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Galway Dock’s Battle of the Christmas Lights

20th December 2016
’Tis the season to be jolly – and ahead of the game. The festive lights on the marina boats in Galway Dock are starting to become competitive ’Tis the season to be jolly – and ahead of the game. The festive lights on the marina boats in Galway Dock are starting to become competitive Photo: Cormac Mac Donncha

Galway Docks, with the water level kept constant by an access lock to the sea, matches well with Eyre Square as a nautical version of the city’s most significant public space writes W M Nixon.

And with Christmas upon us, the charm of the docks is enhanced by an increasing number of boats in the marina rigging themselves with displays of festive lights. So much so, in fact, that Cormac Mac Donncha has dropped us a line and the above photo with the comment: “Despite efforts to outdo our neighbours on the marina, with a set of red lights running from the top of the 26m high mast aboard Atlantic Way Sailing’s Hanse 531, we have been outshone by the high wattage, flashing lights aboard the yachts of fellow marina users. While they may have lowered the tone of the display this year, we are considering an upgrade again next year to return us to our rightful position as most impressive vessel of the season…..”

Quite so. But take heed, you yotties of Galway. You face an escalating process which might become endless. At the height of the most extravagant years of the Celtic Tiger, some marinas saw the complete brightly-lit paraphernalia of Santa Claus with his team of reindeer, sleigh and all, heading skywards from the top of the mizzen mast to the mainmast head on certain ketch-rigged boats.

As for the fully-decorated Christmas tree with lights put skillfully above the electronic broccoli at the masthead, that’s old hat. It is still remembered from the early days of Howth Marina in 1983, and possibly even their first marina Christmas of 1982. Then, everyone was so thrilled skinny with the very fact of having a new marina that they seemed to spend half the festive season aboard their boats, despite it being before the clubhouse existed, with the approach to the marina bridge a muddy affair.

So we can be reasonably sure that at the first proper Irish coastal marina of them all, the Royal Cork’s at Crosshaven which opened in 1974, they were sending aloft fully-furnished Christmas trees with lights and every bell and whistle before the rest of us even knew what a proper marina berth was. After all, it’s what you’re expected to do when you’re the oldest yacht club in the world…..

But by all means let us see what other marinas are doing in the way of Christmas-lit boats. And do it soon - the bevy of Christmas storms being talked of may reduce the impact of the best of the show.

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