Exciting Projects Planned for Galway 2020


Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme is continuing, with many projects being delivered online.


The Coronavirus has challenged all arts organisations to reimagine many in-person events since last March. Much of the programme had to be rescheduled but if restrictions allow, many exciting projects are still planned. The programme has supported the work of over 500 artists since March 2020 with 18 projects to be launched in the months ahead.




Photo: Gilgamesh  Credit: Colm Hogan

Patricia Philbin, CEO of Galway 2020 stated that “Delivering on our mission as a European Capital of Culture is very important. We have worked extremely hard with our cultural partners, stakeholders and funders to make the programme a reality. The COVID 19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on the cultural sector. In ensuring the continuity of our programme, we can continue to support the sustainability of our cultural organisations. We sincerely hope that the good work achieved will benefit Galway for many years to come.”



Photo: Sea Tamagotchi  Credit: Manchán Magan

Programme highlights so far have included Galway 2020 commissions of the stunning Mirror Pavilion, Corn Work by John Gerrard with Galway International Arts Festival, DruidGregory, Aerial Sparks by Louise Manifold, Óró commissioned by Ealaín na Gaeltachta for Gaillimh 2020, Hope it Rains Soineann nó Hope it Rains | Soineann nó Doineann by Ríonach Ní Néill Sea Tamagotchi with Manchán Magan and The Deepest Shade of Green with University Hospitals and Saolta Arts. Assisted by the National Museum of Ireland, MONUMENT features specially commissioned craft pieces by some of Ireland’s most respected makers, with a virtual tour available on the Galway City Museum website.




Photo: Gilgamesh  Credit: Julia Dunin

Collective Imagination of Galway Artists

“The Galway 2020 programme showcases the high level of work made and created here in Galway by over 500 artists and producers and we are really delighted to share the collective imagination of these artists and communities with the world. Unlike any other Capital of Culture, the Galway programme is unique in that 100% of the programme is newly commissioned work, new and original work that is rooted in this very special place that is Galway.” Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan, Head of Programme.



Photo: Weather Modulator Credit: Hope it Rains

Still much to look forward to…

There is much still to look forward to including Mirror Pavilion, Leaf Work, by John Gerrard. This beautiful and striking structure was commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival and Galway 2020. It will be in situ in the spectacular 4,000–year–old Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara. Macnas, masters of storytelling and spectacle, present a dramatic new interpretation of Gilgamesh, the first ever hero’s journey and world’s oldest story. Music for Galway and Galway 2020 will present the first edition of Cellissimo, a triennial 9-day Festival that will immerse European music making within the horizon lines and landscapes of Galway.



Photo: Mirror Pavilion Leaf Work. Render courtesy of John Gerrard


City Arts Officer James Harrold looks ahead to the future for Galway artists. “For as long as Galway encourages and supports its artists it will be Ireland’s permanent capital of culture. The pandemic ‘paused’ the presentation of so many world class productions by our own creative people but soon we will be in ‘play’ mode again and the deferred pleasures of  2020, the mighty cultural experiences, the distinctive and resonant western stories, will be back in our calendars. As the dust settles we will  have a heightened sense of what makes the arts in our city truly unique and valued. I look forward to every moment of this sensational programme –  in place, by, for and from Galway.”


Photo: Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Leide Beag 



County Arts Officer Sharon O’Grady underscores the importance of support for both artists and communities. “Galway County Council continues its commitment to the Galway 2020 programme and looks forward to supporting our artists and communities to avail of the many opportunities still taking place in the rural landscape in 2021. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the legacy of 2020 will be reflected in the level of creativity and engagement it has inspired throughout the County and the programmes taking place in the coming months. Our European Capital of Culture designation continues into the future, it presents us with many opportunities to showcase our attractiveness as a centre of cultural excellence in Europe and beyond.”



Photo: Wires Crossed Credit: Cormac McMahon

A lyrical picture book by leading Galway children’s writer Patricia Forde, ‘To the Island’ was published in Irish and English By Little Island Publishing. The book will be distributed through the Mobile Libraries and the gifting of this book in schools will continue when they reopen. A new production Ar Ais Arís by Brú Theatre was commissioned as part of the Aistriú project, presented in association with NUI Galway. Irish language literature is inspired by texts from Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. Blue Teapot Theatre Company will present  their production of ‘Into the Dark Woods’ by Charlene Kelly and rehearsals will continue as soon as guidelines allow.



Photo: To the Island by Patricia Forde Illustrated: Nicola Bernadelli


Launch of Irish Funambulism Centre

Wires Crossed is an international project that celebrates the art of funambulism – wire walking using a balancing pole. As part of this, the Irish Centre of Funambulism will be launched in Galway, presented by Galway Community Circus, in partnership with Galway 2020 and the European Funambulism Network. “We have worked on Wires Crossed since 2017 involving 92 artists and 20 European partners across 13 countries. Galway 2020 gave us the opportunity to develop this project long-term, building our organisation and securing significant European funding for Galway and Ireland.” Ulla Hokkanen, Executive Creative Director, Galway Community Circus.



Photo: Studio Drop by Drop Everything

Other exciting projects include Rise with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, a special exhibition by TULCA Festival of Visual Arts, Drop Everything’s Studio Drop, Mighty Ocean with Contempo Quartet and Martin O’Connor and the wonderful Small Towns, Big Ideas programme.

All events are subject to change in line with government guidelines but should favourable conditions allow, we will all enjoy a veritable feast of events featuring world-class artists, from now through March 31. For more details and updates visit


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