Whether you’re into music, theatre, art, literature, history and heritage or comedy, you’ll find some cultural happening to suit your taste.

Wood Quay Summer Sessions

The Wood Quay Summer Sessions, run by Dublin City Council, are a series of free lunchtime gigs that take place every Thursday in July from 1-2pm in association with First Music Contact (FMC), Improvised Music Company (IMC), Music Network and Contemporary Music Centre (CMC). “When Dublin City Council came to us and asked ‘Do you want to programme some music for Thursdays during the summer?’ we said, ‘Why don’t we show all of Dublin’s music?'” said Angela Dorgan, CEO of First Music Contact. “Events like the Wood Quay Summer Sessions can help to bring artist

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Dublin’s Top Ten Works of Art

The Book of Kells in Trinity is arguably Dublin’s most famous work of art but what of all the internationally renowned masterpieces housed in the Dublin galleries? Here are ten of the major artworks waiting to be discovered behind doors you walk past every day. In the National Gallery: 1. Caravaggio – The Taking of Christ Caravaggio painted this dramatic scene of the arresting of Jesus in 1602 for the Roman Marquis Ciriaco Mattei. We see Judas identifying Christ with a kiss and the guards moving in for the arrest. The darkness of the painting is lit from within by a lantern held by St Peter, although this is considered to be a self-p

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The Ark: Engaging kids’ creativity

For 23 years The Ark in Temple Bar has provided the children of Dublin, and of Ireland, with the opportunity to experience and participate in art and culture. We visited The Ark to learn about what’s on offer for children and families today. The Ark is a dedicated cultural centre for children. It was the first of its kind in Europe, quite a forward-thinking facility for this little island. It was founded after the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child, which safeguards children’s right to access culture and art. The Ark “believes in every child’s right to discover and love art in a society where creativity and culture are valued a

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Vampire jets and vases at Collins Barracks

The National Museum of Ireland… No, wait a second: ‘the National Museums of Ireland’. That’s right, there’s actually four of them – at four different sites. Three of them are purpose-built; the buildings have always been museums: that’s the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street, the Archaeology Museum on Kildare Street and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo. The fourth site, Collins Barracks – which accommodates the Museum of Decorative Arts and History ̵

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Dublin Treasures – Sunlight Chambers

‘Sunlight Chambers’, it says over the door of the office building on the corner of Parliament Street and Essex Quay. What a lovely name! But why is the building called that? Facing north across the Liffey, it certainly wasn’t catching many rays when Dublin.ie visited on a day in December. With its arched windows and overhanging eaves, it looks like an Italian palace, built perhaps for a cadet branch of the Medici family c1500. But hang on a second, what’s with the strange 3D decorations stuck on the walls of the first and second storeys? There’s nude babies, a donkey, a man building a boat, two men constructing an arch, a bunch of Renaissance-styl

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Dublin Treasures – Temple Bar Icon Walk

Pitching itself as “the greatest story ever strolled”, the Icon Walk cracks the heart of the Irish people wide open and tie-dyes the backstreets of Temple Bar with its vibrant colours. Like spokes from a hub, the walk’s rainbow-painted laneways radiate outwards from The Icon Factory, a gallery and shop at the corner of Aston Place and Bedford Lane. Founded in 2009 by Barney Phair, this not-for-profit artists’ co-operative is run for the benefit of the many creatives that ply their wares here. These streets are an unexpected treasure trove of culture and colour, splashed across spray-p

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Creative Dublin: Galia Arad, Singer-songwriter

Galia (pronounced Ga-lee-ah) Arad is just back from playing support on Marc Almond’s UK tour. Last year, she toured Ireland with Jack L. She regularly tours Europe with Jools Holland, most recently playing support for him at the 3Arena in Dublin. And she owes it all to Shane McGowan and his manager Joey Cashman, who in a strange, unexpected way set Galia’s music career in train and took her from small-time gigging in New York to centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall. Coming from a classically trained background, Galia moved to New York from her Indiana home in her early twenties to pursue a singer-songwriter career with a musical style that she calls “Bob Dylan meets

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A City of Words: Jonathan Swift

2017. The 350th anniversary of Jonathan Swift’s birth. Word of the year according to Collins Dictionary: ‘fake news’. But, says Swift expert Brendan Twomey, there was plenty of that about in Dublin back in the early eighteenth century. To keep Swift’s name in the papers, his printer frequently made up stories about him, his celebrity friends and their amusing escapades. Gulliver’s Travels itself is a sort of fake news; the book purports to be an account of the actual travels of an actual voyager. Also according to Collins, usage of the word ‘Swiftian’ peaked back in 1959. But don’t get the idea that Swift’s legacy is on the wan

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Chequerboard

John Lambert, aka Irish musician Chequerboard, is by his own admission, “not a megaphone person,” however his music is being heard loud and clear around the world. Chequerboard’s most popular song on Spotify, Opening the Gates, has had almost 11 million streams, a pretty phenomenal achievement for the Dublin man whose gentle atmospheric music comprises looped acoustic guitar and textured electronica. Sitting down for a chat in the coffee shop of the Chester Beatty Library, John is modest about this unexpected success and candid about the winding road to it. Chequerboard’s ambient music was born from no

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Creative Dublin: Laura McGann, Documentary filmmaker

Laura McGann’s documentary, Revolutions, traces the growth of roller derby in Ireland. It’s full of outspoken characters and breakneck action, and it tells the compelling story of the birth of a sport – the creation of something new – in recession-era Ireland. McGann, originally from Newbridge in Kildare, studied media at Ballyfermot College of Further Education and film at Liverpool Hope University. She returned to Ireland in 2010, when ‘a lot of things were winding down or ending’ in the country. Roller derby ‘was starting and had a really great energy about it. So, I think the timing

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Historians in Residence

Just to be clear, the position of Historian in residence doesn’t come with an actual residence. ‘More’s the pity’, says Cathy Scuffil, who is the Historian in Residence for that LA-sounding bit of Dublin known as ‘South Central’. This is one of the six sectors of Dublin – each based on electoral districts – that now have their own historian. Tara Doyle of Dublin City Council runs the programme, which builds on the success of the 1916 commemorations and a surge in interest in history in general. She sums it up very simply: ‘it’s all about letting historians talk to people about history’. This doesn’t mean that it’s simple to do, however. 

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The Royal Irish Academy

On the morning that I visit the Royal Irish Academy, they’re testing out the new Luas on Dawson Street; empty carriages move by while people take time to stop and take in Dublin’s ever-evolving cityscape. The Royal Irish Academy has been located at 19 Dawson Street since 1851 when it moved from its Grafton Street origins to the more spacious Academy House. Sandwiched between Saint Anne’s Church and the Mansion House, you have probably walked past its elegant exterior hundreds of times and assumed that whatever happens inside has nothing to do with you. But the Academy wants you to know that it has. Pauric Dempsey, the Head of Communications, meets me in reception

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