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Church venues gear up for Culture Night

By Sarah Mac Donald - 08 September, 2019

Culture Night returns on Friday 20th September with an increasing number of parish churches and even some cathedrals joining arts and cultural organisations in opening their doors to the public for free late night cultural events.

This year’s #CultureNight or #OícheChultúir is also being celebrated on four new €1 postage stamps issued by An Post.

One of the parishes participating in Culture Night for the first time is Newbridge in Co Kildare, which has brought in Bishop Denis Nulty to assist them in their evening of poetry.

The works of well-known poets including Seamus Heaney, WB Yeats, Mary Oliver, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Warsaw Shire, Emily Dickinson and Drew Dillinger will feature in a series of readings.

The poems will be read in the newly refurbished parish centre on Station Road in the Co Kildare town by Fr Paul Dempsey, parish priest, as well as award winning local writer and playwright Margaret Rowe-Kane, and award-winning poets Desmond Egan and Emma Tobin in addition to Bishop Nulty.

Local composer Padraig Meredith will be providing a musical interlude to the evening with some of his own compositions.

Brenda Drumm, chair of Newbridge parish pastoral council, said the parish was delighted to be celebrating Culture Night for the first time. “Faith and culture go hand in hand, and this annual nationwide night of culture offers a perfect opportunity to the parish to be involved and to share poems about faith and life.

“We have a great selection of poets and poetry from the past and the present addressing issues such as love and loss, climate justice, peace in our world and the plight of migrants and refugees. We are delighted to have two award-winning local poets with us and we look forward to hearing their modern poetry as well as hearing some poems familiar from our childhood.”

The parish poetry event, which is one of a number taking place in Newbridge on Culture Night, will begin at 7.30pm and finish at 9pm on Friday 20th September.

Other churches around the country participating in Culture Night include the Augustinian’s church in St John’s Lane, Dublin. When completed the church was described as “poetry in stone”.

On Culture Night people will enjoy an organ recital and a performance by the church choir. The church’s resident organist family, the McNultys, have given continued service to the church since 1939.

Elsewhere in Dublin, the historic Franciscan Adam & Eve church will open its doors on Friday evening. It is promoting itself as “the only church in Ireland named after a pub”!

The Franciscans have ministered in the Dublin 8 area since the 13th century and this is an opportunity to learn about their history through a tour of the church which features stained glass, as well as art and crafts by well-known Irish artists. Tours will start at 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

The Central Catholic Library, which was founded as a subscription library by Irish Jesuit Fr Stephen Brown in 1922, will also open to the public on Culture Night. The Georgian house now holds a collection of over 60,000 books, covering the Catholic tradition in literature, philosophy, theology, history, science, the visual arts and music. Visitors will have an opportunity to see material from the library’s archives as well as an exhibition of art books which illustrate the culture of books and reading.

Christ Church Cathedral’s offerings for Culture Night include pre-booked guided tours, musical performances and free entry. Check out the cathedral’s website for full details of what’s on and how to book.

Over at Clonliffe College in Dublin, two exhibitions of archival material will be on display relating to the college’s history. Opened in 1859, plans are underway for a new chapter in the college’s history. Live music will be provided by primary and secondary level students with the Dublin Diocesan Music Group.

In Cork, Nano Nagle Place will host events between 4pm–9pm for both adults and children. These will include drama, hip hop, music, art, film and environmental crafts. Visit the website for more information on events at Nano Nagle Place.

Meanwhile, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral will start Culture Night with choral cvensong at 6:15pm. Guided tours will be available at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm. There will be a short performance by the cathedral choir at 7:45pm, providing a sample of the Cathedral’s almost 700-year-old musical tradition.

St Fin Barre’s welcomes about 30,000 visitors from all over the world each year. A visit to the cathedral provides insights into the story behind its canon ball, the historic cathedral organ in a pit and some of the best stained glass and mosaics in the country. The cathedral also contains more than 1,500 sculptures and carvings, and has an intricate chancel ceiling.

For more information on events in your local area visit the Culture Night website.

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