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Cork Harbour Festival Presents 15 Events Online & 28 Activities Afloat

27th May 2021
Festival Manager Joya Kuin, Sinéad Barrett of Sample Studios, Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Tadhg O'Connell of Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Rachel Birmingham of Meitheal Mara launch this year's Cork Harbour Festival from the top of MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory. Cork Harbour Festival runs from Fri 4 - Mon 14 June.
(Above and below) Festival Manager Joya Kuin, Sinéad Barrett of Sample Studios, Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Tadhg O'Connell of Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Rachel Birmingham of Meitheal Mara launch this year's Cork Harbour Festival from the top of MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory. Cork Harbour Festival runs from Fri 4 - Mon 14 June Credit: Jakub Walutek

Cork Harbour Festival returns this year with a packed programme of events on water, on land and at home on your screen. This year's festival is an incredible achievement for festival and event organisers. It presents 15 events online and 28 activities that festival-goers can participate in around Cork City and Harbour.

Joya Kuin, Festival Manager, "we are thrilled and incredibly excited to be one of the first festivals in Cork, and possibly in Ireland, presenting activities that people can physically participate in again. Of course, all event organisers will be following current government guidelines, but we can also guarantee that the diverse range of events and activities will bring great enjoyment and pure fun for those who join us and take part throughout the festival!"

Cork Harbour Festival, now in its seventh year, continues to unite heritage, water sports, outdoor activities, culture, nature, conversation and conservation through its common theme: celebrating Cork's connection with the water, its river and harbour.

Cork Harbour Festival

Everyone is encouraged to get outside and re-discover all the hugely enjoyable activities there are in and around the harbour, from kayaking trips to sailing lessons and heritage trails to creative experiences. Then, from your own homes, learn about the fascinating history of the harbour through live virtual talks and hear about inspiring people and their love of the sea.

Lose yourself in a guided kayaking experience with Atlantic Sea Kayaking on a sunset river tour of Cork City. Young and old alike will be thrilled by a coastal wildlife tour with Cork Sea Safari at Cobh or Crosshaven. Families can try powerboating, sailing or kayaking from spectacular hidden gems such as East Ferry. You can also, quite literally, dive into Cork Harbour at the Try a Dive event!

The festival offers a myriad of opportunities for those who want to explore the beautiful harbour woodlands and wetlands with family orienteering, birdwatching and cycling.

Cork Harbour Festival also acknowledges the creative life of the harbour with poetry and song, visual art and sound art. Visit Sample-Studio's Oileán exhibition, which explores what it means to an island nation in these uncertain times. Pick up an origami pack from Crawford Art Gallery and build your own boat!

On your screens, join Meitheal Mara for a conversation with two inspirational women with an appetite for pushing physical extremes; swimmer Nuala Moore, and kayaker, cyclist and oarswoman Karen Weekes talk to Afloat's Lorna Siggins to discuss motivations, ambitions, and fears. All three women have circumnavigated Ireland at different times – Nuala by swimming in a relay team, Karen in a single kayak and Lorna by sail.

There are many other online talks and events to enjoy in this year's festival; from the very popular Lunchtime Lecture Series with UCC and Nano Nagle Place to a virtual live tour of Spike Island.

Through your smartphone, explore Cork City with two different audio trails: Find out about the Marina with Cllr Kieran McCarthy's heritage trail, or discover the stories and songs hidden in the trees and bricks of our city spaces with A City and A Garden presented by Sounds from a Safe Harbour with Body & Soul.

The flagship Ocean to City race has gone virtual too, and spectators can follow the many participants across the world as they challenge themselves with the Ocean to City #fivemilesfromhome. You can follow their progress on the festival's social media feeds and live Instagram broadcast.

As part of a very special event, Cork School of Music's sound installation Notes to a Star will be encoded by the team at MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory and beamed to a distant exoplanet and its parent star, Bran and Tuiren, arriving there in 2033.

Pre-booking is essential for all physical events with a maximum 15 person capacity in line with current guidelines for organised events.

Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. 

Published in Cork Harbour
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Cork Harbour Information

It’s one of the largest natural harbours in the world – and those living near Cork Harbour insist that it’s also one of the most interesting.

This was the last port of call for the most famous liner in history, the Titanic, but it has been transformed into a centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

The harbour has been a working port and a strategic defensive hub for centuries, and it has been one of Ireland's major employment hubs since the early 1900s. Traditional heavy industries have waned since the late 20th century, with the likes of the closure of Irish Steel in Haulbowline and shipbuilding at Verolme. It still has major and strategic significance in energy generation, shipping and refining.

Giraffe wander along its shores, from which tens of thousands of men and women left Ireland, most of them never to return. The harbour is home to the oldest yacht club in the world, and to the Irish Navy. 

This deep waterway has also become a vital cog in the Irish economy.

‘Afloat.ie's Cork Harbour page’ is not a history page, nor is it a news focus. It’s simply an exploration of this famous waterway, its colour and its characters.

Cork Harbour Festival

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór and Cork Harbour Open Day formerly existed as two popular one-day events located at different points on Cork’s annual maritime calendar. Both event committees recognised the synergy between the two events and began to work together and share resources. In 2015, Cork Harbour Festival was launched. The festival was shaped on the open day principle, with Ocean to City – An Ras Mór as the flagship event.

Now in its sixth year, the festival has grown from strength to strength. Although the physical 2020 festival was cancelled due to Covid-19, the event normally features nine festival days starting on the first week of June. It is packed full of events; all made possible through collaboration with over 50 different event partners in Cork City, as well as 15 towns and villages along Cork Harbour. The programme grows year by year and highlights Ireland’s rich maritime heritage and culture as well as water and shore-based activities, with Ocean to City – An Rás Mór at the heart of the festival.

Taking place at the centre of Ireland’s maritime paradise, and at the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, Cork is perfectly positioned to deliver the largest and most engaging harbour festival in Ireland.

The Cork Harbour Festival Committee includes representatives from Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, UCC MaREI, RCYC, Cobh & Harbour Chamber and Meitheal Mara.

Marinas in Cork Harbour

There are six marinas in Cork Harbour. Three in Crosshaven, one in East Ferry, one in Monkstown Bay and a new facility is opening in 2020 at Cobh. Details below

Port of Cork City Marina

Location – Cork City
Contact – Harbour Masters Dept., Port of Cork Tel: +353 (0)21 4273125 or +353 (0)21 4530466 (out of office hours)

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0) 21 4831023

Crosshaven Boatyard Marina

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)21 4831161

Salve Marina Ltd

Location: Crosshaven, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0) 21 4831145

Cork Harbour Marina

Location: Monkstown, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)87 3669009

East Ferry Marina

Location: East Ferry, Co. Cork
Contact: +353 (0)21 4813390

New Cove Sailing Club Marina

(to be opened in 2020)

Location: Cobh, Co. Cork
Contact: 087 1178363

Cork Harbour pontoons, slipways and ramps

Cork City Boardwalk Existing pontoon

Port of Cork 100m. pontoon

Cork city – End of Cornmarket St. steps and slip;

Cork city - Proby’s Qy. Existing limited access slip

Quays Bar & Restaurant, Private pontoon and ramp for patrons, suitable for yachts, small craft town and amenities

Cobh harbour [camber] Slip and steps inside quay wall pontoon

Fota (zoo, house, gardens) Derelict pontoon and steps

Haulbowline naval basin; restricted space Naval base; restricted access;

Spike Island pier, steps; slip, pontoon and ramp

Monkstown wooden pier and steps;

Crosshaven town pier, with pontoon & steps

East Ferry Marlogue marina, Slip (Great Island side) visitors’ berths

East Ferry Existing pier and slip; restricted space East Ferry Inn (pub)
(Mainland side)

Blackrock pier and slips

Ballinacurra Quay walls (private)

Aghada pier and slip, pontoon & steps public transport links

Whitegate Slip

Passage West Pontoon

Glenbrook Cross-river ferry

Ringaskiddy Parking with slip and pontoon Ferry terminal; village 1km.

Carrigaloe pier and slip; restricted space; Cross-river ferry;

Fountainstown Slip

White’s Bay beach

Ringabella beach

Glanmire Bridge and tide restrictions

Old Glanmire - Quay

Cork Harbour Festival & Ocean to City Race

Following the cancellation of the 2020 event, Cork Harbour Festival will now take place 5 – 13 June 2021, with the Flagship Ocean to City An Rás Mór on 5 June.

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