The Galway stopover for the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race was a huge success for the city and for the race, and once again the Volvo Ocean Race will visit this ancient west coast city of Ireland, this time as the finish line of the 2011-12 race.
In May 2009 over 600,000 supporters visited the race village during the stopover, with the crowd peaking at 62,000 people on the In-Port Race day alone. The seaside resort of Salthill drew a further 120,000 visitors to watch the dramatic close-combat race from the shoreline.
For the next event, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet will finish the race in the fabled waters of Galway Bay in July 2012 where they are bound to receive a tremendous Irish welcome at the end of the final leg from Lorient.
Galway, Ireland’s third largest city, is celebrated in song and story throughout the world and takes centre stage on Ireland’s western seaboard. With spectacularly beautiful scenery, it offers a medley of contrasts – the wildest and remotest of countryside teamed with one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular cities.
Dubbed ‘The Cultural Capital of Ireland’, the city is famed for its vibrant music, arts and events scene. During the summer months the 70,000 strong population swells, as visitors are drawn by the city’s many festivals, an International Festival of Literature, the Galway Arts Festival (Ireland’s largest), the Oyster Festival and the Galway Races, which attracts 200,000 people over seven days.
The city itself has many relics of its medieval past and is worth taking time to explore. It has changed considerably over the last number of years and features a fascinating juxtaposition of new and ancient architecture.
The centre of the city is conveniently compact enough to ramble around comfortably. There is something to suit all tastes, from the leafy Eyre Square to the pedestrianized ‘Shop Street’ which can cater to the whims of those in need of a little retail therapy, with its charming mix of international brands and boutique businesses.
If you have a leisurely afternoon to while away in Galway, stroll along the Long Walk, admiring its quaint mews houses that nestle along the waterfront, or feed the famous Claddagh swans as they glide majestically between the fishing boats. A walk along the Salthill Promenade is a Galway stalwart, and is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. If you really want the authentic experience though, be sure to kick the wall when you reach the diving tower at Blackrock!
For an evening’s entertainment there are a myriad of options on offer. The oldest part of the city, known as the ‘Latin Quarter’, is hive of old, cobbled streets that house some of the best pubs and restaurants in Galway. As you walk through the tight and crowded streets you meet jugglers and performers of all kinds, threading their way through the pavement tables of the bars and cafes.
If you’re looking for something edgier, head over the bridge to the ‘West End’, which offers a grittier ambience, characterised by its contemporary bohemian and eclectic music scene. All manner of musical taste is catered for in Galway, with a strong tradition music presence kept alive by street performers and in bars across the city.
If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands, then venture further afield. Outside the city the chief attractions of the Aran Islands, the splendid scenery of Connemara and the picturesque town of Clifden are all well worth a visit and within a few hours of Galway’s hustle and bustle.
Once voted the 8th ‘Sexiest City in the World’, Galway is an unmissable destination.
Volvo Ocean Race stopover
Visitor Information section on www.volvooceanracegalway.com.
Getting To Galway
Galway is a city, a county and an experience to be savoured and remembered. The historic city of the tribes dances to a beat uniquely it’s own. There is a certain chemistry and vibrancy to this friendly University City which many delight in and few forget. Music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants shops theatres and most of all Galway people combine to create this atmospheric mediaeval city of culture.
How To Get There:
Local airline Aer Arann is the main service provider at Galway Airport operating services from Dublin, London Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Visit Galway Airport at: http://www.galwayairport.com/
Visit Aer Arann at http://www.aerarann.com/
Galway is well served by regular intercity trains from Dublin Heuston. For information on timetables and fares visitwww.irishrail.ie
Bus Eireann (www.buseireann.ie) is the main service provider with private companies offering additional services.
Citylink (www.citylink.ie) has direct routes from Galway City to Clifden, Dublin City, Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport.
GoBus (www.gobus.ie) operates 14 non-stop services daily from Dublin Airport to Galway City.
Where to Stay
For information on where to stay from 5 Star hotels to top quality hostels please visit www.discoverireland.ie/west or telephone Galway Tourist Office at +353 91 537700.