The Drogheda Maritime Festival will return in June 2014. Drogheda Borough Council and Drogheda Port Company have confirmed that the festival will go ahead next year after a successful first staging in 2013 when thousands of spectators viewed and visited the Tall Ships in Drogheda as well as enjoying a weekend of maritime-themed fun.
The intentions are that the Festival in June 2014 will become a flagship event for the town, attracting not only local people but creating a major tourism boost in Drogheda, highlighting the town's maritime culture and tradition.
In May of this year Drogheda Port Company opened its gates to the public for the first time as the Tall Ships made their way in full sail up along the Boyne into Drogheda Port. Spectators gathered not only along the Port but also at vantage points along the river, from Baltray to Mornington.
Current plans for the Drogheda Maritime Festival 2014 include the arrival of a range of tall ships, traditional gaffers and something very special indeed to be announced at a later date, in addition to a whole range of maritime quayside activities.
Speaking on the confirmation of the Drogheda Maritime Festival for 2014, Mayor Richie Culhane said "I am absolutely thrilled that there will be a Drogheda Maritime Festival next year. The arrival of the Tall Ships into Drogheda last May was a tremendous sight to behold.
"There was a fantastic atmosphere and thousands of people descended on the Port to take a look around the Ships while a number of our younger Drogheda citizens had the invaluable opportunity to travel over on a training ship. The Journey was an extremely eventful one and they all arrived back in to Port with a fantastic experience under their belts and an adventure to remember for the rest of their lives. Hopefully this is an experience that more of our young people can experience in the lead-up to next year's Festival."
Mary T Daly, Senior Executive Officer, Drogheda Borough Council, confirmed that the local authority will be lending major support to the Festival.
"The Maritime Festival and visit of the Tall Ships earlier this year was organised at very short notice but even so was a tremendous success and we in Drogheda Borough Council all saw the value in making such an event a primary feature in the town calendar.
"We have been working hard with our partners at Drogheda Port Company and are now in the process of booking five Tall Ships to arrive in Drogheda from June 13-15, 2014."
Nessa Lally, Corporate Administrator, Drogheda Port Company also expressed her delight at the return of the Drogheda Maritime Festival.
"It's a very busy working Port here in Drogheda so it was something completely different for us earlier this year to open up the Port and welcome the Tall Ships and be a part of the first Maritime
Festival in Drogheda.
"It was a relatively last minute event and was a very steep learning curve as we worked along with Drogheda Borough Council to make the Port safely accessible to the public but, without a doubt it was well worth it, and that's why we are more than happy to be involved with a bigger and better Drogheda Maritime Festival in June 2014."
"We are happy to announce that once again there will be a bursary programme in place supported by Drogheda Port, Sail Training Ireland and local industry to provide an opportunity for the young people of the area to sail on a tall ship from the UK to Drogheda. Details on this will be circulated at a later date. There will also be an opportunity to the public to avail of these unique voyages."
With the aim of making the Drogheda Maritime Festival the best possible event, with huge potential for the town , Drogheda Borough Council will be going to tender in the coming week for Event Management Services for the Drogheda Maritime Festival.