Clear your schedules because Culture Night is coming up and there’s loads on that you’re going to want to pencil in. Always one for the books, no matter where you are, Galway has a huge line up of events on to celebrate.
That’s all well and good…but what exactly is culture night? Well, if you’ve always wondered but have been too afraid of seeming like an uncultured swine to ask, then read on.
Culture Night is undoubtedly one of the best nights of the year, with bucketloads of free activities to pay tribute to creativity, the arts and naturally enough…culture too (surprise surprise). Taking place September 20 from roughly 5 p.m. onwards there will be over 35 events taking place across 17 towns and villages in County Galway.
Expect a night of complete cultural immersion with music, poetry, fireside tales, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, dance, drama, heritage tours, food…the list goes on. Organised by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Galway County Council, this year’s theme is ‘wrap up in culture’. And boy do we plan to.
I’ve had a gander over the schedule of events and picked out some highlights of things going on around the county.
The Blue Notes Choir at Palás
The Blue Notes Choir are a mixed contemporary community choir who sing a capella in four- and five-part harmony. Sounds like Pitch Perfect come to life. They cover all genres of music ranging from soul and pop to rock and folk. All housed in Palás, Galway’s stunning arthouse cinema in the garden of a reinstated 1820s merchant house.
House Party at Fibín Teo
We’re always up for a house party and this one promises to be epic, though it’s not an actual party but a play. Set in a three-story house, it tells the story of a blossoming romance between a young boy and girl before a “rag-tag ensemble of party animals enter and the night swings gloriously into action”.
Sounds like the usual goings-on of any good house party though to be fair.
Readings, Radio, Recital and Art at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop
It’s no secret that I think Charlie Byrne’s is possibly the best bookshop in the world, so this was always going to make the list. The literary gathering at Charlie Byrne’s is a Culture Night tradition and well, it’d be rude to miss it.
Galway authors who have had a book published in the last year are invited to read a short extract from their work. Galway Bay FM will broadcast their Arts Show live from the venue and there will also be a piano recital by the Catalan artist Rosio R Grau. It’s events like this that give people their undying grá for Charlie Byrne’s.
The Green Man Herbal Workshop at Brigit’s Garden
Definitely one for the green-thumbed out there, join Alexandre Vanfracken for a wander around Brigit’s Garden. The garden is nestled to the west of Lough Corrib and is described as “a place of connection with nature, beauty and Celtic heritage”.
You’ll learn about local herbs; how to identify them, their everyday uses, the folklore surrounding them…basially all the knowledge you’d need to survive the apocalypse.
Country Kitchen Trad Session in Portumna
Partial to a bit of trad myself, though who isn’t? Put the kettle on, grab a stool and settle in for a serious session. Characterised as being informal and impromptu gatherings of musicians, this one is taking place in a country kitchen in Portumna. You can’t get more Irish than that. I fancied myself as quite the tin-whistle player back in the day so maybe I’ll join in…probably not though. Find out more here.
Like many good things, Culture Night may come only once a year, but the event leaves a lasting legacy that encourages people to continue supporting and promoting the arts. With so many options to choose from, there’s no excuse to stay in.
Visit the Galway Culture Night website for details.