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Galway gets UNESCO City of Film status

Galway City has been designated a UNESCO City of Film, one of only five cities in the world to achieve the much sought-after title.

It joins Sydney, Australia and Galway’s twin city of Bradford in the UK as a City of Film, bringing the highest internationally recognised standard of excellence in the creative industries to the West coast of Ireland.

The title, announced in Paris by UNESCO director-general, Irina Bokova, is permanent and also includes membership of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.

A total of 63 cities around the world were in the running for City of Film status during a competitive two-year campaign.

The designation gives Galway immediate access and links to a global platform of major metropolitan and cultural centres such as Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Edinburgh and boosts the city’s and county’s already impressive film and TV industry.

The announcement came just a few days after Galway Film Centre’s annual film and television seminar, with participants that included Beau Willimon, creator and showrunner of the Netflix drama series House of Cards, Bafta-winning producer Claire Jennings and former Channel 4 television drama head Gub Neal, who is producer of the hit TV BBC series The Fall.

The Mayor of Galway, Donal Lyons, said: “This is fantastic news for our film, TV, artistic and cultural community, and of course the city and region as a whole. It reflects so positively on Galway’s strong heritage of film and acknowledges our current level of creative activity, pointing to a bright future for the production, promotion and appreciation of film in Galway and the West of Ireland.”

Galway is where the black comedy, The Guard was filmed, the story of an unorthodox Irish policeman who joins forces with a straight-laced FBI agent to take on a drug smuggling gang in the famous Gaelic-speaking area of Connemara.

It is the most successful independent Irish film ever made in terms of box office receipts.

Galway is also a major stopping point of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, is a lively and young-feeling city, famed for its friendly atmosphere, incredible coastal and mountain scenery and its cultural and festival scenes.

It is the location for three of Ireland’s best known cultural events – the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races and the Galway Oyster Festival.

Packed with fine restaurants, a first-class Irish music and pub scene and lively shopping streets providing much entertainment, it is also one of the best places in the country to go out in.