Posted by: mdmusingsie | June 23, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Preparations

Over the past week the tent city that will be the hub of the Finale of the Volvo Ocean Race has been growing steadily in Galway’s South Park.  First were the miles of temporary fencing to enclose the area, then the buildings began to appear.  Not drizzle nor rugby game has slowed the progress.  I should have had the foresight to take a picture of the largest one that will be the Global Arena, when it was still a metal skeleton, but you know what they say about hindsight.  From the looks of the festival map and event lists, the whole area will be teaming with entertainment and information, much of it free.

I was a little bemused at the Executive tent with its wall of windows.  Although it faces the bay, the tent village sits in a depression.  A slight slope leads up to the promenade where I walk frequently along Galway Bay.  However, from the sunken elevation of the tent level, the water is not visible.  Maybe they will be too busy doing executive things to notice.

Dozens of foliage boxes have been scattered in the Claddagh and out towards Salt Hill along my walk.  They’ve been arranged in groups of 1 to 3 in assorted colorful boxes.

A temporary footbridge is being constructed from the Spanish Arch across the river Corrib to aid access to the area.  Although a good idea, I can’t help but question the placement.  It leads people to a section of the Claddagh where a narrow bridge fords the canal that spills into the Corrib.   From the looks of the posts they’ve sunk into the riverbed, the new footbridge appears significantly wider, bringing to mind a funnel – people still have to navigate the narrow bridge to get to the tent city.  Logic is sometimes hard to find in the world around us.

Several days ago a container ship arrived with all the paraphernalia for the event.  To give you an idea of the size and scope of this event, they have two sets of everything that leapfrog each other so that one stopover can be setting up while the previous one is still in full swing.

This is the second time the Volvo Ocean Race has come to Galway, and it does bring a large boost in tourism as well as the temporary jobs it creates in all the setup, preparation, and teardown.

The festivities kick off on June 30th and runs through July 8th.  I’ve also heard of plans for an American-style 4th of July celebration including a parade from Eyre Square down Shop Street and fireworks in the evening.   I’ll keep you posted…

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