Limerick bids for European Capital of Culture title

Organisers have put mistakes of the past behind them, insists Limerick 2020 director

Mike Fitzpatrick, director of Limerick 2020: he said a victory in the European Capital of Culture bidding would be “a green light” to use culture to drive desperately-needed social and economic development. Photograph: Fusion Shooters

Mike Fitzpatrick, director of Limerick 2020: he said a victory in the European Capital of Culture bidding would be “a green light” to use culture to drive desperately-needed social and economic development. Photograph: Fusion Shooters

 

Limerick’s bid to win the title of European Capital of Culture will not be hampered by controversies which dogged its time as Ireland’s inaugural city of culture two years ago, organisers have pledged.

Galway, Limerick and the trio of Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny – under the banner of the Three Sisters – are all vying for the European 2020 title, which is worth an estimated €170 million spin-off to the winner.

Limerick’s final bid will be submitted later this week to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, while final presentations to judges will be held in Dublin on July 14th. The winner will be announced a day later.

The Treaty City’s time as Ireland’s city of culture was marred by internal division, which saw its first chief executive and artistic director resign.

Mistakes

Mike Fitzpatrick

Of the city of culture experience, he said, “far from being difficult was our singular moment of regeneration”.

“Limerick has had a dramatic change of perception in recent years,” he said.

“We have firmly rejected the previous negative images of Limerick and now we are more interested in attracting and keeping the best and the brightest in business and in the arts.

Journey

Despite the poor beginning to its time as national city of culture, the year-long event is still seen as one where Limerick successfully unlocked its cultural potential.

“Limerick’s weakness is its strength – we have a collective need to transform our city and region and we will utilise the designation of European Capital of Culture to enable that process,” he said.

A victory in the European Capital of Culture bidding would be “a green light” to use culture to drive desperately-needed social and economic development, he said.

Many of the candidate cities have looked closely at Liverpool’s experience, when it won the European title in 2008 under the leadership of Brookside creator Phil Redmond.