On September 24 a total of 20 towns, cities, and counties across Ireland took part in Culture Night. In Mayo the evening was a countywide event giving people in all parts of the county the opportunity to go along to their local venue and check the wealth of activity that goes on there. Not surprisingly, people did just that. In the past five years Culture Night has become a national phenomenon and in 2009 Mayo was delighted to be part of the event. In a unique take on events the occasion in Mayo became a countywide event, a first for culture night. Feedback from venues and audience was extremely positive.
In 2010 the event in Mayo grew substantially, and saw 15 arts and cultural venues across the county extend their opening hours and their warm hospitality to local communities. The visitors ranged from regulars to new faces, people from different parts of the country and indeed the world, all looking to sample some Mayo culture. New locations were involved this year and people were invited to come out in force on the night. Whether we planned to keep it local and go along to what was happening in our town or village or decided to go further afield, or even aimed to visit a number of venues on the night, we were not disappointed.
The activities ranged from talks to open mics, from exhibitions to gallery tours, from singing to haiku competitions and painting, and from film screenings to printmaking and studio visits. The evening displayed the unique and splendid culture that is distinctively Mayo. Most notable was the warm welcome available at all participating venues and the open invitation to all to come along and find out more and join in the activities.
On the night, Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet, Ballina Arts Centre, Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ballycastle, Custom House Studios and BLINK visual arts venues in Westport, Linenhall Arts Centre and Artsquad in Castlebar, the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Turlough, Claremorris Open Exhibition, and The Jackie Clarke Library and Archives, and Ballina Library were champions of the Culture Night initiative.