Galway presents new vision for port, says it could be a milestone for Americas Cup
Galway Port Captain Brian Sheridan said Galway could become a staging post for America’s Cup sailing in the future.
The harbor master commented as the harbor set out its vision for a new “urban district” with a dedicated cultural space, a “redeveloped” interior basin and high rise residential development on the waterfront.
The “vision” unveiled by the port yesterday involves the development of approximately seven hectares (17 acres) of inland docks for residential, commercial and recreational purposes.
A substantial part depends on Galway’s approval for its long-planned port extension.
However, some 33 percent of the area could be developed for residential purposes before the port is relocated, its managing director Conor O’Dowd said.
About 2,000 residents in total could be accommodated at Galway’s inland docks, O’Dowd said.
Most of the buildings proposed in the “vision” would be around six stories high, but that would be subject to public consultation, he said.
The wharf in the Galway Dockyard has been set aside for a cultural facility, and the port is “very open” to public proposals on it, O’Dowd said.
Some 22,300 square meters (5.5 acres) would be set aside to develop new public spaces for the city and reuse the inner dock basin for marine recreation, he said.
The proposed public facilities include the development of “intercity walking and cycling paths, multi-purpose cultural and event spaces, recreational water sports facilities and a completely redesigned street network” that turns “towards the sea”, a- he declared.
Captain Sheridan said the port hosted the first Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Ireland in 2009 and the race finish in 2012.
It has also hosted three National Sea Festivals in Galway and is on its way to race around Britain and Ireland in May 2022.
“I think we are well capable of hosting the America’s Cup on the road,” he said.
Known as the oldest international competition still held in any sport, the America’s Cup involves match races between the yacht club that currently holds the trophy and a club that is a challenger.
Any club that meets the specific requirements of the competition – held for over a century on the east coast of the United States before moving to Fremantle, Australia in 1987 and the following sites – has the right to challenge the yacht club that currently holds the cup.
The America’s Cup is currently hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which successfully defended their title in Auckland in March 2021.
“These modern super yachts require very little water depth and Galway Bay is a natural amphitheater for such events,” said Capt Sheridan.
“We had dreams of an expansion of the port many years ago, and now we are extremely close,” he said.
“When Volvo’s offshore races were held here in 2009 and 2012, we were the smallest port in the world on their route – and yet in 2009 Galway was considered the most successful stopover in its 39 years. history, ”he said.
O’Dowd said the port’s planning request for a new deep-water port – which was the subject of a hearing at Bord Pleanála in 2015 – is at “advanced stages”.
The plan is to reclaim some 24 hectares in the Inner Bay, and the port says a significant “hurdle” has been overcome with the recent approval of its proposal to provide compensatory land for lost habitat.
The port has requested a rarely used derogation from the EU Habitats Directive – the ‘Compelling Reasons of Overcoming Public Interest’ (IROPI) clause – and this has now been approved by the EU and referred to the Minister of Housing and Housing. Local communities.
If approved, the port company expects a completion date for the deepwater extension of 2032.