green light for galway

green light for galway

There was a quiet sense of confidence bubbling under the current of people that basked in the rare run of sunshine that graced Galway for the last few days. It was clear that God himself was looking on and willing the race to finish on the western seaboard.

News of the stopover was leaked early Monday/Tuesday and some were loath to take it any further for fear of jinxing it. The CEO of the greatest show on earth was proving a tough Knut to crack and Galway was still holding its breath.

The confidence of the Holy Trinity of the Galway Stopover last summer; Enda O’Coineen, John Killeen was filtered through local media vectors. With that, we knew we were, as John Killeen compared to a rugby game; “ten points up, with ten to go”. The value of these men cannot be understated, what the have contributed to Galway and Ireland as a whole will forever be remembered and celebrated.

Today, the Taoiseach of Ireland, Brian Cowan along with CEO of the Race, Knut Frostad made the official announcement. 2012 will see Galway host the final port of call. In a passionate address, the self styled “Unsinkable Entrepreneur” Enda O’Coineen highlighted  the ambition that was shown in recapturing the event that shook the Irish summer of 2009. Added to this, he acknowledged the support of Let’s Do it Galway and finished with “I would like to thank the people of Galway who threw open their hearts for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2009 and are the reason why we are here today."

For those of you who missed out on Galway in 2009, book tickets now! Galway heaved for 14days and nights with over 600,000 visitors present to witness the stopover and revel in the excellent atmosphere generated in a city that is the cultural heartbeat of Ireland.

Last summer, the skipper of the Green Dragon, Ian Walker, was humbled on arrival at 3am to see the 15,000 strong crowd waiting to cheer them in with the final spot on the podium secured. That the broke their second gennaker and had to run hard in extreme conditions with their largest sail set was testament to the crew. Had they limped home in 6th, the crowd would still have waited and cheered, such was the lift their epic voyage had created. At the end of the stopover, he left in tears, overcome by the emotion of the event and the boundless support that existed for him and his valiant crew.

Now the word is out, the reputation of Galway has spread to all four corners of the globe. It’s success as a stopover, the atmosphere in the city, the Guinness has been spoken of on the bar stools that overlook Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, by our kilt wearing breathen from the Highlands, across the water to our Celtic cousins in France and across the Atlantic to America.

Though two years away, the effort we will put in will be enormous, the template of last summer’s event will be tweaked. The race village for one, will improve, with the full Volvo Corporate package to be on show. Allied to this, the Solitaire du Figaro, with an Irish entrant, Paul O’Riain will visit the south coast of Ireland, stopping in Kinsale. This July, Galway will host a leg of the Around Ireland Powerboat race, with a 75 strong fleet expected in town.

Galway, the once famed fishing town is now, more than ever, embracing the sea. Long may it continue.  This verse from “A song for Ireland” best sums up Galway:

Watched the Galway salmon run,
Like silver dancing, darting in the sun,
living on your western shore,
Saw summer sunsets, I asked for more,
I stood by your Atlantic Sea,
And I sang a song for Ireland