OVER half a million people last night attended galleries, museums and cultural spaces around the country for Ireland’s biggest ever Culture Night.
The fifth year of the annual event saw it expand to 20 towns, cities, counties and islands across Ireland, reaching as far as the islands of Tory and Inis Meáin and marking the first time that Gaeltacht regions have been included.
Having began as a small scale cultural event in 2005 in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, it has now become an All-Ireland event. This year’s event saw cultural activities in Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, participating as well as many more in towns and villages nationwide.
In Dublin, Culture Night took place in more than 132 venues, including the GPO, Leinster House, Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Science Gallery and Croke Park.
The festival was opened jointly by Dublin’s Lord Mayor Gerry Breen and veteran Hollywood star Maureen O’Hara, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday.
Cork Culture Night was the biggest ever with over 60 venues taking part and more than 20,000 people visiting exhibitions, performances, workshops and other cultural activities taking place from early evening through to late night in venues across the city.
In Northern Ireland, Belfast and Derry showcased a programme of free events. It’s the second time that Belfast has hosted the event which attracted more than 15,000 people into the city centre.
The programme included free gigs, walking tours and interactive events in locations across the city.
Last night was Derry’s inaugural event, marking a rehearsal for 2013 when the city will be the British city of culture.
The “culture night” phenomenon was inspired by European cities such as Reykjavik, Paris and Copenhagen.
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