Galway is to be the European Capital of Culture in Ireland in 2020, after an 18 month cross-county campaign.
Before announcing their decision at the National Concert Hall at 12.30pm, Friday, the EU judging panel commended all three bid cities, Galway, Limerick and The Three Sisters (Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny) for their extraordinary efforts.
The formal designation of Galway by the relevant Irish authorities is expected to take place in the coming months. Ireland and Croatia are the two EU member states entitled to host the event in 2020 – and Galway will be the third Irish city to hold the title, behind Dublin in 1991 and Cork in 2005.
The title is worth an estimated €170 million to the winner in terms of funding, tourism and creation of new jobs. The selection criteria demands a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, that promotes the inclusion of all stakeholders and attracts visitors from both the country and from Europe. The programme must also have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city – and show that the capacity is available to deliver the project.
The three bid cities had to go through 18 months of preparation, including a pre-selection panel and putting together a 100-page document outlining the events that would take place and how it would emphasise the importance of European links.