Ireland’s Culture Night is back again, when cultural institutions up and down the country open their doors to the public, free of charge. Organised by the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, this year’s event includes a massive list of participating cultural institutions.

Culture Night has become a sensational success, allowing members of the general public to celebrate art, design, architecture and history together with those responsible for creating and maintaining these resources. To get you started, here is a list of some of the highlights of this year’s evening, handpicked for other design nerds out there.

Design studios are opening their doors by the droves, including:

  • Award-winning graphic design firm Red Dog opens its doors for their first Culture Night. They are even giving away free prints to celebrate!
  • Meet designer/makers in The Design Tower as this huge workspace opens its doors.
  • Help to create a jam jar chandelier or just explore the workshop and store at the Malthouse Design Centre.
  • The Irish Design Shop are launching a brand new range of Irish-designed and made goods, with resident designers’ work on display for Culture Night.
  • Jewellery designer/makers in the heart of Dublin open their doors and workshops in Studio 9. They might even let you create your own custom piece!

Science and technology are also high on the list this year, with multimedia and digital art performances:

  • Explore smell and rock out to “electro-acoustic” multimedia performances in the Centre for Creative Practices.
  • Old favourite The Science Gallery are celebrating the periodic table with their Elements exhibition; “much much much better than school science” according to small children. Highlights for culture night include talks, hands on experiments and a Carbon Barbeque.

Finally, and in my opinion, the most exciting event of all, is a chance to get your smartphone out, gawk at Dublin’s architecturally important buildings and see them in a whole new light. RiseCreatives, an online resource which showcases digital art in Ireland, are hosting two Augmented Reality exhibitions.

You will need to download a┬ámobile reality browser e.g. Layar in order to view these exhibitions. This app overlays the exhibition material onto the viewer’s real world surroundings, making Dublin monuments the backdrop for digital art.

This is just a brief rundown of what Culture NIght 2011 has to offer, for a full list of all the events nationwide and to download the Culture Night brochure, visit the Culture Night 2011 website.