Sunday, 26 August 2012

Some Boat Thing (part 1)

There is some kind of boat event going on in Dublin.  All I know is that for the last four days my normally one hour bus ride into work now takes two hours and traffic in Dublin is absolutely snarled.  The Garda closed off the Quay (pronounced like key) for a kilometer on both sides, all the way to the port.  There are Tall Ships parked on the Liffey, giving people a glimpse of what Dublin might have looked like 100 years ago.

The newspaper said 1,000,000 people are expected to come out to the event.  Seriously.  That's around one quarter of the Irish population.  It certainly felt like it today.  There was literally a sea of people.

The boats were quite colorful, and all in excellent shape.  However I am still confused by what the event was all about?  The official title was the Tall Ship Races.  There wasn't any "race" going on.  The boats were just parked there.

I appreciate all the work that went into preparing the ships.  It is obvious that their crews made a big effort to make the boats look great.  The crews were in their best uniforms and the boats were decorated with festive rigging.

However as an event, there wasn't much going on.  Literally a million people came out and nothing happened.  It was the polar opposite of an Air Show.  At an Air Show, the audience stands in one place and the announcer lets you know what's going on.  They'll say "Here comes the Blue Angels, get your cameras ready..."

At this event, thousands of people milled around, and there was little event coordination.  Nobody spoke to the audience to say "Here comes the Lord Nelson," or, "Now we shall sing On the Good Ship Lollipop."

The only announcement made to the croud was, "When you're leaving the event, please do not walk on the Luas tracks."  (Dubliners are such notorious jay-walkers that they have to be reminded with a Tannoy not to walk in front of trains.)  Obviously, the Garda was present, maintaining some sense of order.

It was cool to see the Irish Defense Force ships too.  This is the LÉ Emer, an offshore patrol vessel.

So, thanks to all the crews and officers who presented such fantastic ships to the public.  It was great to see all the different vessels and the smart looking folks in uniform.  I just wish the "Tall Ship Race" presenters, the news media and the City of Dublin would have done more to explain the event.  It looked mostly like an excuse to sell hot dogs.

So, if you're ever tempted to go see the Tall Ships, just be warned.  The event will be:
  • overcrowded
  • confusing
  • uncoordinated
  • a traffic snarl
But the ships were pretty cool.

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