Ireland’s Cultural Cities Outperform EU Rivals

Ireland’s cities are ranked better than most of their European rivals in the EU’s new “Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor”.

Of 168 European cities covered, Irish cities are some of the very best in Europe, with Cork coming in top place for “cultural vibrancy” among Small and Medium cities (50 000 to 250 000).

In the same category, Galway comes third in all Europe and Limerick ranks seventh. In the extra large cities category (500 000 to 1 million), Dublin in turn does really well across the board.

Breaking down the figures further, in the Small Cities category (50 to 100 000), Galway comes top overall in Europe, Limerick came fourth and Waterford in fifth place.

Overall, among medium cities (100 000 to 250 000) Cork comes fourth. In the extra-large bracket (500 000 to 1 million) Dublin comes fifth.

As well as this, Galway comes first in the Small and Medium category for graduates in the arts & humanities. Limerick comes first for museums in the same group while Cork & Galway both do well on concerts & shows. Waterford does well on ‘openness, tolerance and trust’ and of course Dublin also does really well across the board.

The Monitor is a new tool to benchmark performance of European cities with their peers, using both quantitative and qualitative data.

You can find more information and links here

We’ve had a closer look at the report and here are some more details:

-Cultural Vibrancy measures the cultural ‘pulse’ of a city in terms of cultural infra­structure and participation in culture;
-Creative Economy captures how the cultural and creative sectors contribute to a city’s employment, job creation and innovative capacity;
– Enabling Environment identifies the tangible and intangible assets that help cities attract creative talent and stimulate cultural engagement.
(Cities here means population over 50 000)


Among 34 ranked ‘XL’ cities (pop: 500,000-1,000,000):

·         5th overall
·         1st for ‘enabling environment’

o   Strong on all four subcategories, & particularly so on ‘openness, tolerance & trust’ (2nd)

·         3rd for ‘cultural vibrancy’

o   Broken down into 2nd in ‘cultural venues & facilities’ subcategory, with particularly strong scores on the specific indicators ‘sights and landmarks’ (1st), ‘concerts and shows’ (1st) and museums (2nd)

Cork comes 1st across all 155 ranked cities for ‘cultural vibrancy’, a category on which non-capital and smaller cities frequently did better.

Among 64 ranked ‘SM’ cities (pop: <250,000):

·         4th overall

·         1st by far for ‘cultural vibrancy’

o   Broken down into 1st for the ‘cultural venues & facilities’ subcategory, within which Cork is joint 1st with Galway for ‘concerts and shows’; from the ‘cultural participation’ subcategory, Cork comes top on the ‘cinema attendance’ indicator
·         ‘Creative economy’ in particular, where Cork comes 20th
·         For ‘enabling environment’ category, Cork comes in 5th for ‘openness, tolerance & trust’, just behind Galway (2nd) and Waterford (4th)

Galway comes 5th across all 155 ranked cities for ‘enabling environment’, within which Galway is joint 4th with Limerick overall for ‘graduates in arts & humanities’

Among 64 ranked ‘SM’ cities (pop: <250,000):

·         2nd on ‘cultural venues & facilities’ subcategory (after Cork which tops the subcategory & category across cities of any size)

o   Particularly strong on ‘concerts and shows’ (joint 1st with Cork) and ‘sights and landmarks’ (4th) indicators

·         3rd  on the ‘enabling environment’ category

o   Within which 2nd on the ‘openness, tolerance & trust’ subcategory, ahead of Waterford (4th) and Cork (5th)

o   3rd on ‘human capital and education’ subcategory, coming joint 1st with Limerick on the ‘graduates in arts & humanities’ indicator


Among 64 ranked ‘SM’ cities (pop: <250,000):

·         Does well in the ‘cultural vibrancy’ category, coming 1st for the ‘museums’ indicator (doing better per capita than Paris!) & 2nd for the ‘sights and landmarks’ indicator ahead of Galway (4th)

·         5th on ‘enabling environment’

o   Particularly strong on the ‘human capital & education’ subcategory (5th) coming joint 1st with Galway on the ‘graduates in arts & humanities’ indicator.


Among 64 ranked ‘SM’ cities (pop: <250,000):

·         Performs well on the ‘enabling environment’ category, coming 4th for the ‘openness, tolerance & trust’ subcategory, just behind Galway (2nd) and ahead of Cork (5th)


“Dublin is known as a thriving cultural and artistic centre. Culture Night – when more than 80 museums, galleries, theatres, cathedrals and cultural institutions of all branches provide a night of free entertainment and discovery – is one of the most popular events. Temple Bar – an historic district of the medieval centre of Dublin – has become the centre of the vibrant cultural life of the city. The quarter underwent an important regeneration process in the ’90s, becoming a major creative quarter attracting artists and creative businesses as well as tourists. Dublin was European Capital of Culture in 1991. Later it was shortlisted by the International Council for the Society of Industrial Designers (ICSID) to become World Design Capital 2014. In 2010 Dublin acquired the status of UNESCO Creative City of Literature. Dublin has a redoubtable literary history which featured many prominent literary figures, including the Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.

Cork is a multicultural city. It was European Capital of Culture in 2005, attracting over one million people, seven times the city’s population, to official events. Recent evolutions in the arts infrastructure include modern additions to Cork Opera House and the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery. The Lewis Glucksman Gallery opened in the autumn of 2004. In 2009 Cork was included in the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 ‘Best in Travel 2010’ for its ‘sophisticated, vibrant and diverse’ spirit.”


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