‘Significant contraction’ for Galway 2020 as coronavirus takes toll

Board meets remotely to discuss options in light of evolving Covid-19 situation

Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture is to have a “significant contraction” of its programme as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, an emergency board meeting decided today, promising more information shortly on what the contraction would entail.

A statement after today’s board meeting said: “In light of the extraordinary challenges we are facing and the unknown timeline as a result of this ongoing public health emergency, the board of Galway 2020 today decided that a significant contraction of the programme is necessary.”

The 15-strong board, chaired by film producer Arthur Lappin, met remotely today to discuss options in light of the evolving situation regarding Covid-19, and how it can move forward during unprecedented times.

Hard work acknowledged

The board said decisions “which will be taken in the very near future” would be consistent with Government policy “and in the best interest of the health of the public, our team, cultural partners and our volunteers”. The board said it would have more information “in the days ahead”, and acknowledged and thanked its team and cultural partners for their hard work and commitment.


In advance of the meeting it was believed options being considered include seeking to extend the capital of culture year beyond 2020, in conjunction with the European Commission, postponing some elements of the programme till later in the year, or presenting some projects in other ways, including online.

Following restrictions on large gatherings from March 12th, a number of Galway 2020 events were cancelled or postponed, but several further large-scale Capital of Culture events are well advanced.

This month’s shutdown of public events comes after a run of bad luck for Galway 2020, including the cancellation of an opening spectacle in the city on February 8th, because of Storm Ciara. The ceremony was to be the culmination of a weeklong series of fire-themed events that took place across the county over the previous week.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times