The like of which we may not see again
O come ye all who are interested in maritime matters and pursuers of craic and welcome to this most westerly of cities for the short time you will be among us...May the draw of this place of the Tribes drag ye in off the ocean...May the wind sneak behind you before filling your sails and make ye glide into our port... may your arms pump the energy like a Frankie Gavin elbow...May the pounding of your heart as it primes the pistons of your body act like a gentle staccato soundtrack in the movie of your feat...May the hard disk drives of your mind become sponges to absorb all that is around you. May you fill your lungs with all that is Galwayness and let that soak through your being...May you, winners all, see among the faces on the shore, the smiles of your family and friends who will be glad to see you after so long at sea...may you embrace them and embrace us with the same fervour...may you take the applause of the thousands and believe that each utterance of 'fair play to ya' is a heartfelt blessing from the giver...May your time among us be one of wonderment and satisfaction...may every piece of morsel that passes your lips here detonate your taste buds and may every soothing drink spread its coolness throughout you... May you enjoy Galway and all that it offers you and may you be intoxicated by the uniqueness of this strange place set on a rock facing the Atlantic, perpetually enduring the wind and rain that ye endured for nine months and, with that knowledge, may ye show even more wonderment at our good humour...may you feel the warmth we all have for you next week...may you stand and sit and share our music, may your foot tap to the box players, may you hum along to Two Injured Swans by the Saw Doctors...may you understand our culture, our strange customs and see why you were right to come back again among us and why we hope you will do it again and again...may the royal princes who visit feel chilled enough to sip pints and talk about Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the chances of an Abba revival...May you walk the streets and be enveloped in the magical mist that is Galwayness, that strange force that makes us leave behind thoughts of what we could have been to concentrate on what we are...May your minds never be too exercised working out what is unique about this place and why it turns grown people into children...may you ease those aching muscles in our midst...may you realise that this welcome afforded you is one built on voluntary genuine spirit and not on massive resources...may you see what we have done with the finale and how we are using it to showcase what we do...may you enjoy the foods, be enlightened by the innovation, the conversation, be amused by our creativity and may you bring with you throughout the world, a memory of Galway that will make you want to tell others about it, so that they too can come here and sample all of this for themselves...so welcome to the Volvo family, all who are racing, watching, absorbing. May we thank you for choosing us. Welcome to Galway...let it be your home while you are here.
— Our thoughts go out this week to the family and friends of young Kieran Cunningham, from Claregalway who was looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere of the Volvo stopover in Galway in 2009 when he lost his life through no fault of his own. No doubt, the return of the festivities will remind them all of that terrible time and we say a real prayer for the healing of their pain.