Since 1985, the European Union designates one or more cities as a European Capital of Culture each year. Chosen cities are expected to host an innovative year-long cultural programme that “highlights the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe. In 2020 both Ireland and Croatia will be eligible to host a European Capital of Culture.  Galway has become a candidate city with the intention of winning this prestigious designation to ensure long-term cultural, social and economic benefits. This is an incredible opportunity for the city and the western region to make official Galway’s status as Ireland’s ‘unofficial capital of culture’. The process is competitive and Galway must demonstrate that it can provide a unique and promising programme of cultural and artistic events and activities over the course of a calendar year. It is important that Galway’s programming has sustainable legacy effects and creates transformative linkages “.. between, on the one hand, .. cultural and creative sectors, and, on the other hand, sectors such as education, research, environment, urban development or cultural tourism.’

We believe it is time that Galway and the West of Ireland be recognised and celebrated for our distinctive contribution to the arts and culture. Galway is the epitome of a vibrant, cosmopolitan, and uniquely social European city that celebrates its own distinctive culture alongside international cultural offerings. Home to some of Ireland’s best known Festivals and a range of other cultural and artistic celebrations, Galway has a track record of successfully hosting culture from Ireland and across Europe.

If chosen there will be many economic, social and cultural benefits for Galway. Gaining a European Capital of Culture status will give Galway an opportunity to reflect on its strengths as a cultural and artistic city and region and compel us forward in ways that create new dimensions to our cultural offerings. We also expect the process and year-long programming to have important effects on the liveability and attractiveness of living and working in Galway that will serve the city socially and economically for decades to come.