Galway 2020 Travels to London and Brussels


The Irish Ambassador to the UK, Ambassador Adrian O’Neill, hosted a reception at the Embassy of Ireland in London last week to mark the launch of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Programme  in a special event uniting cultural stakeholders from across Great Britain. The programme received a second launch in Brussels on 8 October, with a reception hosted by Galway 2020 and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA), supported by Tourism Ireland.

Addressing the London audience, CEO of Galway 2020 Patricia Philbin said, “Galway’s designation as European Capital of Culture takes place at a critical juncture, at a time when arts and culture are needed more than ever to forge new friendships and strengthen existing bonds between countries and people. Galway 2020 is embracing this opportunity with open arms. We are grateful to Ambassador O’ Neill and all those who have attended today for their support in this endeavour.”

One of the most exciting parts of any European Capital of Culture is the conversation and cross-pollination that takes place across different European cultures. Fittingly, Galway 2020’s European programme launch coincided with the European Week of Regions and Cities – a four-day showcase of different regions across the continent attracting 6,000 people. Special guest of honour, European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan and Irish Ambassador to Belgium, Helena Nolan joined Galway 2020 in celebrating the exciting year ahead. With over 1,900 events occurring across 154 projects, and 170 cultural partners (local and international) from over 30 different countries, there was much to discuss.

The event gave a thrilling snapshot of the contemporary Irish culture to come, with appearances from multilingual spoken word artist Ciara Ní É and beat-alchemist DJ Caoi de Barra. Ciara’s words speak to the joys, anxieties and humour of everyday life – flitting between English and Irish at will. She is a seasoned festival performer and regular guest on Irish radio and television. Caoi de Barra (aka Lil Brendan) brought her own contagious energy to Brussels with an eclectic mix of hip hop, RNB, disco, pop and soul. Caoi’s eclectic taste is rooted in a successful career as a singer, producer and drummer.

NWRA and Galway 2020 also hosted a panel discussion during the week on culture and regional development. Vice-President of the European Parliament and representatives from former European Capitals of Culture shared their thoughts with Galway 2020 Head of Programme, Marilyn Gaughan Reddan on culture as a force for collaboration among regions and cities.

Speaking at the launch, Commissioner Phil Hogan said, “Galway is a county of music, a county of languages, a county of festivals where arts and culture are considered the most valuable currency of all. So, I am certain Galway 2020 will be a great success, and I am certain that every visitor to the City of Tribes will have a wonderful experience in the year ahead.”

Patricia Philbin thanked the Commissioner and NWRA, adding, “The European Capital of Culture designation is a year-long programme of cultural events which will reflect the richness and diversity of Galway’s culture and history while strengthening Galway and Ireland’s connection with Europe and the European family. We look forward to welcoming people to Galway during 2020 and assure them of a céad míle fáilte.”

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