Dublin has always been the cultural centre of Ireland and one of the significant places in Europe in this aspect. It is notorious for the bright figures in the fields of art and especially literature that were born or worked here. Let us just mention a few names – George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. Furthermore, a row of diverse events in all art genres are invariably among the highlights of daily life in the Irish capital. Theatres, cinemas and cultural centres present the latest achievements of world artists to locals and tourists. Due to the mass immigration from all over the world in the last decades, Irish culture has acquired a hint of internationalism, which can be easily noticed in the multicultural atmosphere of Dublin.
Although a large percentage of the Irish population lives in and around Dublin, the capital is not exactly representative of the country in cultural respect. To some extent this is due to the much higher share of foreigners in Dublin than anywhere else on the island. The latter bring their customs and traditions with them and they mingle into the host culture and enrich it. Most immigrants come from countries closely related to Ireland, such as the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries, but there are also fast growing communities of Muslims, Chinese and Russians, which have totally different customs, celebrations etc. All this makes Dublin a melting pot of nations and a flourishing cultural centre.
The exuberant capital of Ireland is very rich in festivals and street celebrations of different kinds, including dance, film, art festivals, food and fun fairs and many, many others. The most splendid and colourful event in early spring is the celebration of St Patrick’s Day, dedicated to the national patron saint. If you happen to sojourn in Dublin in the end of April and beginning of May, pay attention to the triumph of beauty and excitement, called Dublin Dance Festival. For a week or so, thousands gather in the city centre to admire the art of contemporary dance performers from all parts of the globe.
Particularly entertaining is the Children’s Season of the festival, held simultaneously with the main events. A must for fans of classical music is the Handel Festival, carried out annually in honour of the great German composer, narrowly connected with Dublin. One of the more unusual events is the biggest Irish food festival, named Taste of Dublin. Within four days each summer the most prestigious restaurants and the most renowned cooks in the city deliver immense culinary pleasure to more than 30,000 gourmets in the romantic ambience of Iveagh Gardens.
A favourite event for both Dubliners and guests of the capital is the already traditional Culture Night Dublin in September. More than 80 museums, galleries, theatres, cathedrals and cultural institutions of all branches provide a night of free entertainment and discovery for people of all ages and interests. Concerts, exhibitions, workshops, guided walks and a host of indoor and outdoor events provide a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy the diverse cultural life of the Irish capital by night.
Dublin also has a lot to offer to connoisseurs of art and history. A number of magnificent buildings and ensembles, above all cathedrals and government buildings, witness the grandeur of the Georgian epoch. The world-famous Irish castles provide the visitor with a valuable insight into the history of the nation with its secrets and mysteries. Of course, innumerable museums, devoted to even more different themes in all areas of knowledge welcome guests who want to learn anything about Dublin and its culture. Only a small part of those that should be visited at any cost are Chester Beatty Library with its stunning collection of artifacts dating from 2700 B.C. onwards, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery, the City Arts Centre and so on.
When talking about culture and Dublin, we should definitely consider the literature. This city gave birth to some of the most recognized writers of all times. Everyone has heard of the genius Oscar Wilde, the Noble laureates George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett, the enchanting Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. All these exceptional figures in the world history have house museums here. The exquisite atmosphere and charm of Dublin have determined the presence of the city in many memorable literary works, like the masterpieces of Jonathan Swift for instance.
Another element not to be missed from the rich cultural life in Dublin is the theatre. Several excellent locations tempt lovers of the visual art with world-class actors and performances. The largest venue is Mahony Hall in the suburb of Glasnevin. The central part of the capital also abounds in well-known theatres, such as the Gaiety, the Abbey, the Olympia and the Gate. Their repertoire features plays by world classics, operas, music performances and other genres almost every day.