“Switch on Culture Night” is the advice we’re being given for Friday, 22 September when one of the major highlights of the cultural calendar will take place. Since Culture Night was first held in Dublin in 2006, this celebration of arts, heritage and culture has gone from strength to strength. Each year over 400,000 people on average attend events in all parts of the country.
A massive programme, the most extensive to date, has been put together for Culture Night 2017. All kinds of imaginable events will be hosted, including concerts, workshops, exhibitions, circuses, yoga classes, tours, pyrotechnics shows and much more – all free of charge. All across the country, doors of historical buildings and cultural spaces will be thrown open to the public – from the Custom House in Dublin to the Fanad Lighthouse in Donegal, and from the Taibhdhearc theatre in Galway to City Hall in Cork, the crowds will gather to take part in the events of this wonderful evening.
Gaelchultúr is delighted to be taking part in the evening’s events again this year with A Taste of Irish – Irish language classes free of charge to the public. As part of this event, sample classes will be offered at various levels and live music will be played in the building as well. So, if you’re interested in learning Irish again, pop in to Gaelchultúr, 11 Clare Street, Dublin 2 between 7.00pm and 8.00pm and get a taster of our Irish classes, of the kind of material we use and of the company's teaching style. You will be able to register for the autumn Irish classes on the night if you like, but this is not compulsory.
“The team here is really looking forward to welcoming members of the public on Culture Night,” says Derek O’Brien, Gaelchultúr’s Academic Administrator. “The event has been a great success in previous years and we’re expecting a good number of people again this year. There is always a very nice atmosphere in the city on that night and we love to get the chance to meet people, to share information with them about the different things Gaelchultúr does – including classes, learning resources available, Irish language events – and especially to give them advice about learning Irish.”
There will be plenty of other Irish language events taking place in Dublin that night, including an evening of music with a group of artists called T.O.T.A. (Thatchers of the Acropolis), who will put a new spin on sean-nós songs from the Múscraí Gaeltacht at Waterways Ireland, Grand Canal Quay. This will be followed by a workshop on séan-nós dancing.
At the Siopa Leabhar on Harcourt Street, an exhibition of Irish language books will take place together with poetry readings. You will also have the chance to write a poem of your own in the old style typeface.
Conradh na Gaeilge will host tours of its headquarters, 6 Harcourt Street. The Culture Night Céilí, a very popular event in recent years, will then bring the evening’s events to a close at the same venue.
Oireachtas na Gaeilge will give city folk a flavour of Gaeltacht culture when they hold a curach race from Custom House Quay up as far as Liffey Bridge and back again (a two kilometre trip).
If you live in a Gaeltacht area, you’ll certainly get a chance to sample the action with the slew of events taking place, including a competition for the longest sean-nós song in Indreabhán, Connemara; a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and social evening in Fanad Lighthouse, Donegal; a night of entertainment with music, song, dance and storytelling in Ráth Chairn, Co. Meath; and an artists’ evening at the Lab in An Daingean, to mention but a few.
There will be plenty of Irish language events taking place outside the Gaeltacht, also, for example a night of entertainment, literature and learning with Gaeilge Locha Riach, Galway; a Pop-Up Gaeltacht for all the family in Armagh; a discussion on the meaning and importance of proverbs with Gaeilgeoirí Cois Laoi, Cork; and a book discussion, conversation and craic at the Hawk's Well Theatre, Sligo.
A complete programme of the evening’s events as well as a brochure is available at www.culturenight.ie. In addition to this, there is plenty of information available on the event’s twitter account @CultureNight, and on their app which is available to download from the App Store and from the Google Play Store – a very useful aid when making your way from venue to venue on the evening!
To find out about events being held as part of Culture Night, visit www.culturenight.ie.
A Taste of Irish is being organised by Gaelchultúr with the support of Oireachtas na Gaeilge and with funding from Foras na Gaeilge.