Culture Night 2009: Cork

On September 25 towns and cities across Ireland are celebrating a night of culture. Of course culture means different things to different people. In Cork there is a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and a Lord Mayor’s Tea Dance (probably unrelated). There is opera in the docks and electronic beats in an electricity sub-station. Galleries and museums (and for some reason the English Market) are open late and theatres are opening their backstages.

Culture Night was first launched in Dublin in 2006 by Temple Bar Cultural Trust, with the aim of organising an event that would provide access to people who may not otherwise be able to enjoy the rich cultural offering of the country’s cultural venues. Last year over 100,000 people came into Dublin City for Culture Night and the event has now expanded nationally to a total of 11 cities including Cork and towns across Ireland.

Over fifty organisations and one hundred and fifty events (some of which are secrets until the night), all for free (but you may need to book in advance).

Learn a new skill, visitors can talk to a genealogist about tracing their family history at the Cork City and County Archives, learn how to restore a book at Barbara Hubert Bookbindery, observe Jupiter at the Blackrock Castle Observatory and be taught French through art at the Alliance Française de Cork.

Cork has a strong history tied to water and visitors can board the Navel Vessel LE Aishling in the Port of Cork, travel in style on Bantry Longboats down the River Lee with Meitheal Mara and be entertained by Pádraig Ó Duinnín of TG4 as he tells stories of the lives of families who fished for a living in Cork.

Don’t miss the historical walking tour by historian Cllr. Kieran McCarthy and the unique food tour of the city by author Regina Sexton. Tours of Fitzgerald’s Park will be given by the Park Rangers and William Hammond will lead cyclists through the city singing songs connected to the events and buildings along the route. Venues such as Cork Printmakers, Cork School of Music, the Backwater Artist Group and the Cork Foyer are offering guided tours of their premises. Join in a special Twilight Tour of University College Cork or wander around the city with author Tom Spalding as he leads a unique walking tour of Cork’s street furniture. Special secret tours will also take place where the host of the tour will remain a secret until the night itself. Pre-booking of all tours is essential. Tel: 021 4924333 Email: culturenight@corkcity.ie

Free readings, talks, workshops and film screenings will take place all over the city. The RTE Vanbrugh Quartet will perform in the Masonic Hall, tenor Ryan Morgan will sing in the Port of Cork Custom House, rap sensations GMC and Bubba Shakespeare will do tracks as gaeilge in the ESB Substation Building, Caroline St (across from the Old Oak Bar) while sound artists will perform a sundowner set in association with 96FM on the Lapps Quay Boardwalk.

Lovers of 80’s music should head to the Lewis Glucksman Gallery where visitors can raid the Glucksman fashion chest and dress up in their finest 80’s inspired outfits (this is listed as a children’s event, but is a late night one. Entertaining the inner child?) while Michael Jackson fans should definitely not miss Thrilla- Unleash Your Inner Zombie with DJ Sé-K at the Cork Vision Centre. Dance enthusiasts will enjoy the Lord Mayor’s Tea Dance at the City Hall and the varied dance workshops in the Firkin Crane, again oddly listed as interactive events. This means you are the one dancing rather than sitting down and watching the show.

Cork’s Art Galleries and museums will remain open until late and a diverse range of exhibitions will take place in the city’s historical buildings.

For those interested in theatre The Lifetime Lab will perform The Energy in Life directed by Yvonne Couglan while a special pre-show discussion with cast and director of The Lonesome West will take place in the Cork Opera House.

As part of Cork Culture Night, a selection of churches of a variety of denominations will remain open and offer free guided tours. Anton O’Callaghan will give a lecture on the spectacular stained glass windows in St Vincent’s Church while an organ recital will take place in St Peter and Paul’s Church. St’ Annes (the Shandon Bells) will be open late too, providing golden hour shots of the city for those visiting in advance of the Cork Photowalk the following day (September 26 2009).

Culture Night is open to all ages and there are a wide range of events catering for children. Enjoy puppet shows at Cork City Hall, treasure hunts at the Crawford Art Gallery and A Mad Hatters Tea Party at the Civic Trust House. Family entertainment and circus performers are on offer in the Cork County Hall while face painting and story telling will take place in Aladdin’s Cave in the Everyman Palace Theatre.

The majority of the venues are within walking distance and Bus Eireann will provide free buses which will follow an orbital route and take people all over the city. Visitors can hop on and off these buses at any point and buskers will entertain passengers as they travel around the city by bus.

The Full Program of events is available on www.corkcity.ie/culturenight

On September 25 Cork City Hall will be open from 9 am – 11 pm and further information on all events is available from each of the venues. Pre-booking of all tours is essential. Tel: 021 4924333 Email: culturenight@corkcity.ie

About Will

Will likes to dance around the interfaces of technology, people and culture. Unfortunately that dance floor is freshly waxed. He usually remembers to write (and photograph) at WillKnott.ie
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