Culture Night 2018 is part of a free annual event where museums, private collections and other cultural venues open their doors to the public. Free culture events like this tend to bring the Austrians living in Dublin out of the woodwork because, stereotypical as it is, it reminds us of home. Honestly, no where in Dublin have I ever heard so many Austrian accents. I’m no different and I dragged along Sam to explore places in Dublin we would have normally never seen. Whereas last year we went to see some Dublin classic’s like the Book of Kells and Christchurch Cathedral, we were much more adventurous this year.
Freemason Hall was a random lucky pick. While it was popular, we only had to wait about 10-15 minutes and it was well worth the wait. We walked in with the expectation of seeing some antiques, perhaps a bit of a museum. But we got so much more. On the first and second floor we viewed the lavishly decorated meeting halls. Like time travellers we move through medieval decorations and furniture, on to baroque and Egyptian. In each room there was a local Freemason, explaining the symbols hidden in these rooms in an entertaining way. They explained curious items, such as this hoofed table.
Between antique knickknacks and the museum on the ground floor, our favourite part was just to linger in the historical atmosphere, each of those rooms exuded.
We spontaneously walked into the National Library, when we coincidentally found ourselves next to its entrance. While we spent much less time there, we were not disappointed. In the entrance hall we listened to a choir perform for a moment, before ascending the winding stairs to the reading room. As an undeniable bookworm I couldn’t help but to just stand there and stare at the gorgeous atmosphere. I didn’t even notice the curiously mint colour pattern until a friend pointed it out in the image. Whether you’re here to stare at old books or for the architecture (even the loos look fancy!), there’s also a W.B. Yeats exhibition on the ground floor that is easy to miss. While it is small, it gives a quick insight into the popular poet’s life.
Last but not least we made it to the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, and more specifically, their Geophysics department. While we were waiting for the tour to start, they entertained us with a seismograph set up on the floor. It was connected to a screen, so we could see the direct impact of our foot steps and stomps in the graph’s up-and-down movements. The first part of the tour gave us a quick background on an exciting project they’re working on right now, before the second part led us directly into the geophysicists’ office. There, Sam immediately fell in love with the desk setup, consisting of six monitors. We got a demonstration of what the recordings of the seismographs all over Ireland look like and what it looks like when there’s a bigger earthquake, like the one in Mexico last September, which scored an 8.1 on the Richter scale. The geologist explaining the waves did a great job of explaining how much you can interpret from what looks like simple up-and-down movements.