The dream is still alive. Galway remains in with a fighting chance to be named the 2020 European Capital of Culture after the final round of shortlisting for the designation took place in Dublin last Friday. Galway’s bid made it through the process, along with Limerick, and the South East counties, while Dublin has been eliminated from the race.
This decision was announced following Galway’s presentation of its bid book to the European Capital of Culture judging panel at Dublin Castle last Thursday. Ten members of the Galway 2020 team gave a 30 minute presentation, outlining the planned development of the projects outlined in the bid book, and its capacity to deliver events throughout the city and county, while reassuring the panel that the political and financial support needed was in place.
Speaking to the Galway Advertiser, project manager Patricia Philibin said there was a huge sense of relief when the announcement was made that the bid had been well received. “It was a very intense process. We were obviously very nervous but were completely elated after. We were surprised that three places were shortlisted as opposed to two.”
Asked how confident she was feeling in the aftermath of events, Ms Philbin says Galway has three major positives in its favour - the support from the public, politicians, and the Chamber of Commerce - which recently supported a rates increase to fund the Capital of Culture bid. “We have a huge level of support, in fact it has been overwhelming and I would like to thank everybody who has got behind this bid. We had a massive amount of well wishes in the days leading up to the presentation last week. There was a stage where we actually had to stop reading the messages before we went into the room because we were getting quite emotional. And this support did not go unnoticed by the jury either as the reaction on social media was being monitored.”
The next phase of the process will now see the 2020 team prepare a second and more detailed bid book. This will be submitted in June of next year, followed by a presentation, with an announcement of the winning bid expected in July 2016. In this presentation, Galway will give a detailed action plan to deliver the programme of events for the European Capital of Culture 2020. In the intervening period , the team of judges will also be visiting Galway as part of the decision making process.
Patricia Philbin says it is very gratifying to be still in the race. “It is a huge undertaking, there are so may aspects to the bid, but we will redouble our efforts over the next six months to make this dream a reality.”
+Log on to www.Galway2020.ie, join the conversation online using the hashtag #Galway2020, #IBackGalway, and follow the team on Twitter and Facebook.