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Displaying items by tag: Ocean to City Race

Cork Harbour's Ocean to City race is taking entries from February 15th for its 19th annual event on June 3rd.

Over 500 people participated in last year’s event, which returned after a two-year break due to Covid-19.

The all-inclusive rowing event welcomes traditional wooden working boats, gigs, skiffs, sloops, lifeboats, longboats, cutters and currachs, to kayaks, canoes, ocean sliding-seat boats and stand-up paddle boards.

Ocean to City has four-course distances to choose from, 2nm, 7nm, 12nm and 15nm - all finishing to “a jubilant welcome in Cork’s city centre”, the organisers state.

The race or row is an integral part of Cork Harbour Festival, which takes place from June 2nd to 11th with over 50 events in 15 locations across Cork city and harbour.

The ten-day “celebration of maritime culture” promises a programme of on-the-water activities, history, music, art, workshops, talks and walking tours and family events.

Early bird deals and ferry discounts will be available for registering from February 15th.

Full details here

Published in Cork Harbour

An Rás Mór, Cork harbour’s Ocean to City race, returns to the water this June after a break of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Registration will open on March 1st for the multi-craft rowing and paddling race set for June 4th, 2022.

Now in its 18th year, the all-inclusive rowing event welcomes traditional wooden working boats, gigs, skiffs, sloops, lifeboats, longboats, cutters and currachs, kayaks, canoes, ocean sliding-seat boats and stand-up paddleboards.

The last ”in-person” event attracted 600 participants in over 200 craft, a third of which came from abroad, the organisers state. The virtual events over the past two years involved over a dozen countries across four continents, they state.

Billed as Ireland's largest long-distance rowing and paddling race, Ocean to City has four-course distances to choose from across the 28 km course - as in two, seven, 12 and 15 nautical miles, all finishing in Cork city centre.

Budding participants are advised to check the terms and conditions of travel and accommodation arrangements.

This is “just in case Covid forces us to change tack”, the organisers state.

A “spot the boat” brochure has been published, and early bird deals are available. More details of this and registration are on the website here

Published in Cork Harbour

Cork Harbour Festival and the Ocean to City Race have taken the decision to cancel this year’s events. The festival was due to take place 15 May – 8 June, with the flagship Ocean to City – An Rás Mór on 6 June.

The aim is to reschedule the Cork Harbour Festival and Ocean to City next year, in partnership with SeaFest 2021.

It is worth noting organisers were preparing for the biggest Cork Harbour Festival and Ocean to City to date, with a record number of events as well as early bird race entries.

Next year’s Cork Harbour Festival will take place 5 – 13 June 2021, with the Flagship Ocean to City on 5 June, and we look forward to welcoming you back then.

Cork Harbour Festival is sure to make a big splash this June Bank Holiday Weekend.

And the festivities are only beginning on Saturday 1 June, with nine days celebrating all things maritime taking over Leeside and Cork Harbour — for those with their sea legs and landlubbers (or land lovers) alike.

The showcase event that draws huge crowds every year is Ocean to City – An Rás Mór.

The race is the largest of its kind in Ireland and attracts competitors from all over Europe and as far as the USA.

The 200-strong fleet will give spectators a chance to see an array of vessels from traditional wooden boats, currachs and gigs to Chinese dragon boats, kayaks and even stand-up paddleboards.

The race starts in Crosshaven at 10.30am on Saturday and there will be free family entertainment, music and food at some of the best viewing points along the race route at Cobh, Passage West, Blackrock Pier and the city centre.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can cycle alongside the fleet for part of the racecourse from Father O’Flynn Park in Passage West.

Or you can get caught in the rhythm at the Port of Cork with a 14ft drum for all to play – no experience of drumming necessary.

Take your place at the finish line at Lapp’s Quay with live race commentary from Cork’s 96FM and food stalls, street performances, balloon artists, DJs, drummers and much more to keep you entertained while you welcome the participants as they complete this spectacular race.

If you prefer to stay on dry land, you’ve so much to choose from – with Camden Fort, Elizabeth Fort and Spike Island all open for tours every day of the Bank Holiday weekend.

As the sun sets there will be some very special performances happening including the Johnny Cash Tribute on Spike Island on Saturday evening, and a swashbuckling concert performance of The Pirates of Penzance on Sunday at Cork Opera House.

Most of the festival events are family friendly, making this the ideal way to have some great waterside adventures with the kids (and the young at heart!)

There’s everything from children’s storytelling in Passage West Library to Cobh Harbour tours.

Bring your trainee pirates to the Circus Factory on Saturday for some pirate circus training, or get the whole family team working together for orienteering on Sunday and Monday with Bishopstown Orienteering Club.

Join the ‘3 For the Sea’ Beach Day in Myrtleville on Sunday, or being bidding artists to the Crawford Art Gallery on Monday for a family-friendly art workshop and tour.

But no Cork Harbour Festival would be complete without a chance to get out on the water.

SailCork in East Ferry have an open day on Bank Holiday Monday, and you can try sailing at the world-famous Royal Cork Yacht Club with free tasters on Sunday.

With a weekend packed full of water-based activities, you can brave a high-speed harbour tour, paddle, kayak, sail, surf or SUP your way through the weekend.

Get all the details of the full festival programme with over 70 events on

Published in Maritime Festivals

#OceantoCity – The winner of this year's 10th Ocean to City Rowing Race 'An Rás Mór' went to the brand new Dalkey community built currach Naomh Beagnait which was only launched at the start of June, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Naomh Beagnait (see photo) was competing in the event which attracted 500 rowers amongst some 120 craft including overseas entries in a celebration of Cork's maritime heritage.

The Dublin Bay based currach was constructed in Dalkey over the month of May and is based on the racing currach design from Inishbofin Island.

"To each person who sawed, sanded, steamed, donated money, encouraged, baked cakes, publicised, wrote articles, followed us on facebook, blessed the boat, you were a winner on Saturday in Cork" said Liz Murray who had the vision behind the Begnet's Boat Project.

She added "especially thanks to Dalkey Rowing Club who came to our rescue only a fortnight before Mark Redden who led the boat-building trainee team which used their boatshed. A true community effort by all involved".

Redden who is based in Barcelona and his Catalan rowers led the 7m (22ft) currach to victory with the 1st Ocean Race but also taking honours in the 1st Currach Ocean category representing Base Náutica de Barcelona (Repararems).

Naomh Beagnait will take centre-stage next Saturday (15 June) at The Inaugural Dublin Currach Regatta (2.30pm - 7pm) at the East Wall Water Sports Group in Clontarf and where the free event is sponsored by the Dublin Port Company.

Take in the sights and sounds of this most traditional of boating events at the Tolka Estuary, off the Alfie Byrne Road. Presentations will take place in the Poolbeg Boat and Yacht Club, Pigeon House Road, Ringsend on the south side of the Liffey.

Currach racing at National League Level are to be held on the previous day, Friday (14 June) for details visit this link.


Published in Maritime Festivals

#OceantoCity – Today's Ocean to City Race 'An Rás Mór' involving 122 entries can be viewed live on the big screen along Cork's Lapp's Quay thanks to Cork City Council.

The live-stream is also available from starting from 12 noon onwards so tell your family and friends!

The 28km rowing race which first began in 2005 is the highlight of the 10-day Ocean to City Maritime Festival that celebrates Cork's unique maritime heritage and attracts entries from all over the world.

The course begins at Crosshaven and crosses Cork Harbour via Cobh, Monkstown, Passage and Blackrock before reaching the finish line at Lapp's Quay.

An expected 500 Irish and international rowers will compete in a diverse range of vessels including currachs, Irish coastal rowing boats, Bantry longboats, kayaks, Cornish pilot gigs and Chinese dragon boats.

Among the participating currachs is the brand new Dalkey built Naomh Beagnait which as previously reported on was a community led project which saw the 22ft craft make her maiden voyage only last weekend.


Published in Maritime Festivals

#MaritimeMovies - As part of the Ocean to City Festival (1-10 June), this Thursday there is a Maritime Movie Night starting at 19:30 in Cork's Half Moon Theatre.

The theme of the cinematic evening is oceanic adventures and stories from the sea. So sit back, have a drink, and watch the old classic Moby Dick (1956) as well as a series of archive shorts. Swap tales of seafaring and get inspired by the weird and wonderful world of maritime filmmaking.

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) is proud to work with Ocean to City to present a specially tailored programme of oceanic delights from the institute's national film archive, including: animated films, documentaries and newsreels dating from the 40s to 70s which celebrate man, the sea, and other bodies of water.

Among them there is a fascinating selection made in and around Cork.  B & I - Motorway to Ireland (1968), Baid Solais - Light Ships (1957), 2000 Miles of Peril (1974), Blackwater Holiday (1963) and Moby Dick (1956)

An entry of €8 (available on the door) and pre-sales are also available from the Cork Opera House.

Published in Coastal Notes

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - FAQS

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are geographically defined maritime areas where human activities are managed to protect important natural or cultural resources. In addition to conserving marine species and habitats, MPAs can support maritime economic activity and reduce the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.

MPAs can be found across a range of marine habitats, from the open ocean to coastal areas, intertidal zones, bays and estuaries. Marine protected areas are defined areas where human activities are managed to protect important natural or cultural resources.

The world's first MPA is said to have been the Fort Jefferson National Monument in Florida, North America, which covered 18,850 hectares of sea and 35 hectares of coastal land. This location was designated in 1935, but the main drive for MPAs came much later. The current global movement can be traced to the first World Congress on National Parks in 1962, and initiation in 1976 of a process to deliver exclusive rights to sovereign states over waters up to 200 nautical miles out then began to provide new focus

The Rio ‘Earth Summit’ on climate change in 1992 saw a global MPA area target of 10% by the 2010 deadline. When this was not met, an “Aichi target 11” was set requiring 10% coverage by 2020. There has been repeated efforts since then to tighten up MPA requirements.

Marae Moana is a multiple-use marine protected area created on July 13th 2017 by the government of the Cook islands in the south Pacific, north- east of New Zealand. The area extends across over 1.9 million square kilometres. However, In September 2019, Jacqueline Evans, a prominent marine biologist and Goldman environmental award winner who was openly critical of the government's plans for seabed mining, was replaced as director of the park by the Cook Islands prime minister’s office. The move attracted local media criticism, as Evans was responsible for developing the Marae Moana policy and the Marae Moana Act, She had worked on raising funding for the park, expanding policy and regulations and developing a plan that designates permitted areas for industrial activities.

Criteria for identifying and selecting MPAs depends on the overall objective or direction of the programme identified by the coastal state. For example, if the objective is to safeguard ecological habitats, the criteria will emphasise habitat diversity and the unique nature of the particular area.

Permanence of MPAs can vary internationally. Some are established under legislative action or under a different regulatory mechanism to exist permanently into the future. Others are intended to last only a few months or years.

Yes, Ireland has MPA cover in about 2.13 per cent of our waters. Although much of Ireland’s marine environment is regarded as in “generally good condition”, according to an expert group report for Government published in January 2021, it says that biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are of “wide concern due to increasing pressures such as overexploitation, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change”.

The Government has set a target of 30 per cent MPA coverage by 2030, and moves are already being made in that direction. However, environmentalists are dubious, pointing out that a previous target of ten per cent by 2020 was not met.

Conservation and sustainable management of the marine environment has been mandated by a number of international agreements and legal obligations, as an expert group report to government has pointed out. There are specific requirements for area-based protection in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the OSPAR Convention, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Yes, the Marine Strategy Framework directive (2008/56/EC) required member states to put measures in place to achieve or maintain good environmental status in their waters by 2020. Under the directive a coherent and representative network of MPAs had to be created by 2016.

Ireland was about halfway up the EU table in designating protected areas under existing habitats and bird directives in a comparison published by the European Commission in 2009. However, the Fair Seas campaign, an environmental coalition formed in 2022, points out that Ireland is “lagging behind “ even our closest neighbours, such as Scotland which has 37 per cent. The Fair Seas campaign wants at least 10 per cent of Irish waters to be designated as “fully protected” by 2025, and “at least” 30 per cent by 2030.

Nearly a quarter of Britain’s territorial waters are covered by MPAs, set up to protect vital ecosystems and species. However, a conservation NGO, Oceana, said that analysis of fishing vessel tracking data published in The Guardian in October 2020 found that more than 97% of British MPAs created to safeguard ocean habitats, are being dredged and bottom trawled. 

There’s the rub. Currently, there is no definition of an MPA in Irish law, and environment protections under the Wildlife Acts only apply to the foreshore.

Current protection in marine areas beyond 12 nautical miles is limited to measures taken under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives or the OSPAR Convention. This means that habitats and species that are not listed in the EU Directives, but which may be locally, nationally or internationally important, cannot currently be afforded the necessary protection

Yes. In late March 2022, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said that the Government had begun developing “stand-alone legislation” to enable identification, designation and management of MPAs to meet Ireland’s national and international commitments.

Yes. Environmental groups are not happy, as they have pointed out that legislation on marine planning took precedence over legislation on MPAs, due to the push to develop offshore renewable energy.

No, but some activities may be banned or restricted. Extraction is the main activity affected as in oil and gas activities; mining; dumping; and bottom trawling

The Government’s expert group report noted that MPA designations are likely to have the greatest influence on the “capture fisheries, marine tourism and aquaculture sectors”. It said research suggests that the net impacts on fisheries could ultimately be either positive or negative and will depend on the type of fishery involved and a wide array of other factors.

The same report noted that marine tourism and recreation sector can substantially benefit from MPA designation. However, it said that the “magnitude of the benefits” will depend to a large extent on the location of the MPA sites within the network and the management measures put in place.

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