Wave Makers

The Wave Maker Programme has been a central success story from Galway’s time as European Capital of Culture. It is a large, modern, vibrant volunteer programme that has attracted hundreds of people to regularly give their time, skills and creativity to a wide range of events and projects in Galway.

Diversity has been at the heart of the Wave Maker Programme from the outset and is one of its defining features. People from all backgrounds, ages, occupations and cultures have become Wave Makers and with over 40 nationalities and over 50 different languages represented in the group reflecting Galway’s multicultural and diverse society.

Developed over a 3-year period and based on international best practice in volunteer programme development, the Wave Makers Programme is now a strong community of enthusiastic, committed and skilled people, helping to deliver a huge range of Galway 2020 events as well as helping the community through local beach clean-ups, assisting the popular Saturday Market in Galway City and supporting various exhibitions and events.

Having been the backbone of Galway 2020, the Wave Makers are now continuing to be a dynamic and vibrant volunteer programme.


Some of the current volunteer activities include:

  • Invigilating at Galway City Museum
  • Bringing new NUIG international students on city tour
  • Assisting the Galway Saturday market
  • Assisting cultural organisations with different volunteer tasks

European Dimension 

The Wave Makers Programme has developed a strong European dimension since its very beginning. Galway has and continues to be an active member of the European Capital of Culture Network and also actively participates in the specific network of European Capital of Culture Volunteer Programmes where previous, current and future capitals share best practice and expertise in the development of volunteer programmes.


This network also facilitates collaborative projects and volunteer exchanges between capitals and to date we have seen Wave Makers travelling to Sibiu, Matera and Plovdiv and volunteers from Aarhus, Matera and Plovdiv travelling to Galway. All throughout the pandemic, the network has remained active and engaged, promoting regular virtual exchanges among international volunteers.

“It was really great to work with Galway 2020 and in particular the Wave Makers Volunteers. The collaboration between the Wave Makers and our Tourist Information Centre staff was really inspirational. They are a wonderful resource for Galway and for visitors to the city”.


Gary Breen, Head of Visitor Engagement, Fáilte Ireland

“From the beginning and throughout the Galway 2020 project, the Wavemakers have grown to become an integral part of not just the artistic, but the wider Galway community. 

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of the wavemaker volunteers throughout my term as Mayor and wish to compliment the energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism they bring to any event they are supporting”.


Mike Cubabrd, Former Mayor of Galway City

“Galway City Museum were delighted to be part of the Galway 2020 Wave Makers Programme. The work of the volunteers on the Monument exhibition was excellent. What impressed us most was the consistently high quality of volunteer participation in the programme and the interest, enthusiasm and understanding the volunteers brought to their work”.


Eithne Verling, Director, Galway City Museum