The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) has been running every three years since 1973, and this year the Grand Finale is in Galway. It’s a great spectacle, the third-largest sporting event globally in 2012, and is estimated to attract some 2bn viewers and 800,000 visitors over its duration.
Galway was selected for the finale following a successful stopover in 2009, and the city will be including in its celebrations a nine-day free music and arts festival. Headliners including Maverick Sabre, Sharon Shannon with 42-piece Orchestra and The Stunning. Also performing will be Ryan Sheridan, the Hot 8 Brass Band, The Kanyu Tree, Túcan, The Deans, Stephen James & Band and The Amazing Apples.
The arrival of the race fleet marks the start of the festival, which runs from 30 June to 8 July, and is expected to attract over 700,000 people.
In amongst the activities is the ‘Trasna na dTonnta – Celebrating our Diaspora’ event that will include Trad on the Prom, a specially commissioned show to celebrate the Irish Diaspora. Mr. Kingsley Aikins, Founder and CEO Diaspora Matters, will also be presenting the Galway Chamber / Let’s Do It Global Award Trophy to Billy Lawless, recognised for his campaign to create better opportunities for Irish emigrants in the US.
And for those of you wondering, Trasna na dTonnta is the gaelic for ‘Over the Waves‘, an old traditional song about returning to Ireland. Hope you enjoy…
Over the waves, going west, going west!
Good-bye to loneliness and to the distant remoteness;
Bright is my heart and bright is the sun,
Happy to be returning to Ireland!
I saw my fill of countries abroad,
Gold and silver, the wealth of the world,
My heart rises in me with the break of each day,
As I draw closer to the land of my people!
On my journey – oh! my heart rises!
The weather is beautiful and the waves are settled
Steering directly to land of my bosom
And I’ll be in Ireland tomorrow!
People of the West, they’re the friends of my heart,
Welcome and celebration awaits me on every side.
Leaving this life I pray to the Lord
That it’s with them I’ll be stretched in the graveyard!