MINISTER HEATHER HUMPHREYS probably didn’t expect to spend part of her afternoon face-to-face with sword-wielding pirates, but the joy of her new Arts Minister post is an eclectic schedule.
She had to spend time with the mustachioed men – as well as ballet dancers, fencers and some adorable children wearing not so adorable masks – in St Patrick’s Park in Dublin today to launch this year’s Culture Night.
The national event spans the whole of the island of Ireland and will see the evening of Friday 19 September turning the country into a hotbed of cultural activity.
This year, there is a big emphasis on interactive activity, said Aimee Van Wylick, the coordinator of the event. There are 36 participating counties, cities and town, making the 2014 night “an incredible event”.
This year the particular focus is on more interactive events as well as showcasing unique locations, said Van Wylick. “It’s a special night for all ages.”
Minister Heather Humphreys said that she “would encourage as many people as to come out and enjoy it. Sometimes the simple things in life that are free are often much more rewarding than something that costs a fortune.”
Just back from an Edinburgh culture summit, she was full of the joys of culture and its positive impact on the country:
Culture is part of what we are, it’s part of our identity. Culture is something that appears on every brochure that goes out of Ireland, selling this country… We need to continue to build on our culture and recognise how important it is for our economic recovery.
Highlights of the 2014 Culture Night include a Cork International Short Story Festival event, a Big Gigantic Drum Circle performance in Belfast, country houses opening their doors, Merrion Square opening its basements for performances, drive-in movies in Smithfield, a large installation in a Donegal Gaeltacth factory, and a Hansel and Gretel Music Trail.