Galway is set for a major tourism boost after being confirmed as the venue for the finish of the next Volvo Round the World Ocean Race in 2012.
The announcement was made jointly by the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and the Chief Executive of the race organising committee, Knut Frosted, at a press conference in Dublin.
It took months of lobbying and campaigning, but Galway finally convinced the race organisers that it could stage a more spectacular finale to the 37,000 mile round the world race than any other port in Europe.
The city beat off stiff competition from Amsterdam and Stockholm. The deal that will see the race, which starts in Alicante in Spain, ending on Galway Bay was only hammered out inside the past 24 hours.
Frosted, a veteran round the world sailor, who now heads up the Volvo Committee, signed the contract documents at a ceremony attended by the Taoiseach.
Estimates of what it will be worth to Galway in tourism income vary between €60 and €80 million.
The Government is putting up €4 million towards the cost of hosting the event and a further €9 million has to be raised to fund Ireland's Green Dragon entry in the race.