So, Culture Night is upon us again! For 14 years this wonderful event has been growing and growing in strength, artists, musicians, storytellers and more come together across Ireland to host free events to remind us all how utterly brilliant it is that we live in a country that holds creativity and the Arts so close to our hearts!
Gorey has a long heritage of supporting the Arts, from the various festivals held here over the decades, Gorey School of Art, plus all the theatrical groups, dance schools, the various bands, musical groups and the weekly open mic nights and trad sessions in the local pubs.
So, here in Gorey we are throwing ourselves into Culture Night like only we can! It is less, trying to find out what is going on, and more about what to choose from!
If you would like to get more involved in these sorts of activities, Culture Night is a wonderful opportunity to get out and meet like-minded people and find out what clubs and societies are looking for new members. Who knows, this time next year, you could be performing yourself!
So, without any more waffle, let’s take a look at what’s on in Gorey for Culture Night!
The sounds begin at 4.30 pm up at the Library, as the multiple award-winning Trad Group CCÉ Ballygarret kick off the celebrations with an hour-long performance. These guys play with great gusto and you'll find it near impossible not tap your feet and shout out the odd “Yow!”
If you are bringing your children along for Culture Night, local photographer Konrad Ano, (he's the gentleman behind the terrific image of the little girl reading a book on our Main Street that we are using to promote Culture Night in Gorey!), is giving every child the opportunity to become a Pro Photographer and make a portrait of their parents with professional set-up and support in the newly opened “Flash Studio Gorey”, (located above Jack and Jill Charity Shop) from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
You won't need to go far for the next event as, just outside in the Civic Square, you'll find a whole collection of local groups from Ukuleles to Irish Dancing! The Gorey Pipe Band and the Furlong School of Dance will be there too and we've been promised a beautiful sounding performance called the Circle of Magic White Song from the Gorey Polish Association!
That theme of communities, united by a grá for music, will continue as our Polish neighbours and friends join forces with Ballygarret CCÉ to take their “Bridging the Cultures” performance down onto the Main Street from 8 pm, also joining them is Maciej Motyka, a wonderfully talented violinist from Poland and Violin teacher here in Gorey. This should be a rowdy performance, I can imagine, with plenty of dancing at the crossroads Polish/Irish style!
However, if you fancy taking a little rest beforehand, you might want to pop into The Book Café & Bistro at 6.30 pm as Rachel Uí Fhaoláin, a traditional Irish folk singer, will be hosting a wonderful evening of Sean Nós songs, traditional music, poetry recitations and stories. No doubt it will be a particularly bewitching evening!
The musical performances will all finish up at around 9 pm but, in French's Pub they will only be getting started, so if you can manage to find a seat, you can sit back and enjoy the music here too, as the night rolls on. Watch out for the lad playing the bones, a treat to behold!
But if music isn't enough for you, there is always Art! Gorey School of Art is playing a big part in this year’s Culture Night with a series of workshops going on through the late afternoon. Aimed at the younger members of society and adults, there is a choice of workshops touching on many subjects including film archiving, editing, arts & crafts, printmaking and more. They will also be showing a series of films from 4 pm in their own cosy little Cinema, including a showing of the Polish black and white film “Cold War”.
Artist Eoin O'Connor is best known internationally perhaps, for his incredibly vibrant and colourful (& often humorous) depictions of rural Ireland, will be opening his shop/studio located on Esmonde St, on the night between 6 and 9 pm where you can watch him in action creating yet another of his Masterpieces.
And talking of Masterpieces, the Arts Collective “Art in the Open”, will be inviting you to create your own Masterpiece in a 90 minute challenge in Trillium House. Live drawing going on from 6.30 pm but doors open at 6 pm, so get there early, as it's sure to pull in a large crowd!
Finally, if you would rather see the finished product, Partridges is hosting an exhibit by local artist Johanna Toole called “Behind the Scenes” … sounds very intriguing!
Lastly, it might be a little history that takes your fancy, and if so, get yourself up to Christ Church for 7 pm as the immensely fascinating Willie Willoughby will be talking about the Church (built by our collective ancestors I believe!), the graveyard and the Erasmus Smith School Building next door. Listening to Willie & his stories is always interesting so it is sure to be an enlightening evening!
Of course you could always come along and see myself, as I will be in the Market House on the night from 6 pm telling you some of the stories of the town and the area from times past. Did you know Fionn Mac Cumhaill had a home in Kilanerin? Come and hear some of the Myths and Legends associated with this area with me and hear yet more music!
And, if you're in the heritage rich village of Ferns, there will be another great celebration in North Wexford to mark Culture Night 2019 in the cosy setting of The Courtyard Pub at 8pm. There will be singing, dancing, music and storytelling, so this is a great chance to experience true Irish culture!
So whatever your tastes, and where ever you are, just be sure to get out and support your local artists, musicians and the creative minds that live near you, sure isn't that what Culture Night is all about?!