Tourism bosses are confident next week's royal visit to Galway will lead to a surge in the number of visitors from the UK. Views of the city and county will be beamed across the world due to the presence of Prince Charles and Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday. The world's media, which avidly follows members of the royal family to every destination, will undoubtedly ensure the city and county gets a well deserved share of the spotlight.
The couple will first attend a reception at NUI Galway which will celebrate Irish crafts, dancing, and music, as well as Galway’s and the university’s links to the UK.
A large security operation is in place and a heavy Garda presence will be on duty at all locations being visited by the couple. Following on from the NUIG visit, Prince Charles will then visit the Marine Institute in Rinville before continuing onto the Burren. The Duchess of Cornwall will undertake a series of solo engagements in the city including a visit to Claddagh National School, before rejoining Prince Charles for a private dinner with President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.
Fáilte Ireland's Fiona Monaghan, who is head of the Wild Atlantic Way, is confident there will be a huge spin-off effect from the four day Irish tour which begins with the Galway leg on Tuesday. She acknowledged the type of exposure Galway will get next week is priceless. "It is a really positive endorsement of the west. This coverage could never be bought. There will be huge coverage in the UK and also in Commonwealth countries. It will really raise awareness of the area, in the UK and indeed globally. It is brilliant that Galway is such a big part of the itenerary. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are really getting a flavour of the Wild Atlantic Way by going to the Burren and Sligo aswell."
Ms Monaghan says there is evidence to suggest that trips to Cork and The Rock of Cashel significantly increased in the wake of the Queen's highly successful State visit in 2011. "The timing of this trip could not be better. All things royal are very popular at the moment due to the new baby. The fact the visit is in May means it comes at a perfect time for people booking summer and autumn breaks. The exchange rate between sterling and THE euro has meant there has been an increase in visitors from the UK in the past 12 months and this royal trip will certainly add to that."
A large security detail is involved in policing the visit but Sergeant Peadar Ryan of Galway Garda Station declined to detail the exact numbers of gardai involved.
Sergeant Ryan said there would be some traffic restrictions on Tuesday and these would be flagged up in advance. Attempts will be made to keep disruption to the public minimal. He appealed to people to use a bit of common sense on the day. "If you are rushing into town and you know they are going to be visiting a place on your route, give yourself plenty time or consider an alternative route."
Sergeant Ryan said he was very glad the royal couple had chosen Galway as part of their itnerary. "It is a great thing for Galway and the west of Ireland. However we have a job of work to do and our main concern is the trip goes off smoothly and we showcase Galway in a positive light to the rest of the world.''