As I’m typing this on this Wednesday evening, with the sun squinting in through the blinds and the sky blue as far west across the city as I can see it, it is not difficult to be optimistic about the fate of Galway in this time of unprecedented doom and gloom.
Galway is blessed to have many opportunities throughout the year to place itself in the shop window, and if the opportunities are not there, the place and its people makes them. We found ourselves in the news last weekend for the protests at the Labour Party conference. Last evening there was the good news of 220 new jobs being created in the county, and next week the whole Galway season starts with a bang with the first of the major festivals to fill the streets with the weird and the wonderful, the famous and the hopefuls.
Yes, it is Cuirt time — That time of year when you could find yourself suppin’ your tay at a table next to a Nobel Prize winner or a scribbler of some renown. When you have to repress the urge to lean over and say “scuse me Mister Heaney, but a lot of dem lines in your pomes don’t rhyme.”
In recent years, Cuirt has found itself appealing to a broader spectrum of locals and this is the case again this year, with tickets already selling well for a variety of events, details of which you can find in our wonderful eight-page centre pullout at the heart of this newspaper.
It is a wonderful event that contributes enormously to the image of Galway as a cultural centre, of a place way out west where words, images, sounds, and songs are appreciated. And it is events like this that are persuading large companies like Mylan to commit their resources to investing in plants here in Galway, when they could go elsewhere, not only in Ireland, but in Europe.
And that is why we have to cultivate this image, we have to tend the crops, to make sure we hold on to this reputation and to ensure it gets known in as many far flung places as possible.
And in that regard, the story on our front page this week, will play its role. Whatever people may think about young Henry Wales, his presence in Galway will no doubt add to the column in inches in these islands once the Volvo Ocean Race sails into Galway Bay in early July.
So what role do we all have to play in this cultivation? We can all contribute through participating in our communities, by giving of our spare time to volunteer The Volvo Ocean Race has already launched its volunteer recruitment campaign and there are a variety of roles that need filling so that this mammoth event can be held with pride in Galway this summer.
If you go to the Volvo page on page 40 of this newspaper, you can get the details about how you can use existing skills or learn new skills, while also getting an invaluable background look into the management of a world-class event.
The festival season is upon us. We are fortunate to live in this wonderful place. Let us all do our bit to ensure it stays at the forefront of people’s imaginations when they close their eyes and conjure up the place they most want to be in Ireland.