10 things to pique your curiosity in Dublin this weekend

16 Jul 2018

Curiosity captured at Smock Alley Theatre during the 2017 Festival of Curiosity. Image: Festival of Curiosity/Facebook

Looking for something to excite and delight the whole family in Dublin this weekend? Check out some of these highlights from the Festival of Curiosity.

The Festival of Curiosity is back in town, bringing with it playful days and curious nights for all ages to enjoy. The weekend series of events designed to inspire and delight through engagement with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) has packed its fifth anniversary programme with a strong line-up of unique cultural experiences across 14 venues.

Some events have already been booked out by early birds, but there are still plenty of free, unticketed events to enjoy as well as spots available on others. The Festival of Curiosity has sold out every year since its inception, so get booking if you don’t want to miss out!

1. Meet your maker(s)

Thankfully, one of the highlights of the Festival of Curiosity calendar doesn’t require tickets or booking, just your curious self. Dublin Maker will take over its spot in Merrion Square on 21 July with a record number of projects on display. Whatever sets your maker senses tingling – be it origami, robotics, knitting, 3D printing, board games, woodturning, LEDs or lasers – there will be something for you to check out.

2. Play music

Another open public event will be stationed at Wolfe Tone Square for the weekend. Playground of Sound is a pop-up installation that will be open from 11am to 6pm for curious adults. Interactive plants and playground staples will become musical instruments with the help of willing bodies ready to compose a song of the city.

3. Follow Catherine McGuinness

As a tour guide, Catherine McGuinness is nothing short of a national treasure, and Festival of Curiosity is making the most of her talent for entertaining as she enlightens. McGuinness is leading a number of walking tours throughout the four days of the festival, from a nature walk around St Stephen’s Green to discovering fossils hidden in our city’s walls and buildings. (Booking required.)

4. Get happy

Want to find out the secret to happiness? Science is here to help, with snappy talks and lighthearted demos at Smock Alley Theatre on Friday 20 July. The Happy Hack promises a few laughs from scientists trying to figure out what makes us happy, with support from Laughter Yoga and the LaLaLa Choir. (Booking required.)

5. Blow your mind

Bubble artists Marco Zoppie and Rolanda have toured 37 countries with their aptly titled family show, Bubbles. Coming to the National Concert Hall this weekend, this promises to be a spectacle of bubble sculptures that will make your eyes pop. (Booking required.)

6. See stars

Smock Alley Theatre is a centre of a lot of the action during this year’s Festival of Curiosity, and Starfield invites drop-in visitors to check out a unique interactive experience where they can swing softly among the stars. Created by the French art collective Lab212/Cyril Diagne, this addition to the line-up is presented by The French Embassy in Ireland.

7. Go on a treasure hunt

A handy one for those who can’t commit to some more tightly scheduled events, the Urban Explorer Treasure Hunt is open for participants from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Simply pick up your clues at Smock Alley and solve a series of fun riddles, puzzles and science tests that will take you around the city. All those who manage to solve the lot will be entered into a draw for spot prizes.

8. Get back to nature

Nature has inspired many great innovations, and you can learn about some of these ingenious inventions on the Biomimicry guided tour at the National Botanic Gardens on Saturday. Tickets for the tour cost €5 per person and will be allocated on the day on a first come, first served basis.

9. Conquer your Everest

Part of the Family Explorer Series putting real-life explorers in the spotlight, Everest Lab invites young and old to join YouTube and Blue Peter Science Guy Greg Foot on a scientific adventure to the world’s highest pop-up lab at Everest Base Camp. (Booking required.)

10. Journey from the sea to the stars

In From the Sea to the Stars at the Science Gallery on Sunday, Irish aquanaut Dr Marc Ó Griofa will share what his experience was like training astronauts for the challenges of space travel. Ó Griofa was a crew member on the NEEMO undersea mission aboard the Aquarius research station and laboratory at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic