Across the whole of Dublin city, and through more than two dozen other places in the island of Ireland and beyond, September 23rd is celebrated as Culture Night Ireland. At first begun as a sort of open house evening in Temple Bar, the part of Dublin city centre which has been re imagining itself as Dublin’s cultural quarter, Culture NIght has quickly become an event that arts organizations, artists and presenters look forward to as much as do those who come to take part in their activities.

These activities range a cross a wide spectrum. In Dublin, for example, many painters, sculptors, and other visual artists have open studios: some allow you to make small items and others demonstrate their work, while others discuss what they do. There are guided tours of major institutions such as The National Gallery of Ireland and the Chester Beatty Collection. The Guinness Storehouse offers free admission and tours on the night, while over at the Dublin Writers’’ Museum there are readings by poets and authors, who then host an open mic for all comers to share their own works. There are experimental films and historical ones, including one on the history of Quakers in Ireland that will be shown in in Temple Bar and one of the history of Irish music at the Irish Traditional Music Archive. The ITMA also hosts musicians performing live on their premises, the RTE National Orchestra will play as well, there will be architectural tours and acting classes on offer, and all sorts of music, from choral performances to musicians playing along the streets in several quarters.

In Dublin more than 150 groups have something planned, but the event, which is intended to get people thinking about the lively role of arts and arts organizations in daily life, is by no means taking place only in the capital of the republic. Belfast, Derry and the Strabane area are among places in Northern Ireland whose arts organizations have events planned, and there are celebrations on tap by Irish communities in London and in Belgium. In the republic, there are also events taking place across the country from Cork to Clare to Leitrim to Mayo to Galway.

It’s bound to be a lively night, and the organizers hope, one that will bring both residents and visitors back to take part in and support the arts in future. If you’ll be in Dublin — and even if you won’t – there’s an interesting 28 page guide at the culture night’s web site which offers maps and plans for explorations of the arts across Dublin city. If you’d like to get a little closer to the fun but won’t actually be able to attend, Radio Culture Night Near 90FM in association with Dublin South FM, Phoenix FM and Temple Bar Cultural Trust will broadcast live from Temple Bar between 4 and 8pm Irish time on the night, with a schedule which includes in studio interviews with venue people and artists, roving reporters in Temple Bar, and features from artists, musicians , and museum gallery curators. You can catch this in the Dublin area on Near 90.3fm, DSFM 93.9fm and Phoenix 92.5fm and wherever you might be in the world, you can listen in online at www.near.ie , www.dublinsouthfm.ie and www.phoenixfm.ie

The Culture Night web site has details on Dublin events and links to details of the celebrations in other areas.

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Kerry Dexter is one of six writers who contribute to Perceptive Travel’s blog. You will often find her writing about places, events, and people connected with music, history, and the arts in Europe and North America. You may find more of Kerry's work at her site Music Road as well as in Wandering Educators, National Geographic Traveler, Ireland and the Americas, and other places online and in print.

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