Volvo Ocean Race
The arrival in Galway of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/9 saw over half a million spectators flock to the port to welcome the heroic seafarers for a week of fun-filled events
Battling the high seas to reach Galway, Ireland
One of the most exciting, high-adrenalin yacht races in the world wound its way into Galway City on 23 May. This dramatic, months-long event saw eight of the best professional teams battle with high waves and horrifically inhospitable conditions over 39,000 nautical miles, with stopovers in port cities around the globe to reach the historically rich city of Galway in the West of Ireland on Leg 9. To follow the fast-paced race over each Leg, check out the official Volvo Ocean Race website
A welcome like no other
From 23 May to 6 June 2009, the fastest yachts on the planet took a break from their oceanic endurance test to sail into Galway Bay. Sailors on land and sea enjoyed the stunning sight of these magnificent vessels up close, while mingling with some of the world’s leading yachtsmen. This historic Irish city gave them céad mile fáilte (one hundred thousand welcomes) from Ireland. Over 500 pleasure and support crafts gathered on the more gentle port waters to greet the seafarers through the night, while thousands of spectators lined the quayside bristling with enthusiasm and cheering on the weary teams as they arrived, inluding Ireland’s Green Dragon.
Ireland's festival town
Galway likes a good party. This culturally rich, warm and vibrant city is legendary for its festivals with top annual events, such as the Comedy Festival, the Arts Festival and two Oyster Festivals drawing massive international crowds. Galwegians know how to live it up, and this fabulous city is famous for its unparalled atmosphere and sheer vivaciousness. While the boats are in town, the city will ignite with firework displays, live music every night from local and international bands, street performers, food and wine fairs, markets and street performers. There will even be an opportunity to try some sailing for yourself. Literally counting down the days, you can catch up with all the events planned for the big arrival in Galway by logging onto Let’s Do It In Galway.
Galway, a breathtaking city any time of year
As well as being one of Ireland’s biggest hubs for watersports, Galway is a bohemian city that revels in the arts. Students, musicians, writers and artists all favour the city and contribute to the irresistable atmosphere here. The old medieval city streets buzz with life and history, while the city’s picturesque location makes it one of Ireland’s most spectacular spots. Enjoy lively nights in the city’s old traditional pubs, which come alive with music after dark, soak up truly great seafood in some of the best restaurants in town, or hang out in hip clubs till the early hours. For those who like to see the sights, Galway boasts wonderful ancient buildings, medieval alleys and impressive churches, such as St Nicholas’.
Beyond the city walls
Stretch out beyond Galway City and you’re in for a real treat. The countryside in this part of Ireland is unique and breathtakingly spectacular. Scramble up the Twelve Bens mountain range and enjoy a stunning view out over rugged bogland, bliss out with some relaxing fishing on Lough Corrib, which has a reputation as being one of the best game fisheries in the world, or seek out some of Ireland’s powdery-soft white sand beaches at Renvyle or Gurteen near Roundstone. For an unbeatable experience, though, you should book a trip to the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region) in Connemara or the Aran Islands, where you can see the country’s centuries-old cultural traditions living on. What are you waiting for? Get planning your trip to Galway now, and make sure you’re there in time to watch the arrival of the great and the good of the seafaring world...