Looking for something to do this weekend? Here’s over 30 events you can attend for free as part of the Culture Date with Dublin 8 Festival. The festival runs from Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th of May.
Now in it’s third year, Culture Date with Dublin 8 is a homegrown festival that highlights the diverse cultural assets that its postal code has to offer. Over the coming weekend, a number of acclaimed historical, architectural, and cultural institutions are offering free tours, workshops, exhibitions, and talks to the public.
Dublin 8 boasts some of the city’s most renowned and admired cultural locations and landmarks. The Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed park, sprawling an impressive 1,750 acres, is one such location. A popular spot during any season, the park offers a beautiful, green oasis in the middle of our capital city. However, it also houses a number of significant historical and cultural sites. These include: the Wellington Testimonial, the largest obelisk in Europe; the third oldest zoo in the world; the biggest Viking cemetery outside of Scandinavia; and, of course, Áras an Uachtaráin, the home of our president.
Dublin 8 is also home of two cathedrals, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral, both dating back to the medieval period. As part of the festival, visitors can explore the crypts of Christ Church, one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland, and ring the bells of St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Also within its catchment area are such notable landmarks as Marsh’s Library, a well-preserved library of the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment, which contains over 25,000 books, 300 manuscripts, and 80 incunabula; Kilmainham Gaol, famed for being the location where the leaders of the 1916 Rising were held and executed; Richmond Barracks, a former British barracks in Inchicore where Irish rebels were interned following the Rising; St Steeven’s Hospital, Ireland’s most eminent 18th century medical institution, now the administrative headquarters of the Health Service Executive; the Guinness Brewery, and with it’s 9,000 year lease, it won’t be going anywhere any time soon; Heuston Station, named in honour of Sean Heuston, an executed leader of the Easter Rising, and designed by London-born architect, Sancton Wood; and the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, a World War 1 commemoration designed by the great memorialist Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Goldenbridge Cemetery, Ireland’s first non-denominational cemetery and resting place of former president W.T Cosgrave, and his son and former Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, is also located with Dublin 8’s confines. The oldest graveyard in Ireland, Bully Acre, is located not too far away, beside the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Art lovers will know that this is also the location of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Ireland’s leading national institution for the collection and presentation of modern and contemporary art. IMMA is just a short walk away from the National College of Art and Design on Thomas Street, the country’s oldest art institution. The college is situated on the site of the old John Power & Sons world-famous whiskey distillery. Some of the apparatus is still located on the campus, making it a unique place to study and visit.
A Living Archive
The area of Dublin 8 is one of the city’s oldest and most historic locations. It developed as a suburb of the medieval walled city in the 12th century. Weaving together Dublin’s most ancient history with it’s more modern rebellious struggles, Dublin 8 has played a significant role in how our capital city has grown and developed. It serves as a microcosm of the city’s culture, history, and architecture; a living archive of who we are.
- Christ Church will be hosting a free tour on Saturday, May 18th, where visitors will have an opportunity to ring the Cathedral’s famous bells. Tickets available here.
- Saint Patrick’s Cathedral will be hosting a free guided tour of its tower & roof space on Saturday, May 18th. Tickets available here.
- On Sunday, May 19th, visitors are invited to a musical tour of Richmond Barracks with local musicians Bernie Tynan and Tony Casey. Tickets available here.
- On Saturday, May 18th, Marsh’s Library will host a LEGO hunt for children with mini-figures of the famous (and not so famous) writers who have visited the historic galleries over the centuries. More information available here.
- On Sunday, May 19th, The Irish National War Memorial Gardens will host a family fun day, with circus performers, stilt walkers and historical reenactments of WW1. Tickets available here.
- On Sunday, May 19, The Liberties Cultural Association will host a free photographic walking tour from The Digital Hub to Thomas Court. More information available here
- On Saturday, May 18th Goldenbridge Cemetry will host a concert in the Temple feat. James Brass Band. More information available here
- On Saturday, May 18, Kilmainham’s Curator will be giving a free tour of their permanent collection and presenting some new Civil War items that have never been on display previously. Tickets available here.
Culture Date with Dublin 8 will run from Saturday, 18th – Sunday 19th of May. All the events are free but booking may be required. The programme has expanded this year and includes a number of new heritage sites. The full schedule of events is available on the festival’s website: www.culturedatewithdublin8.ie