Galway’s year as Capital of Culture has begun

The spectacular programme launch as captured by Declan Colohan.

The spectacular programme launch as captured by Declan Colohan.

The time has arrived, Galway is now the European Capital of Culture. Midnight on Tuesday kicked off a year of over 1,900 events across 154 projects, with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organisations, in the villages, towns, islands and city of Galway.

Before proceedings officially kick off with the opening ceremony which takes place from 1 – 8 February, January will see a number of events taking place from Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra and Music for Galway.

Music for Galway’s MidWinter Festival is their long-standing tradition of presenting a three-day weekend of themed concerts with musicians from Galway, Ireland and beyond from 17 – 19 January. Symphonic Waves Youth Orchestra will join the The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland (NYOI ) who are making the trip west for an extra special concert on 4 January 2020.

The Opening Ceremony for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture will begin on February 1 with a symbolic turf cutting ceremony on St Brigid’s day and a fire tour will make its way through towns across the county over seven consecutive nights from Sunday 2 of February.

Moving ever closer to the city through the first week of Imbolc, with events in Clifden, Spiddal, Tuam, Ballinasloe, Portumna and Athenry, a huge cast of drummers, chanters and other participants will invade the streets and squares of Galway city on the evening of Saturday 8 of February for the spectacular open-air finale. Imbolc is the ancient Irish festival marking the passing of winter and beginning of a new year. It will also mark the start of our Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture.

This opening event will be like no other and will draw on local themes and traditions from across the county, and is being produced by Wonder Works, whose talented team has worked on Olympic opening ceremonies in Athens, London and PyeongChang amongst other world-class events.

Galway 2020 Creative Director Helen Marriage said; “This is the moment where everyone in Galway gets to own the European Capital of Culture. Starting on St Brigid’s Day, this week-long celebration will be an opening ceremony like no other. Telling the stories of this place and its people to the world, it will draw on local themes and traditions from across the county and involve the whole audience in the action. Everyone must come. I can’t wait.”

Several new additions have been added to the exciting programme for Galway 2020 including internationally renowned artists and performers, to further widen the scope of what Galway 2020 will offer. Visit to see the full programme and to find tickets.


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