WEXFORD is part of an exciting bid by the South East region to be named the European Capital of Culture for 2020.
A joint bid by Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny to co-host the year of cultural activities is at an early stage, but confidence is growing that the many historical and cultural attractions in the area will make it a major contender for the honour.
The executive to head up the bid is currently being tendered for from the three county councils.
Fáilte Ireland is set to announce a South & East Heritage trail brand with a view to promoting the area in the same vein as the Wild Atlantic Way has been promoted in the west.
A source said: 'The bid will require a stronger brand for the area. The chance only comes along every 14 years and the last Irish city to get it was Cork in 2005. With the cultural offering Wexford has as the home of Ireland's number one festival, Wexford Festival Opera, condifence is high.'
The economic benefits of being named a European Capital of Culture would be significant and close cooperation between the local authorities in the three bid counties is thought to be crucial to the bid's chance of success.
The South East bid will compete with individual bids from Limerick, Galway and Dublin, which previously held the honour in 1991.
Wexford Festival Opera, along with the rich history in the South East, from the Viking Triangle in Waterford to the Emigrant Trail in New Ross, will all be important elements of the bid.
The executive behind the bid will be from the three counties and will report to the three county managers who will put plans in place.
The source said: 'The local authorities will grab this and make it happen. They know it's critically important to harness the energy of the three locations to ensure it's a unifying project and not a divisive one.'