Kathleen Boyd, enjoying the Free Market Architecture Exhibition at Kilmallock Library | Picture: Brendan Gleeson
LIMERICK city and county will once again embrace all things cultural this year in celebration of Culture Night, with over 70 events taking place this Friday evening.
To be exact, 73 venues and public spaces across Limerick will open their doors to host a programme of free late-night entertainment as part of a national celebration of arts, heritage and culture.
Even better, there’s something for everyone on the night, with an eclectic mix of events in store, including family-friendly entertainment, art and design demos, theatre and dance, as well as poetry and music events.
So, what's happening in the city?
Limerick’s cultural resource centre, Ormston House, is encouraging attendees to do three things: check out an art form you don’t usually go to; check out a venue you don’t usually go to, and go to something that you think sounds weird.
So to start off, in the city centre, more than 60 events will take place - so it is vital to plan accordingly to truly get the best of what the night has to offer.
Kicking off at 7pm, the Pigtown Parade returns to the city once again this year, giving the public a chance to walk alongside Limerick’s butchers and brass bands and help get the giant piggy to the market. Make sure to get there for 6pm to see the street performers and real-life piglets, before getting parade-ready with masks and face painting and finishing up with a feed of street food in the Milk Market.
Speaking of food, there will be plenty to tempt the taste buds on the evening, and a stop at the Hunt Museum is a must for the foodies with The Culture of Food taking place from 5pm to 12am.
Professional chefs will be cooking up a storm with dishes from 10 different Limerick cultures available, using recipes submitted by the public.
To work up an appetite (or to burn off the calories), there are several walks taking place across the city that are sure to peak interests. At 5.30pm, a guided 1km walk from The Wild Geese Fountain will detail Limerick’s fascinating maritime history, and will highlight how vital the River Shannon is to our city.
If castles are more your thing, why not follow a medieval historian and artist who will show you Limerick’s three ‘castles’ and the site of a fourth, before finishing up in the one and only King John’s Castle, which is open to the public on the evening.
As always, there will be a number of breathtaking street performances along the way, including Chris Bullzini, the Ropewalker and blacksmith demonstrations by Eric O'Neill of Killuragh Kraftworks in Arthur’s Quay Park.
The city will very much be alive with the sound of music, and if you happen to hear melodic piano notes from Colbert Station do not be alarmed - Irish Rail are launching another of their permanent public pianos at Limerick’s train station, and will feature several Limerick musicians and surprise guests on the night.
A little further down the road in Dolan's there will be a performance of jazz music featuring tunes from artists such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Glen Miller, but if traditional Irish music appeals to your ears, the Locke Bar will be serving up the ceoil and the craic.
Limerick is the place to be for all things art and design on the night, with 12 exhibitions, talks and demonstrations all happening within the bounds of the city. A great place to start is, of course, the home of Limerick art LSAD, with Lucky Lane and Limerick City Gallery of Art also of note.
Are there only events in the city? What about the county?
Locals are encouraged to get crafty in Adare from 4pm to 8pm, with a Design and Craft workshop aiming to not only get people involved, but also inspired.
An exhibition in Newcastle West is “sure to be a feast for the eyes and ears”, featuring artwork by Irish artist Olivia O’Keefe and music by Claire Sheahan McMahon and Kayla McMahon on harp and flute. Titled Ocean Rhythms -Paintings and Music to Soothe the Soul, the event begins at 8pm.
Abbeyfeale is pulling all the stops this Culture Night, with a traditional singing night, hosted by West Limerick traditional singing club taking place from 9:30pm to 11pm at The Ramble Inn.
Meanwhile the Glórach Theatre will offer the perfect occasion for local people to “meet up and make merry through song, dance, music and storytelling, with a little bit of gossiping thrown in!”
In the east Kilmallock boasts a spectacular exhibition titled Free Market, which promises to celebrate, explore and reimagine the vital role of Ireland’s small town market places.
The exhibition will feature original content from the Free Market Venice Biennale Pavilion, including architectural models and drawings.
At the end of the evening, at Friars’ Gate Theatre, there will be a performance of a brand new composition that will draw on the sounds of the locality with live narrators, sound artists, and musicians - “with a twist”.
Over in Ballyneety, the local Men’s Shed group will lead in the showcasing of local talent, with singing performances, dancing, storytelling and more lined up.
Kilfinane will host a Variety Night to celebrate the reopening and launch of the newly named Old Chapel Rooms, featuring a host of local acts rich in culture, arts and heritage with traditional music and dance to welcome the public.
On the topic of Gaeilge, the Old Library in Kildimo are extending an open invitation to their Tráthnóna Chultiúr, promising storytelling and music with a few cups of tea and slices of cake thrown in.#
Is that all the events?
Not at all. There's lots more, and you can view the full programme right here.