Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine


18th March 2009


·       1.8 billion global TV audience

·        2 week free festival

·        750 volunteers

·        200,000 visitors

·        500 spectator boats

·        10,000 school children

·        5km of bunting flags

·        1000 performers

·        200 international media


On the eve of 23 May, Galway Bay will be ablaze with bonfires as it awaits the fleet of Volvo Open 70s en route from Boston in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Galway, the first port stopover in Europe after seven months racing around the world, will be ready and waiting to offer true Irish hospitality to the Volvo Ocean Race.

At a briefing today (Wednesday 18 March 2009)  in the Galway Volvo Ocean Race media centre, Communications Director of the Volvo Ocean Race, Marcus Hutchinson explained the importance of the event to Galway and Ireland internationally. ‘The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 has now passed the half way stage and has already visited the first five stopover ports. The visitor numbers and media return to date have far exceeded all estimates, especially in the new territories. Every time the race is mentioned Ireland and Galway have benefitted directly.’


On 24 May the official opening of the Galway Volvo Ocean Race village will be produced by Arcana and will feature performances by Frankie Gavin, the Galway Tenors, and the Cois Claddaigh Choir and each of the skippers of the competing teams will be officially welcomed to the city by Mayor Padraig Conneely.

Over 200,000 visitors from Ireland and overseas are expected to travel to Galway for the event which is expected to generate an estimated €43m in revenue for the region. It will be the biggest sporting event in Ireland since the Ryder Cup and Failte Ireland on behalf of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism is the principal sponsor.


Bank holiday weekend 30 May to 01 June will be a showcase of sea and land based activities with the Volvo Open 70’s competing in Galway Bay for valuable points in the inport race which will be visible from Salthill promenade. During day and evening there will be a host of activities for all ages from street theatre, free concerts, Volvo grinder challenge and model boat racing, art trail and lots lots more.

Fiona Monaghan, General Manager, Failte Ireland West at the briefing stated ‘Failte Ireland is pleased to be associated with an event of this calibre which has the potential to showcase Galway and the West of Ireland to a global audience of 1.8 billion. It is crucial that the tourism industry, the local business community and the people of Galway rally together to ensure the success of the Galway stopover. In addition to running an extensive domestic media campaign promoting the Festival, Failte Ireland will also be hosting a prestigious group of international journalists representing a variety of travel, lifestyle and epicurean publications.’

Headline acts for the free festival concerts over the two week period include:

Thursday 28 May – Hothouse Flowers

Saturday 30 May – Sharon Shannon

Sunday 31 May – Kila

Thursday 04 June – Aslan

Friday 05 June – The Stunning

‘It is now just over two months to the day when Galway's welcome will be felt by the teams and the race fans. Galway's plans and the geography of the city, harbour and bay are ideal for what is on its way here. Let’s Do It Galway's plans for the stopover festival will definitely showcase the best of Irish hospitality, entertainment and culture and I'm sure this will be of value long-term to Ireland.’ added Marcus Hutchinson


During the stopover over 10,000 school children will visit Galway on school tours and will have a unique opportunity to see the Volvo Open 70s up close and to meet with some of the sailors.  Currently over 11,000 students are taking part in the HB Let’s Do It Ocean Adventure Schools Programme on a weekly basis.

The full sailing and festival programme will be launched in April but all the latest news is issued through an ezine. Register on <>  to receive all the latest news.

Galway Volvo Ocean Race Outline Programme

22-24 May Arrivals Weekend
Unique celebrations as each boat arrives; Official opening ceremony; Free music concerts in race village: children’s entertainment and street theatre by day

30 May -01 June In port racing weekend
30 May In port racing; 31 May Pro-Am; Volvo Ocean Race departure and arrival ceremonies; Live Action from Salthill promenade; Boat Show, Free music concerts in race village: children’s entertainment and street theatre by day

05-06 June Departure Weekend
06 June Departure of yachts and farewell ceremony; Free concerts; Farewell celebration in race village

Midweek (25-29 May & 02-05 June)
Schools visits to race village; meet the crews; special interest talks; on water activities and regattas and ‘Come and try’ sailing event. Team

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