While there wasn’t much to shout about in the GAA field at the weekend, with disappointing performances from both the footballers and the hurlers, there will be plenty of shouting in Galway this week as the horses come out of the dip in Ballybrit during the 2013 Galway Races Summer Festival.
While other counties wind down for the summer and their people head away to relax and recoup, things really pick up the pace in Galway, where you would want to have the stamina of a purebred to be able to enjoy everything that the city has to offer.
No sooner are the schools out than we have the Galway Film Fleadh, which is followed in quick succession by Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races, the Galway Oyster Festivals…
This week alone, we bid a weary goodbye to the Galway Arts Festival, which packed a massive programming punch this year on top of the approximately €20 million that it is said to have brought the city’s way. The spectacle programme alone is said to have brought 20,000 people on to the streets on Saturday 20 July, while early indications show both overseas and domestic visitors to the festival have also increased.
But, just as we finished debating the closing scene of Mies Julie, our pulses have now been re-set to racing time, as we brace ourselves to say an enthusiastic hello to the Galway racing posse.
Kudos must go to race organisers, who in difficult times have managed to secure a sponsor for the 52 races that will take place over the course of the seven days.
Over 150,000 people are set to file through the turnstiles at Ballybrit this week for the 2013 festival, which is said to be worth in the region of €40 to €50 million to the city.
Of course the action doesn’t just take place down at the course and Galway businesses will be looking for any signs that the economic grey cloud is lifting or at least showing its silver underbelly for a week.
Switch pace, saddle up and enjoy the festivities and maybe take a moment to raise a toast to former RTÉ Racing Correspondent, Colm Murray, who passed away yesterday after a brave battle against Motor Neurone Disease.
Colm’s distinctive tones were as familiar to those attending the races every year as the touts shouting ‘Card or pen, racecard’ and the crowd will be a little lonelier now that he’s gone. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.