Welcome to the world

So at long last, ye’re here. We’ve been expecting ye. Tis great to see ye. In fact, with the economy the way it is, ‘tis great to see anyone. C’mon on in, pull up a chair, get a drink for yerself and sit down and relax. You’re in Galway. Now, not being from around these parts, ye may not know what that entails, so I’ll tell ye. It means ye can chill out, cool the jets and relax in the coolest place in Ireland.

Because you’ve just come to the venue of what will be the country’s biggest party and here we are disguising it as a leg of the world’s greatest sailing event. Yes, of course from time to time over the next two weeks, as we go from party to party and from concert to restaurant and from corporate tent to corporate tent, stumbling along avoiding all these new flower pots and landscape features that have popped op over the city in the past few days, we will have to allude to the fact that there is indeed a big boat race going on, but for the main part, let’s assume that there’s no need to worry about the yachtsmen at all. They’ve left Boston. Salma Hayek saw them off, so those memories should keep them going for a bit. As I write, they’re mid-ocean with more technology than a villain would have at the end of a Bond movie, so they’re grand. They’ll be here at some stage of the weekend, and they’ve no need to worry, we’ll leave some food and drink out for them. We’ll put a plate of sandwiches in the fridge for them. In fact, let’s start the party without them.

Sure we’ll know they’re arriving ‘cos we’ll get the smell of burning in the air. As you may not know, two years after bonfires being banned in this country, everyone on the coast has been asked to light a big bonfire to guide in the heroes as they come over the horizon.

Now of course, we all know that is a carte blanche for everyone to take their rubbish down to the beach and set it alight in the name of national pride. And of course every gurrier who steals a car at the weekend and torches it on their local football pitch will be able to plead to the court in two month’s time that “I was only welcoming in the green wagon, sorry dragon, yer honour.”

You probably know by now that we’re delighted to be hosting this event and we’re going to make sure that this is the best stopover on the entire race. Of that we have no doubt. There is no other venue in Ireland that would have created the programme that Let’s Do It Galway have compiled. And for that they have to be commended.

This is because we’re a very chilled out city, with no appetite for pretentiousness. You could see a Hollywood star sitting on a stool supping a pint in Neachtains and whereas in any other city he’d be swamped by autograph hunters, not here in Galway. Here, he is more likely to be tapped on the shoulder and told “Mr Depp, you were pure shite in that last blockbuster ya made and what are ya thinking making scutter like that when there are so many good booooooks and plays that would make great fillums.”

Thanks for coming here for this event. Enjoy yourselves in our shops and taverns, stroll safely through our streets, enjoy the Galway rain as it falls “splish splashing, down the Street in the Galway fashion.” Stick your hands in your pocket and amble through our lanes, listen to the sounds and inhale the smells of our city, this unique place on a rock on the most westerly part of northern Europe. This place that we call home and that countless others call a little bit of heaven.

Most of all, get a sense of the Galway experience. It’s contagious. Oh, and don’t forget about those boats. Sometime at the weekend. Seven of them. Ya can’t miss them. Ya can’t.

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