Massive container ship due with Volvo 'pop-up village'June 19, 2012 - 7:00am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
A massive cargo ship is due into Galway Harbour this evening containing all of the components needed to assemble a village capable of hosting thousands of visitors during the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) from June 30 to July 8 next.
The high tech ‘pop up’ village, one of two which have travelled across the world ahead of the eight competing boats, has been packed into 70 crates which will be assembled on both sides of the River Corrib before the festival commences on Friday week.
An estimated 150 people will work on constructing the Global Village in South Park, which will be linked to the Spanish Arch by a temporary foot bridge, in addition to the Race Village and live music arena at the docklands site.
An additional 80 volunteers will work to transform the areas on both sides of the river to accommodate thousands of visitors during the nine day grand finale.
Voluntary work alone is now estimated to be worth over €5 million to VOR festival organisers Let’s Do It Global, who have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from groups and individuals in the city during harsh economic times.
A huge stage was yesterday being dismantled at Croke Park – where it was used for the Eucharistic Congress – before being transferred to Galway to host free concerts by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Sharon Shannon, The Saw Doctors, The Stunning, and The Family Stone at the site occupied by oil tankers prior to the 2009 stopover.
Workmen have already assembled the tented Global Arena, capable of accommodating up to 2,500 people, which will act as the main conference centre and events venue throughout the nine days of the VOR festival.
Workmen are also putting the foundations in place for a temporary footbridge which will allow pedestrian access to the Claddagh from the Fishmarket Square area.
“We are starting to build the Global Village now and people will see that it will be in place at South Park by the end of next week,” said John Killeen of Let’s Do It Global yesterday.
“All of the equipment required will be arriving in the container ship in the early hours. It’s the first big container ship to arrive in Galway in quite a while!”
Mr Killeen said he was “overwhelmed” by the support the VOR has received from communities and individuals across the city. The 2012 grand finale will be unrecognisable in scale from the 2009 stopover, with events scheduled to take place in areas such as Dominick Street, Woodquay, Eyre Square and Salthill this time around.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.