Culture Night has been taking place tonight with events in towns and villages around the country, as well as online.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are not the same large-scale gatherings as before. However, organisers said the programme would recognise the importance of the creative sector.

Artists and arts organisations have been hard at work around the country, ensuring that there would be free access to events in the community and online.

More than 800 events were planned, with all details on the Culture Night website.

RTÉ also marked the occasion with a range of special broadcasts across television, radio and online, including a Culture Night Nationwide special, a performance from the RTÉ National Symphony orchestra live on RTÉ Lyric FM and RTÉ Culture, as well as a special edition of the radio arts show Arena.

Culture Night organisers said they are committed to the health and safety of participants, and that they hoped this year's programme would provide an opportunity to recognise the importance and value of the creative sector during this very difficult year.

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In Cork, the city's arts community pulled out all the stops for Culture Night with more than 60 events.

Organisers said the range of livestreams, pre-recorded segments and live in-person events in venues across the city was a huge testament to the creativity and dedication of its arts sector.

This year's culture ambassador is writer Cónal Creedon who can be found online in a collaboration from Cork Opera House with his friend, musician and songwriter John Spillane.

Among the many highlights were a guided tour of the Cork Public Museum and its latest exhibition, Unearthed: Discovering Cork, the City of Trade & Cultures; at Cork University Hospital there was a special performance by the hospital Choir Scrubs; some stand-up comedy at the city's comedy club City Limits; and Elizabeth Fort was open to visitors, subject to Covid-19 safety regulations.

A new public artwork produced by teenage asylum seekers, refugees and migrants from the Cork Migrant Centre working with artist Kate O'Shea depicting their experiences of teenage life in 2020 was also unveiled on the Grand Parade and at Kyrl's Quay.

Writer Cónal Creedon - this year's Cork City Culture Ambassador - standing in front of his portrait by artist Eileen Healy

In Kilkenny, a number of firsts took place as part of Culture Night.

The Butler Gallery Collection could be seen for the first time at the Butler Gallery and visitors had the chance to visit the O'Malley Wing dedicated to renowned Kilkenny artist Tony O’Malley and his wife Jane O’Malley.

A novel exhibition, The Bloods by photographer Amelia Stein, depicts members of the Defence Forces based at the nearby James Stephens Barracks, and the soldiers were also acting as life models for a drawing class for adults this evening.

Also in Kilkenny, the 3,000 Stars Exhibition featuring stars woven by local volunteers to raise awareness and provide information about domestic violence, featured at the Medieval Mile Museum.

Kilkenny Castle’s period rooms were open to view this evening.

Visual in Carlow presented "When I", a digital programme of works and performances for the screen, featuring some of the country’s leading artists as well as people from the local community.

Several events were being held in Clonmel to mark Culture Night, including a "bijou opera" at the town’s Main Guard, presented by the South Tipperary Arts Centre.

This included baritone Brendan Collins, soprano Joan O’Malley and pianist Niall Kinsella.

Some online events were organised in Co Wexford, including Ceol Mo Chroí Culture Club in Gorey, with the whole community coming together through traditional song, music, poetry and stories, and singer Rachel Uí Fhaoláin performing via Zoom from the Book Café in the town.

The Creative Hub at Mallin Street in Wexford town was hosting various artists throughout the evening and night and was offering an opportunity to browse the artworks and meet those working on them.

Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford city is holding screenings of some short films, including Marian, Look Both Ways and Far Away Still, which were commissioned and created during lockdown.

We Are Tall Buildings was an online event "comparing our vanishing youth with the beauty of Waterford’s buildings" and took place from 9-9.30pm.

Other events were being held in Waterford’s Medieval Museum, the Watch Tower on Manor Street and the Gallery of Modern Art on Lombard Street, among others.

Artists and cultural organisations across Limerick marked Culture Night 2020 with a mixture of live and online and digital events.

Aerial dance company, Fidget Feet, took part in Limerick's Culture night

The aerial dance company, Fidget Feet, launched a specially commissioned film of their work using the city's ancient buildings.

These include the 11th century King John's Castle and the nearby St Mary's Cathedral as their sets and backdrops in a film called 'Limerick Undreamed'.

The film explores the themes of a city's people and their connection to place.

Dance Limerick performed a newly commissioned dance work 'Bloodlines' developed by choreographer John Scott with a cast of migrant dancers based on their own life stories of displacement, and to reflect a mixing of cultures in Ireland.

The St John's Brass and Reed band, established in 1865 and one of Limerick's oldest performing bands, were giving a workshop on the brass family of instruments and the history of the band.

The 39th EVA International festival of art, which occurs every two years, also kicked off a series of online and location-based works.

They have been commissioned from national and international artists.

EVA this year will be done in three phases because of the restrictions of the pandemic with two more phases of the project continuing into early 2021.

Additional reporting: Jennie O'Sullivan, Conor Kane, Cathy Halloran