Thousands to watch match in comfort and safety in fanzone

Connacht captain John Muldoon under pressure from Ulster's Dean Reidy at last week's home game. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Connacht captain John Muldoon under pressure from Ulster's Dean Reidy at last week's home game. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

With thousands of rugby fans set to turn the city centre into a sea of green this Saturday for Connacht’s sell-out Champions Cup clash with top French side Toulouse, Galway is set for an autumnal tourist boost.

Galway’s reputation as one of the world’s friendliest cities and a top location for socialising will be enhanced by the creation of the city’s first fanzone with a large outdoor screen enabling thousands of ticketless fans to watch the sold-out game against the four-times Champions Cup winners Toulouse.

The welcome boost to local tourism figures comes as gardai in the city have confirmed that there is no issue regarding alleged drink spiking in the city.

Last month a report in the Advertiser alleged that an individual was the victim of spiking when he became unwell after socialising in the city centre. However, speaking to this newspaper last evening, Supt Noel Kelly of Galway Garda Station said that there been no reports of any such activities made to any station.

On Saturday, there will be a temporary road closure in the Forster Street area to enable the creation of the East Village fanzone. The game is due to kick off at 5.30pm, but from 3.30pm the atmosphere will begin to build on Forster Street in Galway’s East Village. There will be live DJs and a giant HD Screen showing the game for those unable to secure a matchday ticket to the Sportsground. It is expected that the fanzone will create scenes reminiscent of Connacht’s victorious homecoming last May.

As one of the country’s most desirable holiday break locations, Galway city and county hospitality trade have welcomed the retention in the Budget on Tuesday of the nine per cent VAT rate enjoyed by the tourism industry for the past six years.

The rate which had been sought by the hospitality sector prior to Tuesday’s Budget is seen as a key factor in the ability of the industry to back local initiatives to build on the success of Galway in the Galway 2020 campaign as well as the successful designations as the Friendliest City, Purple Flag recipient, and as a Region of Gastronomy.

Over the next few months, the city hospitality trade is directly supporting initiatives such as the forthcoming Macnas Halloween parade and a new set of stunning Christmas lights to be erected in the Latin Quarter area.

The backing by city hostelries and vintners of a series of attractions and events to draw visitors to the city is seen as a strong investment in Galway’s reputation as a place where families and individuals can socialise and dine safely.

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