Celebrating key times in Galway’s cultural journey

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

A new podcast series that celebrates key cultural milestones in Galway is being launched this week.

It features many of the people who played leading roles in the development of the arts across Galway, as they share memories about the genesis of Druid Theatre, the Galway Arts Festival, Macnas and the Film Fleadh

There are also stories of the first TVs in Galway and how people responded to these strange new devices. And the series explores the vital role newspapers played in spreading cultural news.

The first series of Cultural Milestones explores the creative atmosphere at UCG back in the 1970s and 1980s, during that short period when Druid, the Arts Festival, the Film Fleadh and Macnas began to flourish.

The first episodes are being made available this Thursday, February 1, one in Irish and one in English.

There are 10 in total – five i mBéarla and five i nGaeilge – and from this week, they’ll be released at the rate of two per fortnight.

The Cultural Milestones series was created by Tracey Ferguson, whose CV includes marketing and publicity work with various arts organisations including the Arts Festival.

It’s produced and presented by award-winning journalists Sally-Ann Barrett and Barbara Nic Dhonnacha, who travelled throughout Galway, to collect stories and memories.

The executive producer is Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan of Galway Culture Company, which commissioned the series.

“It is important to record these memories directly from those who were present to witness these cultural changes first-hand,” Tracey says. “Hopefully these episodes will serve as a partial audio record of just some of the cultural shifts which have touched all of our lives in, what is often, enormous ways.”

Sally-Ann Barrett describes the project as  “a real eye opener” for her, in that it “vividly illustrates the colossal impact Galway and its cultural players have had, on not just the national but the international cultural stage”.

Pictured: Druid Theatre Company emerged from UCG in the 1970s. The group marked the opening of its new theatre space in Druid Lane in 1979 with a production of The Threepenny Opera. The cast, pictured, included Paul O’Neill, Máire Stafford, Maelíosa Stafford, Seán Stafford and Ray McBride. Adrian Taheny, Joyce McGreevy, Marie Mullen and Seán McGinley.  PHOTO JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

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