Saturday 20 January 2018

Skywhale takes to the clouds and thrills at Galway Arts Festival

Photo: Twitter @KathyRossArt
Photo: Twitter @KathyRossArt
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

She has attracted crowds of thousands and been dubbed the darling of the Galway International Arts Festival. And now the Skywhale has fallen in love with the city.

The 100ft long 70ft tall flying aquatic mammal had been due to end it’s Galway visit on Sunday but after huge interest from crowds it has extended its European debut to the middle of this week.

“She’s going to stay for a few more days and we’re hopeful the weather will improve. The conditions to fly are quite specific and she only got to fly twice last week. But when she took off from the swamp there were thousands there to watch her,” said John Crumlish, chief executive of the festival 

With the first week of the international festival completed, numbers are well on target to exceed last year’s crowds by 10pc with hotels around the city at full capacity according to organisers.

Mr Crumlish, said sales had been significantly up all week.

“It is easily the busiest festival to date. At the moment sales are up 10pc on last year and theatre shows are doing particularly well. There were queues to get into the galleries, I’ve never seen that before.

“We had 180,000 last year and we’re well on target to increase that by 10pc if this continues,” he said.

Mr Crumlish said the crowds were surging into the city filling up all accommodation.

“You can’t get a hotel in Galway, it’s all full. We’re getting calls every day from people looking for accommodation. They are moving out of Galway to find somewhere to stay, everywhere is packed,” he added.

He also revealed how the miserable weather of last week did not deter the fans. On Saturday evening the trapeze act Man on the Moon was prevented from completing the act on the Spanish Arch due to weather.

“We simply upped sticks to the Big Top and 1,000 people came with us, all of us just walking down the street. It was fantastic,” he added.

A number of shows are all but sold out for the coming week but eager audiences are being urged to check at

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