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Programme for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture revealed with over 1,900 events to take place

Galway 2020 will comprise of over 1,900 events across 154 projects.

Members of the French performance company Gratte Ciel rehearse in Eyre Square, Galway ahead of their live performance at the launch of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme, Ireland.
Members of the French performance company Gratte Ciel rehearse in Eyre Square, Galway ahead of their live performance at the launch of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme, Ireland.
Image: Eamon Ward via PA

THE OFFICIAL PROGRAMME of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture was launched today and will be the “most complex cultural event ever undertaken on the island of Ireland”, according to organisers. 

Galway 2020 will comprise of over 1,900 events across 154 projects, 170 partnerships and collaborations with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organisations from over 30 different countries. 

The programme will take place across the villages, towns, islands and city of Galway and, in recognition of Ireland’s historic traditions, will be based around the four fire seasons of Ireland’s ancient Celtic calendar Imbloc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain.

Galway 2020 will begin on 1 February with week-long celebrations erupting in towns and villages across the county, culminating in a large public ceremony and spectacle on February 8th in Galway city.

Seasonal ceremonies will mark the progression of the Galway 2020 programme, which will run through until the end of January 2021. To celebrate the end of a momentous 12 months for Galway as European Capital of Culture, the closing event will transform Galway into a glittering gallery without walls.

President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins said: “The journey that began when a small group of dedicated people presented the Galway 2020 bid book is now nearing the final and most crucial stage, the programme for the year is now unveiled. Galway 2020 will be an Irish programme, with universal relevance and resonance.

“The festival will provide uniquely Galwegian, Irish and international perspectives exploring those quintessential Irish themes of language, landscape and migration.

“Ours is a society that values the work of the imagination (‘samhlaiìocht’ in the ancient Irish language), and that appreciates the coming together of creativity, talent and a good story. Samhlaiìocht has been central in both the creation and redefinition of Irish identity throughout our history, and Galway 2020 rightfully celebrates its pivotal significance, too, for Ireland’s future.

“In the Irish language, a meitheal describes the tradition in which people in rural communities gathered together to help each other with labour intensive tasks, on the basis of a sense of community and reciprocity. Likewise, Galway 2020, through its spirit of teamwork, inclusiveness and participation, will, I am sure, become a celebration of the ‘meitheal’ of the local, national and European communities of which we all are part.”

Galway 2020 will host 30 projects celebrating the Irish language; 125 world premieres and 135 Irish premieres. The programme themes of landscape, language and migration are interwoven throughout the programme with national and international artists responding to these themes. There will be a special emphasis on the Irish language, reinforcing Galway as the capital of the Gaeltacht, home to the only bilingual 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.

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