Previous years have seen me scuttling around the city doing as many as 11 events, and then having to sit out the rest of the weekend, so this year I opted for a more sensible approach.
First port of call was the Little Museum of Dublin, which opened to much fanfare a couple of years ago and I had still not managed to see. It's so little that a queue had formed but luckily we were only in it for about 10 minutes. Shortened down tours were being done and we joined one just as it began. Each of the rooms has a visual feast of artefacts, pictures and furniture. Our tour guide was excellent, pointing out the best bits, sharing anecdotes and encouraging a healthy dose of audience participation. The tour took about half an hour and the queue was significantly longer on the way out. I'll definitely be back for a longer visit soon. I would like to know the history of that particular house, which didn't come up.
After a short break for food in Gourmet Burger Kitchen, we joined a tour of Powerscourt Townhouse centre. It's a place that has long fascinated me: built for Viscount Powerscourt in the late 18th century for when he stayed in town, the notion that it all belonged to one family and it was their smaller house fires the imagination. The tour promised to show the house as it was then. Unfortunately, it was all very disappointing. A large crowd had gathered on the steps and the tour guide had no microphone, so we couldn't hear most of what she said at the start, despite being relatively close. We followed her downstairs through Pygmalion Bar, which was the kitchens. The groups was so large that getting through the noisy bar was a bit of a mess and she'd already started talking again when we reached the main floor of the centre. We tried listening again but really couldn't hear a thing. I did mention it to some other staff members and they apologised, saying it wouldn't be so loud on the upper floors. However, time on Culture Night is precious and I didn't want to waste time straining. I do note from their website that tours can be booked, so I'm going to try and get a posse together.
A member of our party wanted to see the New Art Studio on Mary's Abbey, so we trundled across the city to see a veritable commune of artists and their studios. I was amused at how messy they all were - not Francis Bacon level, but all could do with a scrub-up. Some artists were offering wine but I was driving, so I had pass. They had made temporary use of a space in the Capel Building across the road for an exhibition.
One reason I had my car was so that we could make our final stop of the evening. Dunsink Observatory had long been on my list of places to visit and we headed out there, with some helpful from our smartphones. The road up to it would not be out of place in a zombie film, which of course means it's a great location for seeing the stars, and the city. We parked and joined an excellent talk (the highlight of the evening) on the history of Dunsink and its Grubb telescope. William Rowan Hamilton was based there for his whole illustrious career and Erwin Schrodinger worked there during his time in Ireland. After the talk, we had a wander around the main house and got to look through some telescopes set up to view a very nice Harvest moon.
So that was it for my 2013 Culture Night. Well done to all involved. More of this. Why can't it be more often?