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Culture Connects – Deenihan and Creighton launch Ireland's Cultural Programme for European Presidency

09.01.2013, 16:00 GMT

Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and Lucinda Creighton TD, Minister of State for European Affairs, will today (Wednesday 9th January, 2013) formally launch the full Cultural Programme for Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

  • National and International Cultural Programme will see events in every European Union Member State and farther afield also
  • Approximately 400 events - encompassing music, visual art, literature, dance, theatre, film, photography and other art forms - are part of the programme
  • "Ireland's arts and culture are our international calling card" - Deenihan

The programme – Culture Connects – led by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, incorporates approximately 400 events taking place in Ireland and across the European Union.  The programme draws together the Culture Ireland Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Arts Council, the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Office of Public Works, and Ireland's cultural institutions and organisations.


Culture Connects will see Irish and European artists taking part in a wide range of events at home and abroad and is a key element of Ireland’s plans to celebrate the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The programme will run in tandem with the Presidency until the end of June 2013.

Launching Culture Connects, Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said:   

"Our music, dance, art and literature are known the world over, and rightly so. Through the cultural programme that we are launching today, I believe that Ireland has an opportunity to bring our arts and culture to both new and existing audiences across Europe, and this can only be good for our artists and for our country. Ireland's arts and culture are our international calling card. Culture Connects puts the best of Ireland on the national and European stage."

Lucinda Creighton TD, Minister of State for European Affairs at the Department of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs and Trade, said:

"Through the scores of events happening all across this country, and across the European Union, our Programme will make the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union visible and tangible to the public at home and abroad. The range of diversity of events that are planned mean there is something that every person can draw from this programme. By supporting community groups and local arts projects this innovative programme will involve every county in Ireland and bring the best of Irish and European culture to Irish people."

Culture Connects covers many art forms including film, music, visual arts and literary activities across five distinct strands, encompassing festivals, partnerships under the auspices of local authorities, youth projects and traditional arts and a final strand entitled Partners for Imagination which showcases Irish arts organisations that have been exceptionally committed to working across national borders in Europe to the benefit of artists, arts participants and audiences in Ireland.

Abroad, Irish artists will present work in all Member States, with a special focus on key cities. This includes The Chieftains performing in April, an exhibition of a range of Irish artists from Francis Bacon to Orla Barry in Bozar from February, Irish Destiny, a silent film from 1926 with orchestral score, a Jim Sheridan film retrospective, Brokentalkers, Blue Boy and award winning writer Anne Enright who will perform as part of Passa Porta in March. These are just a small selection of the highlights during the Presidency.

At home, Culture Connects is supporting a range of contemporary arts events taking place countrywide. Events include a focused series of concerts celebrating the work of 17 European composers being staged by the National Concert Hall, a special exhibition of the National Gallery's European works including Degas and Gainsborough, a special Bloomsday exhibition by the National Library, and an exploration of Irelands' 40 years membership of the European Union by the National Archives

Concluding, Minister Deenihan added:

"We all know that Ireland was subject to considerable negative comment on the world stage, especially since 2008. Fixing this will take time. We are repairing the damage, bit by bit. I see the Cultural Programme that accompanies Ireland's Presidency of the European Council as part of this effort, and as a presentation on the European stage of an innovative, creative, thought-provoking Ireland."   

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