One of my favourite initiatives of 2011 was Dublintellectual, bringing academic subjects from the humanities to a more general audience in an enjoyable and infromal atmosphere. I've enjoyed their events, not only for the events themselves but also because they attract a nice, friendly crowd. (Well mostly friendly: one academic who repeatedly told fans of The Wire that Deadwood was better got quite a few boos.)
Their upcoming event is on Wednesday 18th January 2012 in the Ormond Wine Bar on Ormond Quay at 20:00. (It's a good choice of venue.) The three speakers will be talking about the films of Billy Wilder, the works of Brian Friel and John McGahern, and the art collective Upstart.
The event is free of charge.