Tales of Galway. The European Capital of Culture 2020
The Festivals, the pubs in the Latin Quarter, the artworks by young artists, the great culinary culture of the region. Discovering the European Capital of Culture.
Those who love stories in Galway are not disappointed. In this county seat of 70,000 inhabitants, a port famous for oysters and for being the base camp for visiting the wild west coast of Ireland, everything refers to tales and legends.
Gaelic signs indicate that you are in the largest area of the island, where the Irish language is dominant. The coats of arms of Lynch’s Castle, the Manor of the Docks on the Corrib River, are reminiscent of the merchant families who ruled here for centuries. The musicians who perform in the pubs every night tell stories, heroes of a nightlife, traditional and unleashed together, which is now a global myth.
Galway girl, homage of the American Steve Earle to the “black-haired and blue-eyed” girls, is the unofficial anthem of the city, and the hit tells the story of a community where 35 percent of the inhabitants are under 25 years old . A university town, elected European Capital of Culture 2020, which, until January 2021, will host over 1,900 events on the topics of creativity, identity, food and the environment.
THE NIGHT IS CELTIC
The official opening ceremony was in February, the first great spectacular performance took place, live online worldwide, on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th: the Finnish artist Kari Kola illuminated the Connemara mountains with green and blue, through the installation of 1,000 lights spread over a distance of 5 kilometres, transforming the mountains in a wash of vibrant pulsating colours.
Also in Connemara, the nearby region is a kingdom of pastures and cliffs, from April to October, the two Mirror Pavillions by the Irish artist John Gerrard, will respectively reflect the landscape of Claddagh Quay and the rural one of the Derrigimlagh Bog, to represent the dialogue between man, environment and territory.
Throughout the year, countless music and cultural festivals, cultural events and food events are expected in the city. The already sparkling Galway air becomes even more effervescent
BEER, ALGAE AND SALMONS
All year round, therefore, the city is worth a visit, but treating yourself a few days before or after the usual summer bedlam of people, allows you to enjoy the true side of Galway. The gardens of Eye Square introduce the Latin Quarter, the heart of nightlife, full of shops, street artists and acrobats. Easy to give in to the lure of the music that comes out of the pubs and stop to enjoy stewed lamb or oysters with a mug of beer.
The Quays, for example, is a historic bar over four centuries old; Irish music and cuisine can also be found at The Kings Head, in a historic three-level building. Among the crowded streets of the center, an oasis of peace is located in the imposing St. Nicholas collegiate Church, the largest medieval church in Ireland in 1320.
Then go back to the crowded and lively city market, which is full of artisans, street food and local products. Cheese, prawns and salmon are an invitation to experience the contemporary cuisine of this part of Ireland, this is a land of gourmets elected in the 2018 European Region of Gastronomy!
The Galway International Food and Craft Festival was inaugurated here last year, which includes a program of lessons by Irish chefs, bakers and pastry chefs, so much so that the BBC has called it the 2020 Gourmand destination. “Food transforms places and the community ” explains JP McMahon, chef and owner of Aniar, the city’s starred restaurant. “My kitchen is inspired by the moorland and the coast. I use seaweed, which has a long tradition here, in combination with venison oysters and also in desserts “.
There is so much to see and discover around this sparkling town. From here passes the Wild Atlantic Way, the tourist route that runs along the whole south-west of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular precipice on the blue ocean, is just over an hour’s drive away. So, in the evening, you can go back to Galway to party once again!