Imbolc Season Kicks Off Galway 2020


The Opening Ceremony for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture will begin on Saturday 1 February with a symbolic turf cutting ceremony on St Brigid’s day. A fire tour will then make its way through towns across the county over seven consecutive nights from 2 February, with events in Clifden, Spiddal, Tuam, Ballinasloe, Portumna and Athenry. On the evening of Saturday 8 February, a huge cast of drummers, chanters and other participants will invade the streets of Galway city for a spectacular open-air finale.

Imbolc is the ancient Irish festival marking the passing of winter, and now the first chapter in Galway’s year as European Capital of Culture. This will be a ceremony like no other, drawing on local themes and traditions from across the county. The event is produced by Wonder Works, the talented team who worked on Olympic ceremonies in Athens, London and PyeongChang. Several new additions have been added to the exciting programme and tickets for various events are now on sale.


Check out the highlights from our seasonal Imbolc programme below.


Laurie Anderson

31 March – 12 April

To the Moon is a 15-minute dreamlike immersive experience by legendary avant-garde artist and composer Laurie Anderson, and new-media innovator Hsin-Chien Huang. The work, which uses images and symbols from Greek mythology, literature, science, space sci-fi and politics, invites viewers on a lunar exploration of a dark new moon at The Mick Lally Theatre.


Savage Beauty

14 – 17 March

Exploring the Galway 2020 theme of landscape, Finnish light artist Kari Kola brings the newest technology to bear on one of Ireland’s most hidden locations for his project, Savage Beauty. In an attempt to create one of the largest lit artworks ever made, Kola will illuminate the mountainous landscape of Connemara.



20 March – 4 April

As part of the build-up to UEFA EURO 2020 football competition, the National Football Exhibition will move its treasure trove of history and memorabilia to Galway for a two-week stint. Running alongside this, Galway 2020 and FAI present Onside, a project that brings people together through football. Onside kicks off on 21 March, International Day Against Racism, with matches in Eyre Square involving teams from different cultural communities in Galway. On 28 and 29 March, Onside will take over Eyre Square once more with fun street games and a unique football-led language exchange, before travelling to local schools and clubs.


Sruth na Teanga

2 – 28 March

Creating big stories for little people has always been the trademark of Branar Téatar do Pháistí, one of the leading children’s theatre companies in Ireland. As part of Galway 2020, Branar’s Sruth na Teanga will take young audiences on an immersive, theatrical journey through the history of the Irish language. The journey happens across five magical spaces, brought to life with puppetry, music, interactive digital technology, animation and live performance.



25 April – 3 May

Music for Galway and Galway 2020 present Cellissimo, a major new international triennial cello festival in Galway City and County celebrating one of the world’s most versatile instruments, with star cellists including Mischa Maisky (Latvia), Giovanni Sollima (Italy), Tatjana Vassijeva (Russia) and Natalie Haas (Canada).



Image courtesy of Kari Kola
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