Tall ships festival a sea of delight

WATERFORD was a sea of colour yesterday as crowds arrived in large numbers into the oldest city in the country for one of the biggest outdoor festivals in the land.

A communal mosaic production, a dizzying array of foods and the city’s own international illusionist and mentalist predicting where Enda might be going on his summer holidays set the ball rolling.

Legendary crooner — it’s safe to call him that now — Bryan Ferry — held more than 12,000 people in the palm of his charming hand at the Bolton St car park for the close of day one of the Tall Ships Races 2011 festival.

And oh, of course there were also some tall ships.

Revellers on the quay soon began mingling with the boat crews. Columbian sailors from tall ship, Gloria, had little English but loads of obvious charm as they got to know the natives.

On the William Vincent Wallace Plaza opposite, 250 adults and children from Festival Choir 2011 practised Come the Sails.

“There’s very little needlework taught in schools nowadays — it’s an awful pity,” said the woman who was heavily engaged in patchworking at the Irish Craft Village in Greyfriars. She explained, however, that patchwork “is coming back”.

Shortly after 3pm, Wild Swan and then Pogonia sailed past as the crowds waited for Taoiseach Enda Kenny, local councillors, as well as Dáil deputies, Paudie Coffey, Ciara Conway, John Halligan, Senator Maurice Cummins and MEP Sean Kelly.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee was also present.

Mr Kenny said Waterford, particularly with the new Viking Triangle developments in the city, is “re-discovering its own history at present”. The presence of the tall ships in the city celebrated that history, he said.

“The Tall Ships races are a celebration of international friendship and they provide participants with a wonderful opportunity not only to learn much about themselves but also the real value of teamwork.”

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