Galway’s arts community turned out in force on Monday evening for the official launch of this year’s Galway Arts Festival. Augmenting the large assembly of local festival devotees were visiting artists such as musicians Philip Glass and Richard Hawley, playwright Enda Walsh, and artist Ruth McHugh, all of whom feature in this year’s exciting programme.
Festival director Paul Fahy warmly welcomed one and all and the new Mayor of Galway Cllr Padraig Conneely saluted the festival’s long record of excellence as well as the support it has received from the city’s business community.
Guest of honour was actress Marie Mullen and, as she stepped up to officially launch the festival, she was greeted with a warm ovation which vividly bore out the affection in which she is held by Galway audiences who have savoured her many outstanding performances down the years with Druid.
Mullen recalled the genesis of the arts festival in 1970’s Galway, a time when Druid was also just starting out. She spoke enthusiastically of her own personal highpoints of the festival’s illustrious history; Footsbarn’s celebrated performances in their tent, Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and the Macnas parade.
Praising the festival’s “colourful and mesmerising” impact on Galway life, Mullen exhorted one and all to enjoy this year’s outstanding programme of events. Having enjoyed the complimentary smoked salmon, oysters and wine and the mellifluous jazz music which were all part of the launch attractions, the multitude departed to do just that.