We are an incredibly spoilt nation and similar to Verruca Salt we may find it hard to appreciate our marvellous surroundings and live in the now. We may not be so demanding as to request geese laying golden geese eggs, but theoretically we are within the realms of this ridiculousness. We dream of luxurious weekends in Paris or London, dinners in fancy Italian restaurants, not to mention desperately trying to immerse ourselves in cities that are drowning in history and culture (Venice, I’m looking at you!). But what we tend to forget is that Dublin is thriving with the culture that we crave to find on the other side of the world. It seems silly to say but we almost have too much culture in this tiny metropolis, but isn’t that a fantastic complaint?! It’s like the relationships experts say; “You don’t know always know what you have in front of you.” At least I think that’s what they say…I feel as though I’ve heard that in one or two Romantic-Comedies at least. Once again, Culture Night is imminent and this event acts as the most qualified relationship expert, helping the people of Dublin to open their eyes and hearts to one of the most magical cities in the world and fall in love all over again.
This Friday the 19th September, Dublin is opening its doors (very literally) for everyone to come and appreciate the beautiful hidden gems that we are all too familiar with on the exterior, but have never actually ventured inside to unmask what goes on behind seemingly closed doors. In recent years I have enjoyed roaming around Dublin on Culture Night, as I am reminded of why I love my city which, I must be frank is a testy love-affair. In recent weeks, I have taken the time to become acquainted with the places that make Dublin special, because I was one of those people who went to other countries to find something different and fresh, disregarding Dublin’s potential entirely. Having the time to walk around and enjoy all of the quaint coffee shops like Brother Hubbard and The Fumbally have immensely restored my faith in how we are coming together and making good things happen in the city. Immersing yourself in the (free) events and opportunities that Culture Night brings to us is another way to appreciate all of the beautiful and wonderful sights and establishments that surround us during our daily tasks, no golden geese eggs required!
To help you get the best out of Friday night I put together a shortlist of some of the places to go and things to see from the overwhelming selection of events happening for Culture Night 2014. All of the information you need is on the Culture Night website; http://www.culturenight.ie. If you don’t make it to them on Friday, I would still recommend you take the time to see these incredible places. Enjoy!
National Print Museum.
Address: Beggars Bush Barracks, Haddington Road.
I went to the National Print Museum as a part of my Culture Night checklist last year and I can honestly say that it was one of my most treasured Dublin nights. To be surrounded by machines that were such an integral and essential aspect of our history and societal progression is incredibly humbling as you are exposed to the effort and the craft of bringing information and entertainment to the masses. I cannot recommend going to the National Print Museum this Friday evening as there is an incredible amount of history and creativity to be consumed in this building. Once you step into the National Print Museum it instantly become your new favourite destination, especially for lunch! They make an incredible sandwich!
Graphic Studio Dublin.
Address: Distillery House, North Circular Road.
The Graphic Studio was another location that I was fortunate to experience last year, and I really relished my time in the studios. To see the artists (of all ages) working on their prints was incredibly inspiring and it made me want to take the time to learn the skill involved in printing that has clearly given these people an amazing outlet and opportunity to create beautiful art. There is relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the studio and the artists are enthusiastic to go through their creative process with you, taking the time to explain their craft.
Grafton Academy of Fashion Design.
Address: 6 Herbert Place, D2.
I have wanted to go to the Grafton Academy of Fashion Design for the last two Culture Nights, but unfortunately I have always managed to geographically mess up (not an uncommon occurrence in my day-to-day) and miss out on this wonderful look at behind the scenes fashion. If you have an interest in fashion and design I think that this is probably the best place for you to go on Friday as they offer free demonstrations ranging from dressmaking to the ins-and-outs of using a sewing machine properly, a crash course I am desperately in need of! Once you’ve those skills sewn up there will be models wearing some of the pieces made by the graduates of the Academy happening during the evening.
Dublin Camera Club.
Address: 10 Lower Camden Street.
If you have an interest in photography I think that it is essential to venture to the Dublin Camera Club on Culture Night. I have a wonderful preconceived image in my head that this would be an amazing place to meet some of Dublin’s hidden characters who have experienced some unexpectedly incredibly events and were fortunately accompanied by their camera on these occasions. There’s just something slightly mysterious about the Dublin Camera Club, it has a feeling of a secret society to its name which is a fairly enticing reason itself to see what goes on in this club. And if you don’t want to interact with anybody and simply want to take a look at some lovely photography, I’m sure the Dublin Camera Club is just the place to be.
No. 3 Mountjoy Square.
Address: 3 Mountjoy Square.
I have to say, the Irish history nerd that quietly overtakes my brain is ridiculously excited about No.3 Mountjoy Square being open to the public for Culture Night once again this year. An extensively long queue prohibited me from entering last year, but I won’t be deterred this year! In this historic home you will be given a guided tour of how the wealthy lived in what was the more fun Celtic tiger era in Ireland; the early 1900s! This house is particularly significant to our political history as the first Dáil met here while they were ‘on the run’ in 1919!
Windmill Lane Recording Studios.
Address: 20 Ringsend Road.
Ireland is a kind of unassuming epicentre of music and it has an allure to some incredibly talented and respected musicians from across the world. If music is your passion, hobby or profession why not have a walk around the legendary and historic Windmill Lane Recording Studios. Because if David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Fugees, Elvis Costello AND Kylie Minogue can make it –all the way from Australia in Kylie’s case- then there is absolutely no reason why you can’t, especially on a night like Culture Night!
Address: Smithfield Square.
Thanks to the gloriously warm and sunny Summer Dublin became the ideal setting for outdoor cinemas and that is set to continue on Friday night in Smithfield with a treat of not one, but two movies all for your cultural entertainment. ‘The Mission’ and ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’ will be screened in Smithfield Square from 7pm and you’ll be able to enjoy them from the comfort of your car as this is a free drive-in cinema experience. Honk Honk Tute Tute!! So get the hoover ready to give your car a sprucing up for a date night extravaganza!
James Joyce House of the Dead.
Address: 15 Usher’s Island, D8.
If you are a lover of Irish literature, and why wouldn’t you when we have an amazing group of writer’s such as Samuel Beckett, J.M. Synge and of course, James Joyce who were fortunate to call Ireland home. Joyce passionately wrote about Ireland, most famously about Dubliners in particular. One of his greatest and more manageable pieces from his seminal works Dubliners is “The Dead”. On Friday you’ll have the opportunity to transport yourself back to Joycean Dublin and watch as the Centenary edition of “The Dead” is hand-printed on a Victorian press. You’ll also be able to enjoy the John Huston adaptation of “The Dead” on your visit.
Áras an Uachtaráin.
Address: Phoenix Park.
This is a first for Culture Night as you will be able to avail of free guided tours of the interior of the Áras. This is a landmark that we know where it is and have most definitely driven by it umpteen times during excursions through the gorgeously green Phoenix Park. So why not take your patriotism to the next level and make yourself at home (to a certain extent) in the home of our President. You never know, he may (or may not) have the kettle boiling for a nice cup of tea!
Booking for the tour is essential, you have been warned!
Address: 17 Molesworth St.
This is another example of a building in Dublin that we probably pass by regularly on our rambles in town but have never ventured inside or even imagined what could be behind its doors. The Freemason’s Hall was built in 1865 specifically for the Freemason’s society who strove to be ‘men of honour’ establishing good morals amongst society. I would definitely recommend making your way to Molesworth Street to explore the interior especially on a night where we celebrate not only what is great about Dublin now, but what was great about Dublin in the past.
Words : Zara Hedderman
Photos via http://www.culturenight.ie