Heartbreak as Three Sisters loses culture capital bid

By David tucker

Published 23/07/2016 | 00:00

Michael D'Arcy.
Michael D'Arcy.

THE Three Sisters (Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny) failed to win the ambitious bid to become European Capital of Culture 2020, the prestigious title instead going to Galway.

Reacting to Friday's announcement by the European selection panel, the bid group said that despite the disappointing news, the region was looking forward 'to a new and exciting future,' with the region's bid team laying the groundwork for much of it.

Michael D'Arcy, among those in Wexford who put their hearts and souls into the bid, said it 'gave voice to the prominent, the unconventional and the marginalised artists, performers and practitioners of our region by establishing a first of its kind forum to asses the very fabric of how we live our lives in the south east.

He said it was heartbreaking to return to Wexford last Friday and 'not have the result we had strived for over the last 18 months.. (but) new and exciting collective ambition has now been stirred within us. We now move forward as a region'.

George Lawlor, former mayor, councillor and thespian said, 'there is huge disappointment that the bid wasn't succesful.

'We can take great pride in the bid itself, the team did everything, but in the event the committee went with the safe option and went with a grouping that were well-used to cultural activities,' said Cllr Lawlor.

'The Three Sisters was a very new concept, but it was well worth doing and Michael D'Arcy and team have done us proud and a lot of what was in the bid will come to fruition.'

Asked if he believed that any of the three members of the Three Sisters would have stood a better chance going it alone, George said: 'I always consider Wexford to be the capital of culture, but a city had to lead the bid.'

'We live to fight another day and it was well worth doing, exposing Wexford to the extreme atmosphere that art and culture bring,' he said.

Councillor Paddy Kavanagh, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council thanked the people and local businesses of Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny whose support for the bid was overwhelming.

'I also wish to thank all the members of the Bid Team who have worked tirelessly on this project.

'We hope that we have inspired other small regions to work together through culture to transform their future,' he said.

Deirdre Grant of Myriad Dance posted that she can't help but be gutted for all Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny artists at the ECOC decision, but particularly for contemporary dance artists and projects in the south east. We could have done with the break.

'But fair play Galway. Enjoy it!'

Commenting on the 2020 bid decision, Minister Heather Humphreys said that one of the aims of the European City of Culture initiative was to bring the people of Europe closer together and improve mutual understanding.

'In reflecting on the attack in Nice the Minister said:

'We can only respond to such attacks by strengthening our resolve and commitment to our culture and our way of life in Europe.

'It is at moments such as this that we say aloud that we will not stop celebrating what is great about living in Ireland, in France or in Europe.

'Our cultural expression was central to the respectful way, this year, that we in Ireland marked the centenary of the birth of our sovereign nation. Last night thousands of locals and visitors were enjoying France's cultural celebration of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.'

In passing on her sympathy to the victims and their families Minister Humphreys stated that these values will prevail in Europe no matter the provocation.

The Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly MEP, has paid tribute to the organisers behind the joint Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford bid.

'While the Three Sisters did not win the title, these communities can be very proud to have been one of just three Irish regions shortlisted to be Europe's Capital of Culture for 2020,' MEP Kelly said.

'I know that a huge effort was put into the joint bid by these counties.. they have boosted the profile of their region with their efforts.'

Wexford People

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