It’s the annual autumnal equinox extravaganza: Culture Night Dublin. This is a chance to ramble around the city as evening closes into night to do things and see things you may be tempted to revisit.
I’ve been going there for several years now. This year I took Teengirl along. She well used to our running forays so there would be no complaints on the rambling front. We only diverge on the little matters of taste and culture. So, yes, that matter would be a little more challenging.
But she likes houses so we charged up to beat the crowd to see the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House.
Well, it looks like the crowd got there before us. That put a little dent in our confidence but we stood in line anyway, until the drizzle became a deluge and so we scarpered.
Oh well, maybe next year…
National Library of Ireland
Plan B involved diving in somewhere that did not have a queue and the National Library of Ireland fulfilled this requirement perfectly. With face painting, a long-running Yeats’ exhibition, the Joly Café, and the Reading Room open, they were keen to appeal to a wide variety of people.
But it was the genealogical research area that appealed to me. The Find My Past database is freely accessible there and I was itching for some action on sleuthing for long gone ancestors. Teengirl, however, recalled an afternoon languishing under a desk at the National Archives “for hours” when she was three, while her mother indulged this fancy before. This time, she very wisely high tailed it out of the library before my notion took root.
Oh, but I’ll be back.
Instituto Cervantes, Lincoln Street
But Teengirl loves dance, and Spanish, so the Instituto Cervantes seemed worth a try.
There was a buzz about the place from the second we got there and it was straight to business with the fun. We followed a lady dressed in typical flamenco costume and soon had Tapas(Teen Girl) and wine(me) in hand. Meanwhile, two professional tango dancers were leading some left footed, but eager, volunteers around the dance floor to cheers and laughter from the crowd. There seems to be a lot happening in Instituto Cervantes, with films, concerts, discussions and workshops.
Definitely worth a return visit.
The Science Gallery, Trinity College
The Science Gallery has free admission and Culture Night or not, is open on a Friday til 8pm. Situated in a corner of the Trinity College campus, it’s a great place to start exploring the delights of the city centre university.
Ours was a whistle stop tour. Tornado deflectors, weather prediction and global warming are of little interest to a typical fourteen year old girl. But it would be worth returning for the film alone and a guided tour of the exhibits.
Yep, I want to see this again.
We rambled around the labyrinthine hotch-potch of Trinity College buildings and followed sounds of babbling voices towards the queue for the old library. This snaked around the green in drizzly rain so we instantly crossed it off our list and soldiered on.
Arena’s Live Concert,Temple Bar
Temple Bar was our final destination. The rain, at least had kept the heaving crowds of previous years in abeyance, so we could ramble along the cobblestones at our ease. And again we followed the sounds, this time to an open air-but sheltered-concert as RTE Radio relayed their arts programme Arena live to the nation.
This was really good fun. It’s always so interesting to see behind the scenes at these broadcasts, from the frantic director hurrying the next acts on and off stage, to the grimaces of the live performers as they tweak their instruments nervously before going live. I didn’t feel time go by as we listened to traditional music, poetry, rap, and an actor’s frenzied monologue. The crowd lapped it up, as thrilled probably by the shelter afforded by Meeting House Square’s giant canopies as they were to be part of the live show.
Thrilled, that is, except for Teengirl. I looked at her bored expression and suddenly noticed that all around me were row on row of grey heads and bald heads, a sea of middle aged people, just like myself. The fact that the RTE concert orchestra was the next act was the final straw for her. And the look on her face was my cue to flee.
Oh well, there’ll be other times.
We ducked and dived out through the crowd, and scurried along with the ghosts and ghouls of the city down along the quays and over O’Connell bridge, past the GPO and across the street to a little place I had spotted earlier-Suso an Italian ice-cream parlour
The delights of Culture Night seemed all the richer with an Italian gelato in hand. I thought it best, however, not to ask Teengirl for her analysis of the evening. The creamy richness and flavour of the ice-cream could do that work of blending all the Culture Night’s delights into a very pleasant memory. It’s always better to leave anything with a good taste in one’s mouth.
And, so, perhaps, when I ask her along to Culture Night next year, she may decide to come back.