A host of events take place across Limerick this Friday for Culture Night, an event that helps to ‘break down barriers’ between arts organisations and the general public.
Some 70 events in total will take place in total - a record for Limerick. The national initiative sees arts and heritage venues throw open doors to the public free of charge and with later than usual opening hours.
The tagline is ‘explore, experience and enjoy’ and Culture Night offers a great opportunity chance to get out and see what is on offer in Limerick. Given the current City of Culture status, the annual showcase has special significance this year and should see a huge number of people out on the streets.
From pop-up museums to photographic exhibitions, live music, guided and culture bus tours, arts and crafts workshops and pop-up printmaking, there is simply loads on offer to make and do.
Arts and culture manager for City of Culture, Sheila Deegan, says the family friendly event is “about people coming out and occupying the streets”
“People come out to encounter culture in a very positive and engaging way,” she explains. “All of the organisations and artists are asked to bring to life something on the night, it is about revealing things from behind closed doors. For example a lot of the artists’ studios invite people in, in a very open way.
“The generosity of the people involved is extraordinary. Because it is an opportunity to shine a light on one night on everything cultural in the city, it has been embraced positively by everybody - all of the arts organisations, institutions, and individuals.”
She adds that the event is “celebratory in nature”.
Jessica Tobin of Limerick Printmakers, who will host a range of events at their new home at Bridgeland House in John’s Square, says that Culture Night “breaks down a lot of barriers.
“It gives people the chance to try something new and it is for people who might be worried about the financial element or committing to something that they may not like or just being afraid of asking the wrong questions, when there are no wrong questions in the arts,” she explains.
The Printmakers will be part of a wider celebration in the ‘culture quarter’ on the square that includes Dance Limerick and Music Generation, and they see it as a significant event to celebrate their relocation from Sarsfield Street.
“We will be welcoming people of all ages, from very small kids, right up to adults, everyone is welcome,” says Jessica.
“There will be loads of different types of activities in terms of printmaking for people to try and all free. It is a relaunch night for us, a welcome to our new neighbourhood.”
Naomi O’Nolan, administrator in the Hunt Museum, explains that they welcomed over 3,000 people through the doors last year and have extended out into their garden, utilising a marquee in anticipation of extra numbers.
The Hunt will host various music events, tours of the three exhibitions currently on display in the museum, plus tours of its own permanent exhibits.
“It is one we look forward to, absolutely and there is so much happening around the city,” she said.
Be sure to check out the Fab Lab on Rutland Street, with UL graduates demonstrating 3D printing, scanning and laser cutting. Also firmly on the agenda should be a guided tour of the Particles or Waves laneways, starting at Post Office lane at 8.30pm.
That’s Limerick City, a pop-up people’s museum backed by the Civic Trust and a legacy project of City of Culture, gets its launch on the night, at 5pm in the Milk Market.
Of course, we can highly recommend From Limerick With Love, a massive exhibition of images from the Limerick Leader archives, with responses to the images created by students at LSAD. The exhibition has been housed in Shannon Airport for a number of months and is now moving to City Hall where it will be open from 5pm-9pm.
For some top theatre, head to the Savoy Hotel, where the hilarious production of the Boneyard Man takes to the stage.
Macnas will perform two bespoke performances in the People’s Park, while the Urban Horse and Ilen boat projects will also launch as part of City of Culture.
Jacki Hehir, who is running the Hospital Show Window festival that launches on Culture Night and runs until September 28, says she hopes the project will “actively involve the street and the town in the cultural festivities, bringing some of the City of Culture celebration to the county.
“We have 20 artists participating and exhibiting their work in 18 different venues,” she explains.
Events are also taking place across the county in Kilmallock, Doon, Murroe, Mungret, Adare, Askeaton and out to Abbeyfeale (see panel below).
Sheila Deegan says that Limerick has “taken Culture Night to its heart” in the six years it has been running.
“You have all generations of people coming out to engage with a lot of venues, cultural organisations - some of which people don’t think about.
“What you encounter on Culture Night is something unexpected.”
For full details on events, see Culture Night Limerick.