Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

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.

Published in Galway Harbour

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating