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A Huge Thank You to our Community Cast

13.02.2020

Galway 2020 was deeply saddened to have to cancel the finale of last week’s Opening Ceremony in light of severe national weather warnings. However disappointing, the cancellation could not dim the light of our community cast members, who brought contagious, positive energy to towns across the county in a phenomenal Fire Tour.

Scenes of local wildlife and folklore were warmed by firelight throughout the week as each town lit their own individual sphere in the six-day Fire Tour. These engraved steel forms are designed by sculptor Jacqueline Pyle. Each carries the natural features and stories of its surrounding region. Inside the spheres, flames of change and creativity were stoked in honour of the year ahead.

The enthusiasm was palpable when members of the community showed up in their hundreds, chanting harmonies, banging drums and brandishing fiery torches. Weeks of rehearsals had brought them to this point, and many have formed new friendships and picked up new skills along the way.

On the first night of the tour, the moody-soulful Livefeed group, NØÖV warmed up crowds, making way for the community cast who engulfed the streets of Clifden in a cacophony of sound and flame. Native Clifden poet Brendan Flynn recited The Clifden Road to hundreds of people gathered in Market Square, making way for the lighting of the sphere.

Ceremonies continued on consecutive nights in An Spidéal, Tuam, Ballinasloe, Portumna and Athenry. A spoken word performance marked the occasion in each town, delivered by broadcaster Síle Nic Chonaonaigh, musician Leo Moran, poet Noelle Lynskey, singer-songwriter Julie Feeney, among others. The week brought a succession of exciting musical performances from energetic Galway pop-rock band, Rofi James, as well as an appearance from the popular folk artist, Conor O’Donnell & Friends. Galway 2020’s Livefeed youth music project was also out in full force with performances from Dris Óg (An Spidéal), Siobhan Kelleher and Sarah Brookfield (Athenry) and Taking Names (Ballinasloe).

The Fire Tour highlighted the demand for, and significance of cultural engagement across the county. Many volunteers travelled from both city and county to soak up the atmosphere in different towns and take part in the event of a lifetime. Towns and villages can expect to see more events in the coming months during this county-wide designation.

None of this would be possible without the unbridled positivity and admirable graft of our community cast and volunteers. Cast members stepped out of their comfort zone in a huge collaborative effort to represent their community. Rain or shine, their collective commitment to Galway is sure to create ripples of change in 2020 and leave a lasting legacy.

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