The official programme of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has been launched.
It is the largest and most complex cultural event ever undertaken in Ireland.
It is made up of over 1,900 events across 154 projects, 170 partnerships and collaborations - with local, national, European and international artists and cultural organisations from over 30 different countries.
The programme will take place across the villages, towns, islands and city of Galway and, in recognition of Ireland's historic traditions, will be based around the four fire seasons of Ireland's ancient Celtic calendar: Imbloc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain.
Galway 2020 will begin on February 1st with week-long celebrations in towns and villages across the county.
This will culminate in a large public ceremony and spectacle on February 8th in Galway city.
Seasonal ceremonies will also mark the progression of the programme, which will run through until the end of January 2021.
What a great show at the @galway2020 launch by the French artists Compagnie Gratte Ciel! 🏙
Their name means skyscrapers in French, and now we understand why!
France is honored to support #Galway2020 and this is only the beginning. Stay tuned ! 🇫🇷🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/R6nikO8a86
— France in Ireland (@FranceinIreland) September 18, 2019
To celebrate the end of the 12 months, the closing event will transform Galway into a "glittering gallery without walls."
The programme will host 30 projects celebrating the Irish language, 125 world premieres and 135 Irish premieres.
Themes of landscape, language and migration are interwoven throughout the programme - with national and international artists.
There will also be a special emphasis on the Irish language, reinforcing Galway as the capital of the Gaelteacht.
Migration, which celebrates Irish history as well as the diversity of cultures in Europe, will be explored against the backdrop of Galway: a city where 24% of the population was born outside Ireland.
A selection of the events will include the Connemara landscape being illuminated in epic spectacle by Finnish light artist Kari Kola, a giant mirror pavilion by Irish artist John Gerrard set in the 4,000 year-old Connemara bog, and Galway joining with Boston, Belfast and Nashville to host concerts by transatlantic stars of country, blues, gospel, folk and bluegrass.
The programme was launched by Culture Minister Josepha Madigan at a large open-air event in Eyre Square on Wednesday.
She said: "The European Capital of Culture designation is an exceptional opportunity to highlight to an international audience, not only the strength and vibrancy of Galway's culture and creativity in all its many forms, but the importance of our place in Europe.
"The programme, centred on the themes of migration, landscape and language, gives a flavour of the many exciting events that will take place across Galway city, county and the islands, as well as across the entire island of Ireland, many of which are in cooperation with partners from other European countries.
"I congratulate the team at Galway 2020 and wish everyone involved a truly successful year."
Ba mhaith liom buíochas a thabhairt d’fhoireann @galway2020 as a gcuid oibre agus tiomantas suntasach. Tá gach duine ag súil go mór le Gaillimh 2020 a bheas ina bhliain rathúil do Ghaillimh agus d’Éirinn pic.twitter.com/ViSU7NWkVS
— Seán Kyne TD (@SeanKyneTD) September 18, 2019
Creative director of Galway 2020 is Helen Marriage: "We live in challenging times. The world is shifting around us and our cultural community must take the lead, to find a voice or be the voice, to explore the past and shape the future.
"It truly feels like now is the time for Galway, on the geographic edge of Europe to be that leader.
"Artists have always led the way in this extraordinary place. Galway 2020 is built on the efforts of those who chose to live and work here over the last 40 years.
"These prophets of our future and celebrants of our past - our artists - hold up a mirror and show us who we are and where we are headed. Galway 2020 will be a year of radical thinking that will live long in the memory and influence all who follow behind."
More information on Galway 2020 can be found here