There isn’t so much a Dublin Festival as there is the Dublin Festival Season. Ripe with culture throughout the year, the festivals condense in September to form a never-ending expression of creativity.

Some festivals are home grown, others worldwide. Some last for a day, others just a night. Still others roll on and on, night after night.

This leaves you with one of two approaches: meticulously plot out your plan of attack to make sure you catch the festival you want. Or, rock up at any time and trust that something will be on.

The most versatile option is #CultureNight, an evening when museums and art galleries throw open their doors across Ireland and where performing artists take to the streets. As the capital, Dublin offers more than most and you can dip in and out of boutique portrait studios or even the Natural History Museum as and when you like. Queues are substantial and waiting times can be long but it’s worth it to see giant antlers silhouetted in low amber light or to catch a live performance at the National Arts Gallery, illuminated from outside.

Then there’s PARKing day, a green treasure hunt around the city. Here Dublin follows the quest that began in San Francisco to refashion parking spaces into spots for the greater good. Instead of tarmac, witness organic farms, organic art or simply floral park benches that allow you to stop and watch the world go by.

Dublin Tiger Fringe rounds up experimental performances through spoken word, comedy and dance, taking a look (and a pot shot at) contemporary issues such as transgender identity and abortion.)

And if you miss September, try Open House in October – a chance for free tours and admission to some of the most striking public and private buildings in town all in celebration of the art of architecture.

Money Saving Tip

Save all your museum visits for #culturenight, when admission across the city is free. It takes place each September and the silent sweep of darkness adds a little frisson to the experience.

Did you know?

  • The word Dublin comes from the city’s old name in Gaelic: Dubh Linn. Dubh means black and linn translates to something between a lake, a mire and a pool. The Liffey’s come a long way since then…
  • Many museum curators get riled at the thought of #culturenight. Museums are for all year round, they cry, and then you won’t have to queue!


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