Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Secures April Extension


Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has secured an extension to allow some events to move into April. Level 5 government restrictions in January and February have impacted on cultural events across Ireland including the Galway 2020 programme which has many projects still in progress.

In order to allow projects to have the audiences that they deserve, some after years of preparation, certain events will now move to April. These include The Mighty Ocean by Máirtín O’Connor, Wires Crossed by Galway Community Circus, Rise with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, Galway Dance Project and events by TULCA Festival of Visual Arts amongst many others.

Announcing the extension, Patricia Philbin, CEO, Galway 2020 said “That local artists, arts organisations and partners are sustaining their livelihoods during this pandemic is an absolute priority for us. We work very closely with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media  to ensure COVID compliance on the delivery of this programme. It is challenging, but in the best interest of the work and indeed our partners, we continue to deliver projects online, much to the delight of our audiences. People from all over the world are enjoying work created and made in Galway.”

“In light of the new extension to restrictions we have sought and indeed secured an additional month, so the programme will now continue online until April. We will continue to review the public health guidelines on an ongoing basis and work closely with the Department and our cultural partners to ensure compliance with prevailing public health guidelines and ensure viable delivery of the projects.”


The Mighty Ocean

The Mighty Ocean, composed by Máirtín O’Connor, expresses a musical dialogue between mankind and the environment, touching on the entrancing power of the sea, while questioning the destructive influence of human civilization on our endangered oceans.

The 20-minute piece is scored for 12 musicians including Irish music legends Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden, Séamie O’Dowd and Garry O’Briain, and Galway Music Residency’s permanent resident ensemble, the world-renowned ConTempo Quartet.

Initially intended for live performance in Galway City and County during Galway 2020’s European Capital of Culture year, the project has been reimagined as a filmed piece for broadcast on TG4 and other platforms during last week of April 2021, as Galway 2020 draws to a close.

The journey of reflection, hope and metamorphosis conveyed in this evocative musical piece has parallel resonance for the reflection that has come with the forced slow-down of society through the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing greater space for connection with nature and our environment.

As well as a commentary on, and response to, climate change, the film is a celebration of the long-standing musical relationship between Galway Music Residency and Máirtín O’Connor. For more than 15 years, they have collaborated across musical genres to bring extraordinary listening experiences to Galway audiences founded on cultural and musical fusion.

The Mighty Ocean is a partnership between Galway2020, Galway Music Residency, TG4 and is co-funded by Creative Ireland, Galway City Council and Galway County Council.

Wires Crossed

Wires Crossed is an international participatory project with Galway Community Circus that promotes physical and mental wellbeing through 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 along with a short film detailing the exciting journey of the project to date to be announced in April with dates to be announced via

“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.


RISE is a series of three collaborative projects with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children that will place the voice of the child at the heart of the performance, bringing to the surface the childhood experiences of joy, beauty, family, empowerment, loss and transformation. Artists will work with children to create performances that will disrupt spaces, touch hearts and delight audiences. Contemporary dance, parkour, circus skills and performance art will be combined to create productions that will be presented on streets and in theatres across Galway city and county.

The Streets Are Ours’ is a collaborative project to create a promenade performance by Galway children combining parkour, contemporary dance and circus skills. Baboró will work with Arch 8 (The Netherlands), Galway Community Circus and Galway Dance Project to create and deliver this project, in collaboration with children aged 8-12 years, culminating with public performances in April 2021. The artists and children will together build an improvisational dance performance that will lead the audience through urban landscapes, responding to the music, the other dancers and the surrounding architecture.

‘St. Pats Invents a New Sport’ is a co-creation project between the students and teachers of St. Patrick’s National School and artists James Riordan of Brú Theatre and Darren O’Donnell, Artistic and Founding Director of Mammalian Diving Reflex. Together, they will develop a spectacular new sport. James will act as Artistic Coach and work with Assistant Artistic Coach Darren to assemble and work with a team of students to study the development and design of physical competitive games. They will design a tournament for the new sport that will take place in April 2021.

Galway Moves

Galway Moves is a series of site-specific dance performances and films, choreographed by Dansnest, an award winning dance company based in the Netherlands, in collaboration with five Galway based dance artists; Genevieve Ryan, Kristyn Fontanella, Mia Bradley Evans, Marta Almeida and Patricia Glynn.

Produced by Galway Dance Project, and devised by Dansnest, Galway Moves has been adapted and reimagined in line with current public health guidelines. It will celebrate community and connection, celebrating the natural resilience of dance. These inclusive and diverse dance performances will consist of original pieces of choreography, with each performance a dynamic search for hidden inspiration.

They will reflect the dynamism of dance and will connect audiences, dance artists and communities. All films will be available online from March with public screenings in April.


 TULCA ‘UnSelfing’ is a programme of visual art exhibitions, performances and encounters commissioned by TULCA Festival of Visual Arts for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. Launched in February 2020 with the inaugural exhibition but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the remainder of the programme has been further reimagined and repositioned with three projects taking place over the weekend of 16 April.

The world premiere of ‘A Visit, A Ceremony, A Gift’, a new film commission curated by Kate Strain will be revealed in April. The film focuses on the research and practice of Austrian artist and philosopher Elisabeth Von Samsonow. Eight artists will contribute new work through film, sculpture, music, sound and design. Participating artists are Marielle MacLeman, Ruth Le Gear, Ruby Wallis, Michelle Doyle, Michaele Cutaya, Liliane Puthod, Naïmé Perrette and Sara Sadik.

 To celebrate the 18th anniversary of the festival, TULCA has produced a limited edition visual art publication which documents the TULCA Unselfing Programme for Galway 2020 through a series of new writing commissions by Aine Philips, Michael Dempsey, George Bolster, Gregory McCartney, Mary Cremin, Matt Packer, Kerry Guinan, Helen Carey, Sarah Browne, Aideen Barry, Louise Manifold, Linda Shevlin, Michelle Browne, Josephine Vahey, Lucy Elvis, Gavin Murphy, James Harrold, Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan, Austin Ivers, Susanna Galbraith, Dominic Thorpe and Isadora Epstein. The publication launches on Sunday 18 April and features essays by previous festival curators and archival documentation.

 ‘Weather Gods’ was originally conceived as a live performance taking place in front of an audience on the Galway to Gort train. It has now been reimagined as a radio play which will be available to download from the TULCA website from Saturday 17 April.

Please note that all events are subject to change in line with government guidelines.

For more details and updates visit

Related Events