Volvo Ocean Race: U2 heads and Bono's brother visit Green Dragon in Alicante

Friday, 10 October 2008


The Green Dragon boat in the Volvo Ocean Race Village, Alicante had a surprise visit from Bono’s brother, Norman Hewson yesterday. Norman, an avid sailor had travelled from Dublin to support the Green Dragon team, joining him onboard were the “U2 heads”.

The “U2 heads” which were used during the U2 Zooropa world tour are part of Tourism Ireland’s promotion of Ireland during the Volvo Ocean Race. Tourism Ireland as a partner sponsor for the Green Dragon has planned a major international marketing programme, to fully capitalise on the tourism business potential emanating from the Galway stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race and will invest significantly in exploiting global TV and media interest in the event.

The nine month event attracts huge publicity around the world and is an ideal opportunity to showcase Galway, the West of Ireland, watersports in Ireland, and more generally the many attractions that the island of Ireland has to offer as a holiday destination.  The Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 drew a massive global television audience of 1.8 billion viewers and the organisers are confident that this audience will grow further in 2008-2009.

The race commences this Saturday 11 October and will sail to Capetown, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, Rio de Janeiro and Boston before arriving in Galway on 23 May for a two week festival.  The boats and their crew will have endured 8 months at sea and over 35,000 nautical miles in temperatures ranging from -5 to +50 degrees Celsius in a cramped carbon fibre boat. The sailors will have put themselves under the same level of mental and physical duress as a soldier on the front line of a war zone – at times 2,500 miles from the nearest landfall, contending with mountainous seas, 70 knot winds, and the constant pounding of the waves. 

Galway will be well prepared and waiting for their arrival, willing to offer a Céad Míle Fáilte to this major international sporting event. A three-acre village will be developed for the event which will be the biggest sporting event in Ireland since the Ryder Cup, with up to 140,000 visitors expected for the fleet arrival, in-port racing and two-week festival of culture and ‘craic’. It is estimated that it will generate €43 million for the local economy. Fáilte Ireland on behalf of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism are the principal sponsors of the Galway stopover and supported the bid for The Volvo Ocean Race to come to Galway.

Lucy Harwood

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Last Updated ( Friday, 10 October 2008 )