One thousand, nine hundred events, along with the themes of landscape, language, and migration, to take place across County Galway's villages, towns, islands, and its city, sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience
A performance, literally out of this world, by Anna Mullarkey and the French performance group Gratte Ciel, erupted in Eyre Square, at the city's center, for the launch of the official Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture program.
Galway 2020 will be the largest and most complex cultural event ever undertaken on the island of Ireland comprising of over 1,900 events across 154 projects, 170 partnerships, and collaborations with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organizations from over 30 different countries.
The ambitious program will take place across the villages, towns, islands, and city of Galway. In recognition of Ireland’s historic traditions, the year-long program will be based around the four fire seasons of Ireland’s ancient Celtic calendar - Imbloc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa, and Samhain.
The program themes of landscape, language and migration are interwoven throughout the program with national and international artists responding to these themes.
The emphasis on the Irish language reinforces Galway as the capital of the Gaeltacht, home to the only bi-lingual city in Ireland. Migration, which celebrates Irish history as well as the diversity of cultures in Europe, will be explored against the backdrop of Galway, a city where 24% of the population was born outside Ireland. And landscape, Galway’s position on the edge of Europe, as it prepares to become the cultural heart of Europe.
From food, music, dance, literature, and visual arts to poetry, theatre, sport, and largescale spectacles, everyone will get the opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The year-long program will begin on Feb 1, 2020, with week-long fiery celebrations erupting in towns and villages across the county, culminating in a large public ceremony and spectacle on Feb 8 in Galway city.
Seasonal ceremonies will mark the progression of the Galway 2020 program, which will run through until the end of January 2021. To celebrate the end of a momentous 12 months for Galway as the European Capital of Culture, the closing event will transform Galway into a glittering gallery without walls.
The program of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture was launched by Ireland's Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan and Chairperson, Arthur Lappin along with Creative Director of Galway 2020 Helen Marriage.
At its launch, Madigan said, "The European Capital of Culture designation is an exceptional opportunity to highlight to an international audience, not only the strength and vibrancy of Galway’s culture and creativity in all its many forms but the importance of our place in Europe."
Creative Director, Marriage said “We live in challenging times. The world is shifting around us and our cultural community must take the lead, to find a voice or be the voice, to explore the past and shape the future. It truly feels like now is the time for Galway, on the geographic edge of Europe to be that leader."
She added, "Galway 2020 will be a year of radical thinking that will live long in the memory and influence all who follow behind.”
Chair of Galway 2020, Lappin said “I believe that this program will be a catalyst to help us reflect on: how we see ourselves; how we relate to our neighbors - near and far; how we embrace our native culture and assimilate the cultures of those who have come to live here; and how we relate to our environment. It will help us to see things that were hidden and to rejoice in the discovery of our diversities."
CEO of Galway 2020 Patricia Philbin said, “The publication of this program marks another milestone towards an exceptional year of cultural celebration, and I want to sincerely thank everyone that supported, promoted or played a role in achieving the European Capital of Culture designation and the development of the program."
Visit galway2020.ie to view or download the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture program and plan your journey to the edge of Ireland and the cultural heart of Europe.