A great day for Galway says Mayor

Some of the people who gathered in the city centre for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton to Galway on Thursday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy.

Some of the people who gathered in the city centre for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton to Galway on Thursday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy.

The visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Galway city was the perfect tonic for the disappointment of the cancellation of the European Capital of Culture launch in February, that is according to Mayor of the Galway City Council, Mike Cubbard.

Mayor Cubbard, who greeted the royal couple on their arrival to the city on last Thursday, described the visit as "huge" for the city, highlighting the positive image that Galway portrayed on the day after a challenging few months for the city and Galway 2020.

He said; "It is huge for Galway. If you look at the build-up beforehand, I found that there was a huge expectation that this was going to be one of the best days for Galway in quite a while. When the European Capital of Culture was cancelled in South Park, we had very good fortune to get the offer for [the royal couple] to come to Galway.

"Kensington Palace checked various parts of the country and they chose Galway. To be on the world stage and have the world's media here looking at our city for those few hours, you can't buy that.

"I think about 125 journalists were here when the launch of Capital of Culture was cancelled unfortunately. There were 240 [journalists] here for the royal couple so it shows the scale [of attention] that they attract. They are not the biggest tourist attraction in the UK for nothing."

Mayor Cubbard and other members of the local authority presented the Duke and Duchess with a model Galway hooker at their first scheduled stop in Tribeton and spoke about the city's designation of European Capital of Culture as well as Prince William's beloved Aston Villa.

He said; "When they came in [to Tribeton] we spoke about Capital of Culture and he asked questions about that. I jokingly said to him about the gift of a Galway hooker boat, I said the sail of maroon was similar to that of the claret and blue of his Aston Villa so we laughed at that.

"[Catherine] was very interested that 25 per cent of Galway city was born outside of Ireland to which her response was 'that is probably why you have Capital of Culture and now you have to portray that'.

“The fact they came to Galway because it is the Capital of Culture shows to the one or two naysayers about that project that it is bringing business, bringing tourism, and is coming to fruition."

The mayor praised gardai and local authority workers whose efforts in the lead up to the visit resulted in minimal disruption to the city.

"There were concerns about traffic, and so on, but the guards played a blinder. They kept the city flowing. They deserve huge credit as well as Galway city council staff

“We have excellent staff in Galway City Council. Our outdoor staff in particular turned the city around and made it look presentable. A lot of work was done in the last couple of days.

"People often question how much these [types of visits] cost, but look, there is a small cost. Not to the local authority but national government covers that through the Department of Foreign Affairs, but what you get back in return, you cannot put a price on that.

"The sun shone down which was almost half the battle [for the day] and whether it be in Tribeton or Tig Cóilí or Salthill/Knocknacarra GAA club, everyone played their part and it showed Galway in one of the best lights it could have possibly shown. Overall it was a great day."

 

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