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Galway is the European Capital of Culture 2020

Jul 15, 2016

Galway is the European Capital of Culture 2020!
(All photos courtesy of Joe Travers)

Today, Friday 15th July 2016, at the National Concert Hall, an international selection committee announced that Galway will be the European Capital of Culture in 2020, after a selection process that included competitive bids from Limerick and the Three Sisters region.

Galway built its bid Making Waves around the three themes of Language, Landscape and Migration…themes that resonate not just in the west of Ireland but throughout Europe. Galway has committed an investment of €45.47 million to be spent over the next four years. Uniquely Galway brought ten other local authorities into the project as partners and supporters. It also created supportive and sustaining partnerships with the Galway commercial sector who have come in fullheartedly behind the bid with significant financial and logistical support. Already underway are three cultural legacy projects that would have continued whether the county has won or not.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be nominated by the selection committee to be the European Capital of Culture 2020. It is a huge honour and responsibility that we take very seriously. We have a wonderful programme 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", says Patricia Philbin, Project Manager Galway 2020

"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", says Jane Daly, Programme Manager Galway2020

The Galway2020 European Capital of Culture programme is divided into three distinct but integrated strands.

The 10 Weigh Anchor projects involve a number of well established Galway based cultural organisations, who will present large scale, ambitious works that include a strong European dimension. 15 Ship to Shore projects are designed to encourage shared experiences amongst communities within Galway, Ireland, Europe and the Galway diaspora. Already in place are three legacy projects; An Artist in Every Place, Hope It Rains and Small Towns Big Ideas. With these projects Galway 2020 hope to create a cultural legacy and a love of the arts for years to come.


"We would like to thank the many cultural organisations that worked with us on this bid. Their contributions have been amazing and their cultural visions revolutionary", says Cllr Noel Larkin-Galway City Mayor.

"We also want to pay tribute to the ten counties of the western seaboard who have backed us. They fully understood the value of the 2020 Bid not just for Galway but for the West in total", Cllr Michael Connolly Cathaoirleach , Galway County Council.

"Tribute must also be paid to the business community who embraced the opportunities that the Bid offered our city and county. They supported us so well", says Brendan McGrath Chief Executive Galway City Council

" The spirit of volunteerism, which has always been so vibrant in Galway, produced an unparalleled response which helped us to achieve so much in such a short time" says Kevin Kelly Chief Executive Galway County Council

"However it is the people of Galway to whom we owe the greatest gratitude. They truly embraced our ambitions and made them their own..we hope that this process has created a legacy of creativity and cultural democracy for generations of Galwegians to come. Galway 2020 is for them!", says Patricia Philbin Project Manager, Galway2020.

For a full listing of all Galway2020's Capital of Culture project, events and activities please go to