Limerick came to life for Culture Night 2012 as arts venues across the city threw open their doors to the public.
Museums, galleries, studios, theatres and venues - 45 in all including King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral - across the city were participating in the nationwide night of culture last Friday, with free admission and late opening hours drawing huge crowds.
The Hunt Museum - hosting craft workshops, guided tours and art demonstrations as well as a stirring opera performance - had the “busiest day” in its long history, it claimed.
“It was our most successful Culture Night ever,” said Hunt director, Dr Hugh Maguire, who reported that close to 1,600 people visited between 5pm-10pm, with 520 coming in normal opening hours earlier in the day.
“It was probably the busiest day at the museum since it opened. It just shows the level of interest and enthusiasm for cultural matters that can be tapped into,” he added.
City arts officer Sheila Deegan hailed the night as “very successful”.
“It was fantastic to see so many people out and it just goes to show that culture is something people are interested in and excited by,” she said.
“It is testament to the venues who stayed open and put on a really good show for people to engage with and I am just glad that people responded to that,” she added.
Families were visible across town, notably in Limerick City Gallery of Art, Raggle Taggle gallery and Limerick Printmakers on Sarsfield Street, where there was inky fun for kids in the Big City Block Printing project.
“We have a big overview of the city of Limerick and we have silkscreened some of the main landmarks onto it,” explained artist Des Mac Mahon.
“Different members and classes during the week cut little printing blocks of things that they think are relevant to Limerick - so we have everything from a rugby ball, the Treaty Stone, a pint of Guinness, umbrellas, all sorts of things.
“The kids can then come in and ink up whatever pieces they want and print them onto the large map.
“It is fairly simplistic but there is a bit of craic involved, it is a bit of fun, that is the main thing and everyone is here in the gallery to see what we do,” he added.
Woodlawn Park man Mark Lynch was in the Printmakers with his children, Amy, 10, and Scott, 6, who were keenly engaging in the printing fun.
“The spirit of the whole night is very encouraging, it is a novelty, something different on a Friday night. The kids are enjoying the printing here, making their mark on the map” he explained.
“We went to the Castle already, we are getting out and about. They enjoyed the Castle, it was their first time inside it.”