New Stirling arts festival will have Irish flavour

Mar 24 2010 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday

ST Patrick’s Day was the ideal occasion to announce a new joint arts and cultural festival between Stirling and Galway.

Links between the two areas were launched on March 17, with concurrent events running here and in the Emerald Isle.

And during the celebrations came the news that this June there is to be an exchange of performers and artists between the two cities.

Last week Provost Fergus Wood led a delegation from Stirling to Galway, in the west of Ireland, to launch the Stirling and Galway Sessions 2010, while Bailie Colin O’Brien spoke at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling.

The joint arts and cultural festival will take place from June 6-21.

The delegation invited to Galway to mark their St Patrick’s Day celebrations also included leader of the opposition Councillor Corrie McChord and Councillor Steven Paterson, portfolio holder for communities and community planning.

Provost Fergus Wood, who was in Galway with the Stirling Schools’ Pipe Band, said: “I am pleased to announce this cultural link between the two cities, which will provide the people of Stirling an opportunity to experience this inaugural joint arts and cultural festival.

“This is also a fantastic opportunity to showcase Stirling as a destination, establish business connections and links between the universities.”

Stirling Schools' Pipe Band was invited to lead the St Patrick's Day Parade in Galway as part of the festival launch. Pipe bands, dance groups and performance artists come from all over the world to Galway each year to experience a parade that is widely regarded as one of the best in Ireland.

Bailie Colin O'Brien meanwhile hosted a special St Patrick's Day event at the Stirling Smith, where more than 60 people enjoyed traditional Irish music from group Shaskeen.

During a visit to Galway City in 2008, Provost Wood met with the then Mayor Costello, the Chamber of Commerce and several politicians to look at partnership and joint projects between Cities of Galway and Stirling.

Following this, a group of politicians and prominent community and business leaders from Galway visited Stirling in January 2009 to look at the possibility of working together at council, business, university and national park levels.

Local partners from Stirling University, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Central Scotland Police were involved with Stirling Council in the discussions.