Winners of & Volvo Ocean Race Festival Photo Competition Announced

The Western Development Commission (WDC) and Let’s Do It Galway have announced the winners of the & Volvo Ocean Race Festival Photo Competition.

Ger Conrans Winning Photo

Ger Conran's Winning Photo

They have also announced that an exhibition of the best 100 photos will take place from Friday 21st August to Sunday 23rd August at Merchant’s Hall, 1 Merchant’s Road, Galway. Admission is free and the exhibition is open to the public from 10.00am to 6.00pm each day.

The overall winner is Ger Conran for his photograph of the entire Volvo Ocean Race fleet sailing on Galway Bay during the in-port racing over the weekend of May 30th and 31st. Second place went to Adi Tig, and third place to Ekaterina Petrova for their photographs which captured the fun and entertainment that took place during the festival.

The prizes, digital cameras, were presented by Mr Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs at a prize-giving ceremony in Galway.

Minister Ó Cuív said, “The Western Development Commission is keen to promote the creative sector in this part of the country, not just because of the inherent importance of the arts in our nation’s psyche and identity, but because it also has the potential to contribute to the sustainable long-term development of this predominantly rural region. Simply put, it makes economic sense to support creativity”.

Lisa McAllister WDC Chief Executive said, “The WDC was delighted to support the Galway Stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race by sponsoring the photo competition as this was a natural fit with our work to position the Western Region as Ireland’s hub for the creative industries. The photo competition and the Creative West Galway Art Trail, which took place in over 20 galleries around Galway during the festival, demonstrate the natural creativity of the Western Region.

Ms. McAllister added, “When international comparisons are factored in the Western Region has the potential to create at least an extra 2,000 jobs in the creative sector. The creative sector refers to those businesses which rely most on human creativity to generate economic value, ranging from TV production, music and theatre to architecture, graphic design and digital media. They are a significant economic contributor to the Western Region and the WDC believes that the sector can be grown considerably, even in these difficult economic times.”

Ms. McAllister said that the Western Region is perfectly positioned for further expansion within the creative sector as the region, by virtue of its natural beauty and quality of life, has long inspired a culture of creativity. She added that the region can continue to attract creative people from all over the world who, from their home in the West, can feed the increasing world appetite for design, music, film, digital media and the arts, and make an important contribution to the region’s economy in the process.

Chairman of Let’s Do It Galway, John Killeen said, “We were delighted that the WDC came on board for the Photo Competition and the Creative West – Galway Art Trail and I’d like to thank them for generating such huge interest in the competition. The stopover was a fantastic success, and partnerships, like the one with the WDC, were an important contributor to the successful staging of Ireland’s largest sporting event. The photographs are a fantastic legacy of the Volvo Ocean Race Festival which saw 650,000 people visit the race village and Salthill during the two weeks.”

From an entry of over 17,000, a short list of 100 photos was drawn up. Marine Sports Photographer, David Branigan then had the difficult task of picking the winner and two runners-up. David selected pictures “to reflect the themes of the Volvo Ocean Race visit to Galway and how this unique event interacted with the city, its people and visitors.”

He added, “The Volvo Ocean Race is referred to as ‘life at the extreme’ where seven boats and their crews battle man and nature for ten months over a course that is more than 37,000 miles long.”

In choosing Ger Conran’s winning photograph of the entire fleet sailing on Galway Bay, David Branigan said that it was an excellent example of good composition and being in the right place at the right time for a sports shot. The picture also shows Ireland’s Green Dragon on the right making a bold move by ducking behind the other boats to win a clean start of the In-Port Race off Salthill.

Second place went to Adi Tig for his photograph of a street performer at the Race Village and Ekaterina Petrova, originally from Russia and now living in Limerick, was chosen for third place for her photo of dancers performing a Brazilian dance. David chose these photos because they are “typical of the fun and entertainment that took place during the festival.”

Marcus Mac Innes, Founder and CEO of said, “The Volvo Ocean Race really captured the imagination of not only the people of Galway, but all those who attended the festival from around Ireland. We didn’t expect anything like the response we achieved and with over 17,000 photos submitted it broke the previous Pixie record by a long way. All the photos remain available to view at and have already been seen by nearly a quarter of a million people from over 180 countries around the world making it one of the most visited showcases of Ireland this year.”

Lisa McAllister concluded by thanking people for entering the photo competition and said that the 17,000 plus entries will help communicate the message of what the West of Ireland can achieve, and the many benefits of locating here, to a worldwide audience.


For further information please contact:

Lisa McAllister, WDC, 086 771 9969
or Joanne Grehan, WDC, 086 856 5802
or Angela Bane, Bane Mullarkey, 087 286 5217