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Fáilte is Fiche

A welcome from Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins.

24.09.2019

“As President of Ireland, it is a particular privilege for me to present this programme for the Galway 2020 celebrations; a programme that, I am sure, will illustrate why Galway deserves the title of European Capital of Culture 2020.

Beginning in February to tie in with the ancient Celtic calendar – not to mention the hope of better weather – the programme presented here today is an ambitious collection of projects and performances, built around the four celtic seasons of Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain. Throughout the programme, the central concept of the circular, annual and eternal, journey from darkness into light, from winter bleakness to summer harvest, appears and re-introduces itself.

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. 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, as the programme for the year is now unveiled. I have no doubt that the programme presented in these pages will inspire and enthuse, and in turn, prove a catalyst for further creative work in Galway and further afield.

Ours is a society that values the work of the imagination (‘samhlaíocht’ in the ancient Irish language), and that appreciates the coming together of creativity, talent and a good story. Samhlaíocht 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 team work, 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.”

Explore the Programme