I’m just back from a weekend watching the finishing leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway. The city was thronged with thousands of people, the place was buzzing all weekend and the rain held off for the most part, allowing sailors and visitors alike to let their hair down in what was probably the biggest party of the year in the sporting calendar.
Accommodation was scarce – back in April I’d tried all the hotels which were all booked up with sailing crews but luckily a friend recommended a great little B&B called Heathlawn on Fr. Griffin Road, a stone’s throw away from Spanish Arch and more importantly, within walking distance of the docks, where all the action was.
The Friday festivities kicked off with a fashion show, presented by Victoria Smurfit, celebrating the best from designers based in six of the ten countries involved in the Volvo ocean race. A Thai bite in Tamarind followed and then it was on to the Roisin Dubh pub, where they’d blocked off the street for a street party and silent disco which saw people rocking on ‘til 2am.
On Saturday, I headed for a quick perk me up curly blow dry at Barry’s Hair Studio on Shop Street before catching up with friends on Quay Street and then it was down to the docks to greet the yachts returning from a day’s sailing before a prize giving ceremony for the sailing teams that’d spent the past eight months sailing around the world battling for pole position.
Team Grupama scooped the top prize while Camper (the boat sailed by a crew from New Zealand and sponsored by the Spanish shoe brand – pictured main image) was second. Sharon Shannon played to thousands during the outdoor closing concert before the crowds moved back into the city’s streets to enjoy Galway’s renowned nightlife.
There was one last pit stop on the way back to Dublin – a diversion to Dubarry in Ballinasloe – to check out the home of the sailing boots and boat shoes worn by the world’s top sailors. Dubarry factory outlet (open every day 11am ‘til 6pm) has seriously reduced boots, shoes and clothing on sale. Their Clare knee-high riding boots, which are currently selling for €350 in Brown Thomas and featured on the catwalk at Friday’s fashion show, were on sale at the outlet for €225, having been used once for a photo shoot. If that was not a sign to buy them, then I don’t know what is!
Photo of Victoria Smurfit: Darach Photography
Other photos taken on WhatSheWear’s InstagramTweet