Cork Harbour Festival grows each year, and its flagship event Ocean to City - An Rás Mor, now in its 14th year, has received a record-breaking entry! Over 200 boats and 600 participants from Ireland, U.S, Holland, Germany, Spain and Great Britain, are set to descend on Cork City for Ireland’s premier rowing race on Saturday 2 June.
For the first time in its history, the 2017 Ocean to City became a shortened river race due to high winds forecast in the harbour, therefore it is with great excitement to have the full harbour race back for 2018.
Alan MacNamidhe, who lives in Cork, is striving to become the first blind crew member to finish the full race course of Ocean to City. Alan was introduced to currach rowing two years ago during a Saturday public currach row in Cork City, which is facilitated by Naomhóga Chorcaí; and he has been rowing since. He started training for Ocean to City six months ago when the possibility of taking part came up in conversation. Alan will be rowing with Jack O ‘Keeffe, Ed O’Leary, John Tynan and Michael McLaughlin.
Crew members of Lagan Currachs will be travelling from Belfast to Cork to participate in Ocean to City this year in their 10 metre (33ft) currach. Lagan Currachs include members from across Belfast who formed this community group in 2016. A team of almost 80 volunteers helped build this magnificent craft which is crewed by 12 rowers. The currach is rowed weekly on the River Lagan and Belfast Lough.
The furthest travelled crew will be from Albany, the capital city of New York State. Members of the Albany Irish Rowing Club will be borrowing an Irish boat for the race from Jimmy Austin, member of Cork City’s Naomhóga Chorcaí.
Conor O’Geran of Phoenix Kayak Club has completed every race since the first race in 2005. Celine Kavanagh of Cahirsiveen has also never missed a race. Celine has either rowed, paddled or coxed each year of Ocean to City.
The Ocean to City Youth Race starts from Blackrock Harbour, covering a 4km stretch into the city. Youths typically participate in Meitheal Mara’s Bádoireacht programme - a unique boat building and rowing service for young people (ages 14 – 18) - before participating in Ocean to City. This year Linda Zajkiewicz will be rowing in her second Ocean to City Youth Race. Two days after the race she will be heading to Dublin to board the Pelican of London Tall Ship for a 10-day voyage. This voyage will see Linda sail back into Cork Harbour on the weekend after Ocean to City, to be part of Cork Harbour Festival again. The Ocean to City Youth Race will have currach rowers from South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka taking part in the race this year!
This is the 14th year of Ocean to City – An Rás Mor, organised by Meitheal Mara, which since 2005 has brought thousands of rowers and paddlers to Cork to compete, challenge themselves and leave with a memorable experience. Many participants are regular racegoers, while others take part for the fun and challenge of completing the course.
There will be race commentary at the finish line by Cork 96FM Ken Perrott, as well as plenty of family fun featuring music, the festival market and circus street performances from 3.30pm at Lapp’s Quay and Port of Cork. Soak up the buzz, mingle with crews and celebrate the 14th Ocean to City Race, Saturday 2 June!
The full festival programme of over 70 events is available online here.