Galway: Making a Capital of Culture explores the unique interplay between culture and place development. Even in this highly globalised world, places remain distinct. They are the product of their natural environment, history and culture. It is this interaction between these three factors that shapes place identity and drives place development. We use Galway, Ireland to better understand these interactions.
Galway plays a distinct role in the historical and contemporary story of Ireland and Irishness. It is a place set apart, a place at a remove, geographically peripheral but also central to the building of a national identity.
Galway’s cultural story has been characterised by the dynamic interaction between the city and its surrounding landscape. The book first considers this geography before going on to explore the evolution of different aspects of culture in Galway. It focuses on Nobel-prize-winning writers, key political leaders in the formation of a new Republic, Academy-Award-winning directors and culture-makers who have helped shape modern Ireland. Language, landscape and a questioning of the status quo are part of the story behind the making of a cultural Galway.
The book finishes by considering the nature of legislating for and governing the unpredictable beast of culture in Ireland. We take time to consider the ill-fated European Capital of Culture in 2020, its fate secured long before the onset of a global pandemic. We question the nature of culture as an active agent of place development. We invoke the theories of key urbanists and planners and conclude the book by providing ten steps that can help ensure the future sustainable development of a culture as we embark on the second century of the Irish state.
This book offers a fresh perspective on contemporary place development, using the unique case of Galway, Ireland. It will be of interest to students and scholars of geography, sociology, planning cultural and Irish studies. While a specific case study, the story of Galway is an international one. Key lessons can be gleaned from the sometimes deliberate but often times accidental contribution of culture to place development.