Monday, July 4, 2011

The Monday After the Tallships

What a great day today is. Today, the people of Waterford - from the event organisers to those of us who put up someone on their sofa - can take a huge pat on the back. As long as I have lived in Waterford, I have never witnessed anything the likes of the weekend that we have just delivered! I have never seen a team - a huge team - work so hard and so well; never seen the city look better; never seen the people as happy and relaxed; in short Waterford was heaving, buzzing, welcoming - and all the while bathed in glorious sunshine. Take a bow, one and all.

I'm sure there were issues. I know people had to adjust but not one thing stopped the incredible Tallships event which we had dreamed about for so long and prepared for for so long and waited for, for so long. It was incredible, amazing, spectacular. Waterford sparkled.

I felt so proud as I walked the Quays, right up to early on the last morning as I went into the city to watch the beautiful tallships leave go their mooring lines and head silently and majestically down the mighty Suir. The streets - even at that hour (6.45am) were clean! After a day on Saturday which had seen up to 200,000 people make their way comfortably and safely around our city. It was perfect!

I hope you enjoyed the Tallships Festival. After all, it was for you. I hope the 200 young people currently sailing up the East Coast of Ireland have the experience of their lives. I hope that the Tallships will be back before too long again. But mostly I hope that the people of Waterford are as proud and happy as I feel today. I suppose because of the position I was in, I had the privilege of seeing at close hand just some of the preparation and planning and sheer hard work that went in to making the whole event run so smoothly. I know how much stress people were under. And the potential for it all to go horribly wrong. But, thanks to the planning and the work and the attention to detail it has all paid off handsomely.

I am quite sure that people will be back. I am quite sure that visitors had a unique experience. I am very confident that visitors saw us at our very best.

But for now, it's probably just enough to say well done. Thank you to every one who worked, volunteered, planned, visited, hosted, walked, enjoyed and took part in what was a signal event for our city. We suspected and hoped and prayed that we could do it - and by God we did it. We surely did it. This week - kick back, relax, reflect and rest. You did good people....really really good: thank you.