The Three Sisters region of Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and rival bids from Limerick and Galway saw their dream of becoming European Capital of Culture 2020 take a step closer to reality on Friday leaving Dublin's hopes for the title shattered.
The European Capital of Culture title will be awarded jointly to an Irish and Croatian city in 2020 and the Selection Panel has considered comprehensive bid documents and conducted interviews with each of the bid teams.
Galway, Limerick and The Three Sisters are now in hot contention for the title with Dublin no longer in the running.
The shortlisted cities will have until mid 2016 to complete their applications. The expert panel will then meet again in Dublin during the second half of 2016 to recommend which Irish city will be the European Capital of Culture 2020.
The next stage of the ECoC 2020 competition will require a more comprehensive bid document, a visit by the Selection Panel to the region and a presentation at the final selection meeting in July 2016.
Commenting on the result, the Three Sisters Bid director Michael Quinn said, "We are very proud of the Three Sisters Bid submission, the entire team along with all of the people from the Southeast region collaborated to create a very unique proposition for Europe and we are delighted to be shortlisted for the 2020 title. The support demonstrated for this bid has been tremendous and I would like to congratule and thank everyone involved."
The Dublin2020 Bid Team congratulated their fellow bidding cities. Ray Yeates, head of the Dublin2020 bid, said: "Dublin would like to congratulate the short listed cities for the European Capital of Culture second round. The Dublin2020 team worked tirelessly to prepare a very strong Bid and all of the great learning and new ideas will benefit Dublin for many years to come. Naturally we are disappointed but Dublin is looking forward to supporting the winning city in every way.”
See...Limerick has 2020 vision Or at least a vision for 2020 @Limerick2020 - well done on the hard work. More culture than Yoplait.— Will Leahy (@willleahy) November 13, 2015
Wexford man Eoin Colfer makes the case for the Three Sisters
The European Capital of Culture is an initiative of the European Union. Following an open call by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, four candidate cities submitted applications; Dublin, Galway, Limerick and the Waterford led bid.
Started in 1985 on the initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri, European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and become one of the best known - and most appreciated - activities of the European Union.