Get insights into the new European Capital of Culture! Together with volunteers of Plovdiv 2019, Matera 2019 and Galway 2020 we found 5 ways to make work the logo of Galway 2020 Let the magic in! It guided our exploration of city diversity after the official ceremony was cancelled due to the changing weather.
My volunteering in Galway (Ireland), the European Capital of Culture – 2020, has become the logical continuation of the Plovdiv internship. I was selected to represent Bulgaria in the framework of the international exchange programme.
Because of stormy weather, the Opening Ceremony Galway 2020 was cancelled just several hours before the beginning. We combined volunteer’s wisdom of different countries to make up an impromptu programme based on original attractions of Galway.
Enjoying Galway Bread
The day began with full Irish breakfast at a local pub together with Plovdiv volunteers Kami Klifton and Desi Todorova. Each pub in Galway offers its version of breakfast that differs by the size of the portion and ingredients.
I was particularly curious about the difference between full English and Irish breakfasts. I didn’t notice much variability in a set of products. Both types of breakfasts may include fried eggs, sausages, mushrooms, black and white pudding, baked beans, tomatoes and toasts.
Homemade bread is what makes any meal in Irish pubs really special! Many people bake bread at home, and it’s so lovely that local restaurants make this tradition a natural feature of their menus. This allows people from different countries to experience the Irish lifestyle in a natural way.
The meal may seem too heavy for breakfast. And the most incredible thing is that you can try it at any time. Most pubs serve breakfast all day. The average price is 7-10 euros.
Exploring Galway History and Shopping
After a bit unusual for the morning meal, we decided to do a brisk walk and went to see Eyre Square Shopping Centre with the 13th century Medieval City Walls inside. The attraction was suggested by the Irish volunteers Pauline and Liam Ferrie, long-term residents of the city.
Built around the archaeological site, the centre resembles a museum with a lot of informative posters about the milestones of Galway’s history. Somewhat unusual combinations. But the remnants of the medieval past seem harmoniously coexist with dozens of fashionable shops.
A cosy coffee shop, organically integrated into the interior, naturally links the cultural heritage, modern consumption and business process.
Experiencing Unexpected Galway
In the afternoon, Polish blogger and volunteer Malgosia Kozlowska-Doczyk living in Galway for six years joined us and showed her favourite place – the Bank of Ireland Theatre. The building serves as a students’ theatre.
During our visit, we were observing workers adjusting the decorations for another play. A lighting operator showed us special light effects on the stage prepared for performance and then kindly agreed to take a picture of us against the stage.
The theatre tour followed a tea party at Malgosia’s and interaction with her lovely cat Tycjusz that bit and scratched each of us.
‘He absolutely likes you and this the ultimate expression of his love, – reassured us Malgosia who took Tycjusz from the street several years ago. – As a former stray animal, he never learned ‘the traditional’ good manners’.
On her fascinating blog Blue Tram, Malgosia has already presented her vision of that unforgettable day.
Sensing Galway Colours
Whenever we went, we always came across street paintings or graffiti. Like most European Capitals of Culture, Galway uses these art forms to showcase its creativity and offer tourists more options for selfies.
Galway even has a special Facebook community that documents and maps visual street designs in the city. With the impressive collection of images and videos, the comprehensive database can be a starting point for those who’re interested in modern urban art.
Let the magic in!
In the evening, we joined our teammates of Matera 2019 and the other volunteers in the Kitchen Café where we had dinner organized by Galway 2020.
It was the only planned event that day. The majority of our experiences were driven by the motto of Galway 2020: Let the magic in! This inspirational slogan determined our programme, filled it with magical discoveries and guided the rest of the Year.