Due to its political past, Cork has been deemed the Rebel County—a term that doesn’t necessarily call to mind the rich cultural insight of the region. However, the nickname can be applied in relation to Cork’s unique culture—offerings that aren’t restricted to the confines of the ordinary.

In other words, Cork’s culture rebels against the mundane, regaling the world with distinctive aspects that inspire and intrigue.

Each year, Cork’s colourful culture is celebrated and showcased with Culture Night. For one night, venues all across Ireland stay open late and open their doors to the public, offering an array of cultural stimuli. Concerts and performances, arts and crafts, food and wine tastings, and workshops are just some of the things on offer in Cork this year. The best part is: it’s all entirely free!

As Arts Officer for Cork City Council, I have had the special opportunity to help develop Culture Night throughout the years. This September 19th will see the biggest Culture Night ever, with over 100 venues participating, hosting over 200 lively events. The night is always a memorable occasion, offering the chance to revel in Cork’s buzzing atmosphere and watch as the city comes alive.

Though it would be impossible to pick just five favourites from this year’s collection, I have selected the below events to showcase the diversity in our programme and indeed the diversity when it comes to Cork’s Culture.

  1. An event this year that we’re very excited about is a piece by artist, Darragh Wilkins. The graduate from Crawford College of Art & Design will spend the week leading up to Culture Night compiling a temporary floor installation in the City Hall Atrium from raw pigment and other materials such as flour. This spectacular visual display will gradually fade throughout the night as spectators come and go and the natural elements intervene. Darragh’s creation of the piece will be live streaming on: www.corkcity.ie/tv, making it possible for those in Ireland (and abroad) to witness.

  2. A Secret Concert with Lisa Hannigan is a feature that will certainly add an element of suspense to the night. September 19th will see the well-known musician perform at a unique venue within the heart of Cork City: a venue that won’t be revealed until the night. There is limited capacity within the location so this gig is one of the most exclusive events this year. With only a small amount of tickets up for grabs, we have decided to hold competitions across our social media- which is great news for those living abroad with loved ones who might be interested. Whether you’re in New York or Navan, Delaware or Dundalk, you can have the opportunity to win. Everyone is hyped about this and it’s no surprise why: I’ve personally been a Lisa Hannigan fan for years, and the prospect of experiencing her concert in an intimate venue on such a special occasion is quite exciting. 

  3. One really fun element of Culture Night will surely be the themed city bus routes, which will highlight Cork’s Jazz, Choral and Folk festivals with free entertainment from musicians delighting passengers all night. This aspect really goes to show just how involved the whole city becomes in the cultural celebration. Buses will be transformed into mini concert halls, gifting passengers with a stimulating performance during their commute. We are taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary, and I think that’s part of the magic behind Culture Night. 

  4. The English Market is one of Cork’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike, and has even been described by acclaimed travel writer Rick Stein as “the best covered market in the UK and Ireland.” Within the walls of The English Market, visitors can indulge their senses as they make their way through rows of stalls offering the best in local produce and artisan goods. Serving Cork City since 1788, the English Market’s atmosphere is always lively and this Culture Night is no exception. On September 19th the public is invited to stroll through the Market, sampling foods for every palette as they enjoy the cheerful tunes of traditional Irish Music. It is one of the many events I’m looking forward to.

  5. And now, an event for all those film buffs out there: an Outdoor Cinema in Fitzgerald’s Park. For those that may not now, Fitzgerald’s park has been newly revamped and re-imagined to include a variety of new features. As one of Cork City’s most popular parks, it will provide the perfect backdrop for the night, allowing the public to experience it in a new and intriguing way. The agenda for the free event, beginning just after sunset, includes a showing of the Oscar nominated short Give up Yer Aul Sins, by Brown Bag Films, followed by the beautifully animated The Secret of Kells by Cartoon Saloon. The festivities continue with a 9:00 screening of The Commitments, one of Ireland’s most beloved classics.

For anyone who wants to keep up to date on Cork City Culture Night or learn more about all the events on offer, I encourage you to please visit http://culturenightcork.ie/ and follow us on Twitter: @corkcityarts or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corkcityarts. Keep in mind that tickets to Lisa Hannigan can be won via social media.