The largest and most complex cultural event ever held on the island of Ireland will kick off with an opening ceremony that is set to span seven days and feature a cast from communities across County Galway. The theme of the ceremony will draw on the unique cultural heritage and traditions of the region.

Starting on February 2 in the seaside town of Clifden, fiery celebrations will erupt in towns and villages across County Galway against the backdrop of some of Ireland’s most dramatic scenery over seven nights, culminating in a spectacular, open-air finale in Galway city on February 8, 2020.

The week-long opening ceremony is being produced by WonderWorks, the team responsible for the Olympic opening ceremonies in Athens, London and PyeongChang, among other world-class events.

This spectacular week of events heralds the official start of Galway 2020 with its first season, Imbolc, which will run from February to April. Imbolc is the ancient Irish festival marking the passing of winter and the beginning of a new year.

Galway 2020’s International Women’s Day celebrations on March 8 will feature author Margaret Atwood in a special, in-conversation-with event with Susan McKay.

One of Ireland’s most renowned theatre companies, Galway’s Druid Theatre Company, in a large-scale tour will present some of the greatest Irish one-act plays in the towns and islands of the county. Over four months, audiences can follow the action and get behind-the-scenes access as the company rehearse and perform the plays in the lively towns and wildly remote islands of County Galway, from the bustling Clifden in Connemara to the ruggedly beautiful Aran Islands, culminating in performances in Druid’s home in the Mick Lally Theatre in Galway city (April-July 2020).

The Galway 2020 programme will feature over 1,900 events across music, theatre, literature, visual arts, dance, film, architecture, heritage, sport, food, with the majority of projects being free to audiences.

County Galway’s world-famous annual calendar of music, horse-racing, food and art festivals will also feature enhanced programmes.