You’d be hard pushed to find a country that loves the arts as much as Ireland, and a county that appreciates it more than Galway.
So, Galway’s official status as European City of Culture 2020 is richly deserved.
While “culture” is often associated with galleries, theatres and literature, it means a lot more in Galway. This year, it also means cinema, virtual reality, fireworks, large-scale installations and tonnes of interactive events.
It takes place throughout 2020, and is broken down into seasons, which we’ll get outline below…
Imbolc – February – April
“Imbolc” from the Irish “I mbolg” (“in my belly”) refers to spring and a taste of future delights.
The Cherry Orchard
Chekhov’s beloved play is adapted by one of Ireland’s favourite writers, Tom Murphy. Like the best of Russian theatre, its themes will resonate for any audience. In this case, it’s a story of land, struggle and what’s left behind.
February 22nd – March 7th, Black Box Theatre
Laurie Anderson – All the Things I Lost in the Flood
Artist and writer Laurie Anderson encompasses art, music, installation and film in this incredible evening about the changing shape of modern storytelling.
April 1st and 2nd, St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church
Bealtaine – May – July
Bealtaine is festival time, as bonfires are lit, evenings are longer and the city takes on a new energy.
Artist David Best is famous for his non-religious temples in the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. For Galway 2020, he’s revisiting his Borderline project, working with the local community to create another monument to togetherness.
Galway County, May
Local performers and puppeteers Macnas have been making Galway (and the world) more interesting for decades now. Their latest performance, Gilgamesh, an epic fable about a demigod, will be performed in surprise locations throughout Galway. Keep your eyes peeled for enormous shadows and strange imagery.
Throughout Galway, April, June, November and December
Explore Galway’s future with the help of a virtual reality headset controlled by your heartbeat and your breath. InterAction combines interactive theatre with cutting edge technology.
Throughout Galway, May and November
Lughnasa – August – October
Lughnasa, made famous by the classic play Dancing at Lughnasa, is named after Lugh, the Celtic god, warrior and inventor of games. That’s fitting for a stage of the festival that involves fire-eating, interactive events and more.
An innovative and daring multi-day circus performance, Wires Crossed will involve several high-wire acts throughout the city over 4 days. The grand finale will be 400 tightrope walkers crossing the River Corrib and Claddagh Basin.
August 6th – 9th, Spanish Arch/Claddagh
Harnessing fire to create something beautiful and unique, the French street art group Cie Carabosse will create a magical fire garden around a ruined monastery. This spellbinding event will happen numerous times throughout August.
August, Galway County
Samhain – November – January
The Celtic autumn/winter festival of Samhain will see Galway use the natural darkness as a canvas for some events; while others will be within the cosy confines of the county’s best venues.
Closing the City of Culture year, Lumiere is a collaborative event involving some of the most celebrated artists in the world. They will illuminate the city and its structures with light sculptures, digital installations and projections.
Galway City, January 2021
Comhaltas and Céilí at the Crossroads
Legendary, long-running organisation Comhalatas has been promoting and performing trad music for almost seven decades now. Their Céilí at the Crossroads project will bring live music to Galway’s towns and villages throughout the year.
Galway City and County, various dates through 2020
See you in Galway!
Anyone who’s been to Galway can tell you that this is the city to go to for world-class live music, art and other creative disciplines. Now, more than ever, is a fine time to visit this incredible county.