Although the population of Galway, Ireland is predominately Irish, almost 20% of its residents are non-Irish. Half of this group is made up of white Europeans, coming from Poland and other Central European nations. An even smaller portion of this segment of Galway is Latin in origin, and the city even has a Latin Quarter.
This Latin heritage will be celebrated the first weekend in June, Friday the 3rd though Sunday the 5th, during Galway’s Havana Cultura, formerly known as the Little Havana Festival, a free and fun-filled festival in the city Latin Quarter. The neighbourhood will be filled with Latin music, dance, street entertainment, art, and cultural events. Sponsored by Cuban rum company Havana Club, there will be over sixty free events to enjoy all weekend.
Musicians performing at the Havana Cultura will include the Cuban All-Stars, the Sabor Cubano, and the Cuban Jazz Project, as well as international performers La Tinto Brothers, and local bands the Disconauts and the city’s eight-piece salsa band Cuba Libre. A score of other bands and DJs from all over the world will bring their vibes, grooves, and cultural fusions to the Latin Quarter, sharing the Havana feel in every part of Galway.
Additional activities occurring during the Festival will also include the following: pop-up Havana Club Mojito classes, which will teach participants how to make the popular cocktail; drumming classes taught by Big Beat, an experienced Latin American drumming band; a Cuban photo exhibition that will show off late 1950s and early 1960s photography; and energetic Salsa dance classes hosted by Backata Republic.
It makes sense that an event such as Havana Cultura would be hosted by a city such as Galway, which is known for its openness and respect for its own Irish culture and the culture of others. The Latin Quarter officially opened in 2009 and encompasses some of the city’s most historic landmarks, locally owned businesses, and some of Galway’s most beloved pubs and restaurants. If you decide you would like to experience this amazing free festival and need a hotel, check out the Jurys Inn’s range of hotels in Galway.