Galway has been chosen as European Capital of Culture 2020 along with Rijeka, in Croatia, winning out over Limerick and the Three Sisters (Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny).

Ireland’s tourism authority, Fáilte Ireland, welcomed the boost that this news would bring to the Wild Atlantic Way.

Head of Fáilte Ireland, Fiona Monaghan, said “I am sure that Galway will do us all proud. From a tourism perspective, the exposure from Galway holding the Capital of Culture title in 2020 will be good for the city and county - providing a further boost for the wider region and our popular Wild Atlantic Way brand.”

Here’s the moment the people of Galway heard the good news:

Galway will be the third Irish city to host the event, after Dublin in 1991 and Cork in 2005.

The criteria for being a city of culture means Galway must prepare a cultural program with a strong European dimension, which must have a long lasting impact and contribute to the development of the city. These projects are already underway in Galway.

Patricia Philbin, Project Manager Galway 2020 said “It is a huge honor and responsibility that we take very seriously. We have a wonderful program of extraordinary cultural projects planned…many of which are actually happening now. This fantastic nomination is due in no small part to people of Galway City and County who have backed the bid process with their ideas, energy and commitment.”

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Jane Daly, Programme Manager Galway 2020, said “We pay tribute to Galway’s vision, her innate creativity and Galway’s belief that this could happen. It is going to be extraordinary and we can’t wait to green light some truly monumental cultural projects that will get not just Europe but the whole world talking.”

This was one of their bid videos:

Speaking at the announcement, in the National Concert Hall, in Dublin, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys said it would give the city “a wonderful opportunity to showcase its cultural richness.”

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She said the award will bring the city “an unprecedented focus” at local, national and international level. “It will allow Galway and Ireland as a whole, to put our best cultural foot forward and promote the best of Irish creativity,” she said.

The theme for the Galway’s year as European City of Culture is Making Waves – Landscape, Language and Migration. The total budget will be $50.63 million (€45.75m).

Early this week Fáilte Ireland also announced funding of $1.244 million (€1.125m) announced for key Wild Atlantic Way projects in Galway and Kerry.

The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick announced the funding from Fáilte Ireland’s Capital Grants Allocation for 2016 for two key projects along the Wild Atlantic Way. A grant of €896k is being made available to Galway County Council for the Connemara Greenway and a grant of €225k is being allocated to the OPW towards Phase O’Donovan 1 of the development of new visitor facilities on the Great Blasket Island.

The grant for the development of the Connemara Greenway will fund a new section of the route from Cloonbeg to Athry, running adjacent to Ballynahinch Castle, with an estimated completion date in May 2017. This development is part of a wider plan for the Clifden to Oughterard Greenway that will link up with the planned Greenway from Galway City to Oughterard – ultimately resulting in a 78km Galway to Clifden Greenway offering a cycling experience of scale with international appeal for cycling enthusiasts.

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