The second week of lectures is drawing to a close, and students on campus are beginning to realise that the promises they made to themselves to “work harder” and “be on top of things” this year are proving less and less realistic. Everyone is in need of a cheap pick me up, so Friday’s Culture Night has arrived at the perfect time. Although you may have spent all the money you earned over the summer on burritos, pints and society memberships, this nationwide celebration offers a night out with a twist at absolutely zero cost.
Although it is an annual celebration of the arts, you don’t need to be Da Vinci or Wilde to enjoy the Culture Night festivities. In its thirteenth year, venues all over Ireland will open their doors to the public to host a wide variety of events with universal appeal. From students, families, to literature snobs and artistic passifans alike, there is undoubtedly something for everyone.
Students of political thought and history are extremely well catered for throughout Friday afternoon. At 5pm in Arbour Hill Cemetery, renowned tour guide Eamonn Clarke will offer a contextual analysis of the events of the 1916 Rising, along with the subsequent proclamation of independence upon which Ireland is built. In a similar event with a more modern appeal, “Following her Path; A Walking Tour of Ireland’s Remarkable Women” will take place at 6pm at the Stephens Green Main Gate. These will undoubtedly be niche celebrations of key figures in Irish history and could be a welcome change from a rainy stroll to Starbucks for most.
If current affairs are not your thing, you can escape the world that these pesky disciplines originate from through a variety of free cinema showings and art exhibitions. The Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar will open their doors at 6pm to showcase family-friendly Irish shorts fresh from the IFI archive. Down the road at Through the Arch, you can gain free entry into the Here Comes the Night exhibition, where many of the contributing artists will be present. However, the marquee event in this category is undoubtedly the Lighthouse CInemas free Greatest Showman singalong screenings, at 4.30pm and 6.30pm. What better way to spend your Friday evening than singing along to a Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron duet?
If your answer is a French language themed treasure hunt, then culture night still has you covered. The Alliance Francaise on Nassau Street will be hosting this very event at 6pm, with the special prize of a premium membership for the winner. Not only that, but the hunt will also be followed by an in-house concert! For those who are in the mood for music, there are also English language concerts happening across Dublin, in venues as bizarre as the DCU St Pats campus.
While all of these events are extremely appealing, where culture night consistently excels is in the area of showcases that have that little bit of difference, and this year is no different. Athletic students will foam at the mouth at the thought of taking part in one of Dublin’s first roller skating derbies in Inchicore, while the second floor of Bewley’s Cafe will be transformed into the 3 Arena, with live comedians, theatrical performers and musicians occupying the famous coffee house from 6pm to 11pm in the name of Irish art.
If you are still not amused, then the pick of the events is one that can get you as far away from the city centre as possible. Indeed, hop onto the Comedy Bus Tour on Westmoreland at 7pm, hosted by professional comedians, and you won’t have to experience a single exhibition or guided tour, and you’ll probably have a bit of craic doing it.
At face value, culture night is undoubtedly geared towards the eccentric and imbued by the bizarre. However, if you’re looking to try something different this weekend, or simply kill a few hours in a more productive manner than scrolling through Facebook in the Berkeley, the options are endless. Open your mind, join a tour, hop on a bus, gaze at some art. Whatever you do, make sure Temple Bar is your final destination. That way, artist or jock, you will definitely be onto a winner.