European City of Culture

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  • Aspects of Cork City

The European City of Culture, or European Capital of Culture as it is now known is chosen once a year by the European Union. They select a city/cities each year to promote and display their cultural life.

Athens, the capital of Greece was selected as the first European City of Culture in 1985. This year (2008), the honour is shared by Liverpool in the United Kingdom and Stavanger in Norway.

In 2005, it was Cork City's chance to show the world what it has to offer on a cultural level. Let's look at this historic year in greater detail.

Cork 2005

On the 8th January 2005, 100,000 people took to the streets of Cork to celebrate the start of Cork's tenure as European Capital of Culture.

President Mary McAleese was present to launch their programme of events. This programme of events included theatre, music, sport, dance, film, arts, literature and architecture.

Throughout the year, over 1 million people attended official Cork 2005 events.


Some of the highlights from Cork 2005 include 'Exodus', an exhibition by one of the best photographers in the world, Sebastiao Salgado. Also, Collins Barracks played host to a memorable performance from Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli.

In sport, over 500 rowers in 120 coastal rowing boats competed in the first Ocean to City, Ireland's largest ever rowing race and the Céilí Mór at Cork 2005 broke the world record for the largest gathering of céilí dancers ever.

Cork 2005 was very important to the city of Cork for many reasons. It was a major boost to the tourism industry, it helped promote the city to a worldwide audience and it introduced the locals to a wide range of cultural events.