launching its own Cultural Quarter, Carlow's many historic buildings will be offering guided tours.

Donegal: here's a double-helping - Away with the Fairies Storytelling at Letterkenny's Central Library 6-7.30pm, followed by the illuminated Loinnir sculpture trail in the town park.

Kerry: Master crafters will be working under the fairy lights at the Goose Island workshop in Castlegregory but there's a more noisy affair at the Malton Hotel in Killarney where the Big Open Drum Circle, staged by Drum Dance Ireland, will be an attempt to get the biggest and longest lasting drum circle going that Kerry has ever seen.

Wexford: Opera singers taking part in the 60th anniversary of Wexford Festival Opera will perform some of their favourite arias for one night only in the foyer of Wexford Opera House. Selskar Abbey is also reopening and can be visited by guided walks.

For the full programme, see