Wednesday 25 April 2018

Thousands celebrate as Galway named European Capital of Culture 2020

Crowds erupt with joy on streets of Galway (Photo: Galway Arts Festival)
Crowds erupt with joy on streets of Galway (Photo: Galway Arts Festival)
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

The streets of Galway erupted in pandemonium this afternoon as thousands of residents welcomed the news that the City of Tribes has been named The European Capital of Culture 2020.

A spontaneous street party broke out on Mainguard Street in the city shortly after noon where around 2,000 people gathered to watch the announcement being broadcast live on a big screen from the National Concert Hall.

Galway will now share the honour with Rijeka, Croatia.

Galway mayor Noel Larkin said: “It’s a wonderful, wonderful day for our region,” as organisers hugged each other and screamed “we did it!” following the announcement of the winner by chairman of the selection panel Steve Green.

Heather Humphreys. Photo:Kyran O’Brien.
Heather Humphreys. Photo:Kyran O’Brien.

“It’s a wonderful accolade for our city to win.  A lot of hard work went in behind this. Thank God the judges saw what we have to offer,” he told

Noting that “all bids were truly inspirational,” Arts Minister Heather Humphreys congratulated Galway for its winning bid with its theme “Making Waves.”

The judging panel will publish its reasons for selection in the coming weeks.

However no doubt they were impressed with a massive singsong staged last month when singer songwriter Mundy lead around 15,000 people singing Steve Earle’s anthem “Galway Girl” on Shop Street.

Ms Humphreys said positive events like the European Capital of Culture initiative are important symbols of freedom for all European citizens in light of the horror attack in Nice on Thursday night that killed 84 and left 18 fighting for their lives.

She vowed they will continue to be symbols of solidarity for the victims of the Nice atrocity and other terrorist attacks on Europeans.

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