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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 4 August 2021

Dublin secrets and Irish whiskey: Here's how our Culture Night preview bus tour went

A whistle-stop tour of three sites took in lots to see and do.

Culture Night Preview Tour Dublin Bus (1)

ONE DOUBLE DECKER bus, fifty competition winners, and a load of cookies: welcome to TheJournal.ie‘s Culture Night Dublin Bus preview tour.

Culture Night is one of the top nights on Ireland’s cultural calendar, and the key to its success is pretty simple: free events that are open to all and family friendly, taking place across the country.

Teeling Whiskey Distillery

It’s not just a night for arts aficionados, it’s a time for young and old to get to explore their hometown in a new way, taking in the sights, sounds, and hidden treasures it offers.

We like to take our readers behind the scenes of the top cultural events, so for the second year in a row, we teamed up with Culture Night for our special preview Dublin Bus tour.

Culture Night

Our 50 lucky winners were chosen out of over 750 entries, and were brought on a tour that took in three venues: Teeling Whiskey Distillery, the Mansion House and Christchurch Cathedral.

On board, we were welcomed by cookies, a Culture Night programme and TheJournal.ie mug, and while we travelled from venue to venue on the double-decker Dublin Bus, there was a fiddle player – Andrias de Staic – and a storyteller from the Poetry Depot to entertain us.

A drop of whiskey

Culture Night Preview Tour- Teeling Whiskey Distillery (2)

The first stop was Teeling Whiskey Distillery, an Irish independent whiskey company that crafts its brews in Newmarket, Dublin 8.

The impressive building houses a retail space and café, as well as the distillery itself. With Teeling whiskey-spiked (or virgin, for those not drinking) iced tea in hand, we were taken on a tour of the distillery by its friendly guides, finding out how the whole process works.

One of the most fascinating parts was the description of the barrels where the whiskeys are aged – each one is coated with charcoal, and different barrels (like bourbon, or red wine) are sourced from different countries and impart a different taste to each drink.

The huge hand-crafted copper stills are named after the owner’s daughters, which was another bit of insider information we discovered.

After some nibbles, we were back on the bus and off to the Mansion house, which is the home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Leading the tour here was former Lord Mayor Dermot Lacey, who kept us entertained with pithy insights into Mansion House life.

Culture Night Preview Tour Mansion House

He showed us the impressive oak room, which is home to the Lord Mayors’ coat of arms, and told us that Bertie Ahern was the last person to be both Lord Mayor and a government minister at the same time.

We also discovered how the female Lord Mayors used to have a diamond on their coat of arms, before that was eventually changed to a shield.

Inside the dining room is a box of gold and silver cutlery, which Lacey said was discovered in the building’s basement.

Paintings in the Lady Mayoress’s parlour, meanwhile, all are chosen from the Hugh Lane Gallery, while the room is also home to a model knitted by a Dublin Stitch & Bitch group.

After the Mansion House, we went around the corner on the bus to the impressive Christchurch Cathedral.

Culture Night Preview Tour- Mansion House

Though we couldn’t travel into the crypts, as the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour gang were down there, the staff told us the crypts will be open to all on Culture Night, 18 September.

One of the big things we discovered during this tour was that, contrary to what you might think, Christchurch is a real patchwork of architecture from different times.

In one small chapel, you have Medieval floor tiles; in another, an organ dating from the 1980s; and nearby is a Norman doorway.

Culture Night Preview Tour - Christ Church

The history and architecture nerds among TheJournal.ie competition winners clearly appreciated the little discoveries that a tour of this impressive building brought.

And with that, after around two and a half hours on the go, we were free to wander around Dublin ourselves, still warmed up from that Teeling Whiskey and more informed about Dublin than before we got on the bus.

Culture Night Previe Tour-Christ Church

Your Culture Night

It’s not just Dublin that is home to Culture Night events – all across the country you can expect to be entertained and informed by events in towns and cities.

Click through to the official site for the full lowdown, but here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Culture Night takes place across Ireland on Friday 18 September. 

Read: “Dublin isn’t all about tradition and pints of Guinness and leprechauns”>

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