Our cultural offering is constantly developing to reflect these changes and we know that we can offer a genuinely different model for a UK City of Culture that will resonate with other areas in the UK. Armagh is a place that celebrates originality and is poised to share its unique character and charm with the world.

But, like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver (inspired by this place), we too are a sleeping giant. After years of under-investment, there is disparity in quality of life across the borough; our young people are leaving and we have an ageing population. For many of our citizens there are fundamental issues concerning access to many types of culture and more than 60% of our people leave the borough for their cultural experiences.

We urgently need to create opportunities to help us retain talent, increase our audiences and breathe life back into our urban centres and surrounding rural areas. Our cultural offering needs to grow with our demographic to better serve future generations and act as a catalyst for Borough-wide regeneration by providing more opportunities to participate, experience and work in the creative sector.

Becoming UK City of Culture will help us to achieve our goals by re-awakening interest, inspiring passion and excitement for what we have to offer and building a new vision for a united and progressive future.