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Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration attracted thousands of visitors to the port and city of Cork this past weekend.

Cork was transformed into a giant interactive ‘sea world’ for the three days of SeaFest 2019, and the port was awash with non-stop activities and entertainment for all ages.

Visitors to the Marine Institute’s Wild Atlantic Theatre were treated to exciting talks and shows with award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, filmmaker Ken O’Sullivan and Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack.

Ireland’s maritime history was also in focus with a seminar on the antiquity and sustainability of curraghs, as Tom MacSweeney writes.

And the side of the R&H Hall building in Cork Harbour was transformed with an enormous depiction of the ‘Real Map of Ireland’ which takes into account the State’s significant seabed territory.

All the events during SeaFest were free for festival-goers. There were open tours available on a number of vessels in the ship-filled harbour including State research vessel RV Celtic Explorer — fresh off its annual ocean climate research survey to collect high-quality oceanographic data for the Atlantic Ocean Observing System.

The festival, which was held in Galway for the last few years, concluded yesterday (Monday 10 June) with the Ocean Wealth Summit which featured special guests John Kerry, the former US Secretary of State, and the presidents, foreign ministers or UN ambassadors of 31 small island developing states.

SeaFest 2019 also saw the official launch of EurofleetsPlus, the programme to facilitate access to the largest advanced research vessel fleet across Europe, Greenland, the USA and Canada, Bermuda and New Zealand — providing a significant increase in ship-time at sea.

The programme will now move towards its competitive call phase, including SEA (ship-time and marine equipment application) which will have an ‘Ocean’ call, due to open this month, and a ‘Regional’ call in September.

Published in Marine Science
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An interactive hut made up of 60kg of household plastics — the average amount used by an adult in Ireland each year — will be unveiled at SeaFest this weekend, highlighting the problem of plastics in our oceans.

Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime festival begins at the Port of Cork from today, Friday 7 June, and continues to this Sunday 9 June with over 100 free events celebrating our oceans.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend SeaFest, which is presented by Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG).

Raising awareness of the need to protect our marine environment against plastic pollution, Bord Iascaigh Mhara's centrepiece at SeaFest is the Clean Oceans Experience.

Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the installation includes a 60kg plastic hut sculpture, representing the total plastic packaging waste produced per person in a year.

This installation will be accompanied by a specially commissioned artistic performance, Fantastic Fishermen Go Fishing for Litter, on how the fishing sector is reducing plastics in our seas.

Members of the fishing sector taking part in BIM's Fishing for Litter scheme, which encourages fishermen to take ashore waste they encounter at sea, have collected over 330 tonnes of marine litter since it began in 2015.

“Environmental stewardship of our oceans is something we need to instil in our children”

“Environmental stewardship of our oceans is something we need to instil in our children,” Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Mick Finn, said. “This will ensure the problems facing our oceans are addressed, and hopefully, reversed.

“I’m delighted to welcome SeaFest to Cork for the next three years, as it serves an important role in this education. SeaFest is a brilliant illustration of our unique and unrivalled maritime history.

“In a fun and interactive way, this national annual festival is helping those of all ages to think about their connection with the water and how the actions they make today can make a difference tomorrow.”

Engaging exhibitions and workshops to turn plastic into art also feature at SeaFest, open daily from 10am to 6pm.

A Flock of Sea Gulls will see 1,000 young visitors transform 1,000 plastic cartons into an installation of seagulls, while the Port of Cork and MaREI’s 3D exhibition, Maintaining a Healthy Harbour, is also on display, with marine litter artworks from local school children.

Showing how our oceans and climate are linked, the Marine Institute’s Wild Atlantic Theatre features talks from Met Éireann’s head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan.

Doug, who has worked alongside Sir David Attenborough on BBC’s Blue Planet and Frozen Planet, will discuss how changing climate is affecting Earth's north and south regions.

Sustainably sourced Irish seafood plays a starring role at SeaFest

Sustainably sourced Irish seafood plays a starring role at SeaFest with demos from top chefs Nevin Maguire, Rory O'Connell and Martin Shanahan.

The Bord Bia and BIM Seafood Experience also features fishmongers Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson on seafood preparation.

Encouraging responsible activity on the water, SeaFest will hold free sailing, kayaking, and currach boats sessions, along with interactive displays exploring the marine world.

Speaking ahead of SeaFest 2019, Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “SeaFest is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, the Government’s integrated plan for the marine sector. A key aspect of this plan is to significantly increase our level of engagement with the sea.

“As we welcome the festival back to Cork from Galway where it has been thriving over the past three years, once again, SeaFest has delivered a fantastic line-up of free, educational and fun events to engage both the public and policy makers alike and emphasise the importance of Ireland’s marine economy.”

Providing education on our oceans, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer is open to the public, following its oceanographic data collection voyage from Galway to Cork.

There will also be vessel tours of Commissioners of Irish LightsILV Granuaile and tall ship Phoenix.

MFV Allanah Riley, a white fish trawler that fishes out of the port of Castletownbere, will be open to visitors throughout SeaFest. Its crew will be on hand to explain the sustainable fishing practices of the Irish fishing fleet.

Market traders will be using compostable packaging across the weekend

As part of Cork City Council’s commitment to green initiatives, Cork City Council environmental awareness officer Mary Walsh highlighted that market traders will be using compostable packaging across the weekend.

“There will also be pirates on site, keeping SeaFest free from single-use plastics. If someone has brought a plastic bottle with them, the pirate will show them how, and where, to dispose of it,” she said.

SeaFest 2019 is a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage, as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs until Sunday 9 June.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit takes place in Cork on Sunday 9 and Monday 10 June. The summit will hear from global leaders including environmental activist and former US Secretary of State John Kerry.

To view the full festival programme visit SeaFest.ie. Follow SeaFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtag #SeaFest19.

SeaFest is proudly supported by Cork City Council, BIM, Marine Institute, Port of Cork, Cork Harbour Festival, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Defence Forces, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bord Bia, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Pure Cork and by media partners Today FM and RedFM.

Seafest is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

Published in Port of Cork

Famous buildings and landmarks across Ireland will ‘Go Atlantic Blue' over the weekend 7-10 June to celebrate our connection to the Atlantic Ocean as part of World Oceans Day.

The global day this Saturday 8 June connects people worldwide in celebrating the ocean, its importance in our lives and how each of us can protect it, no matter where we live.

In Ireland, more than 20 different landmarks are expected to participate in the day by lighting up their buildings.

Businesses, shops, schools and homes across the country will also ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ on the day also being celebrated by the likes of surfing scientist Easkey Britton, who spoke recently to Independent.ie about her own oceanic connections.

Everyone’s participation will highlight the strong connection that people in Ireland have with the Atlantic Ocean and the multiple ways that it affects and enriches our daily lives.

‘Go Atlantic Blue’ is being spearheaded in Ireland by the Marine Institute-led AORA-CSA (Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Co-ordination & Support Action) against the backdrop of SeaFest 2019 and the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, both taking place in Cork in the coming days.

SeaFest is Ireland’s national maritime festival and Our Ocean Wealth Summit is Ireland’s flagship event for the marine sector, bringing together Irish and international organisations to create innovative and sustainable solutions to drive our Blue Economy.

This is the first year to ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ with the aim of raising awareness of the vital role that the Atlantic Ocean plays in the lives of Irish people, no matter how near or far they live from the Atlantic coastline.

Among the activities that AORA promotes through its work are the development of an ‘Atlantic community’, made up of citizens of countries that neighbour the Atlantic Ocean, and also exploring, observing and mapping the remainder of the Atlantic Ocean floor (which AORA calls “the last great exploration campaign on Earth”).

“Our ocean is our greatest natural resource and we see that most directly in Ireland with the vital importance that the Atlantic Ocean plays in our daily lives”

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said: “Our ocean is our greatest natural resource and we see that most directly in Ireland with the vital importance that the Atlantic Ocean plays in our daily lives — from influencing the weather to facilitating our trade industry and from seafood to surfing off the coast.

“The Marine Institute is proud to support the ‘Go Atlantic Blue’ initiative from 7-10 June, particularly at SeaFest and Our Ocean Wealth Summit, and we encourage and welcome everyone to come onboard.”

Dr Margaret Rae, director of AORA-CSA, said that the initiative gives people all around the country a chance to show their appreciation for the Atlantic Ocean.

“In Ireland, the Atlantic Ocean means so much to us. It’s our largest natural resource and we draw so much from it — our livelihoods, food, bounty, beauty, imagination, inspiration, song, poetry, health and wellbeing and much much more.

“Going Atlantic Blue is a way to draw attention to how each and every one of us experiences the Atlantic, what we love about our ocean and how we can be that generation that makes a difference.”

Published in Maritime Festivals

SeaFest is returning to Cork city this summer — and Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration unveils its exciting 2019 programme with over 100 events taking place from 7-9 June.

Some 100,000 visitors are expected at the Port of Cork for SeaFest 2019, with the line-up to include cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Neven Maguire and Rory O’Connell and talks from Met Éireann’s Evelyn Cusack and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan.

Held in Galway for the past three years, SeaFest is relocating back to Cork — where the first edition was held in 2015 — in a move that will see the Rebel City host the event annually to 2021.

The festival, which acknowledges everything the ocean has to offer, will be a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs from 1–9 June.

SeaFest highlights include Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia free cookery demonstrations from esteemed chefs Rory O’Connell (Ballymaloe Cookery School) and Neven Maguire (MacNean House & Restaurant), along with demos from fishmongers, Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson. BIM also brings its never-before-seen Clean Oceans visitor experience, raising awareness of plastic in our oceans.

Further key events for SeaFest 2019 include Met Éireann head of forecasting Evelyn Cusack discussing weather changes and warnings at the Marine Institute marquee.

There will also be engaging talks and films inspired by the ocean at the Marine Institute’s Atlantic Theatre. Award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allan will discuss his remarkable experiences filming BBC’s Blue Planet and Ocean Giants. RTÉ documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic will also be screened.

Speaking on the launch, Lord Mayor of Cork Mick Finn said: “SeaFest is a hugely important festival for the country and it’s fitting that it will take place in Cork which has a unique maritime history and association with the sea. That the city’s motto proclaims Cork to be ‘a safe harbour for ships’ speaks for itself.

“There is a great programme of free events lined up for the festival this year — and for the next three years — to ensure that people connect with the river, the harbour and the sea.

“SeaFest will be at the core of European Maritime Day next year when we will also celebrate 300 years of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest of its kind in the world. We invite everyone to attend the free, fun events and help focus on keeping our oceans healthy and vibrant.”

There will be free sailing, kayaking, currach and dragon boat trips on the water with Irish Sailing, Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Meitheal Mara.

Tours of the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Explorer and the Commissioner of Irish LightsILV Granuaile take place across the weekend. And the Defence Forces will provide an equipment and capabilities display.

Marine Minister Michael Creed said: “SeaFest is about highlighting the importance and value of our seas and oceans. After being successfully hosted in Galway for the last three years, it is important that this national maritime festival is enjoyed across the country.

“I am delighted therefore that it will be presented in Cork city for the next three years from 2019-21, as it continues to grow and evolve and in other coastal locations in the future.

“With such a fantastic line-up of free and fun events across the three days designed to educate, engage and entertain the whole family, SeaFest 2019 in Cork is set to be a magnificent maritime celebration.”

There will be fun and free activities in the dedicated Kids Zone, along with touch tank displays as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

This is the first year for BIM’s interactive aquaculture remote classroom (ARC) at SeaFest, with virtual reality headsets for wearers to experience mussel beds up close. Music Generation Cork City will also be performing on the music stage throughout the event.

The Port of Cork and UCC research centre MaREI will showcase a 3D art exhibition by local fifth class pupils about awareness of marine litter. In addition, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will outline UN Sustainable Development Goals, and there will be water safety advice from RNLI.

SeaFest 2019 is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, increasing our engagement with the sea. The Our Ocean Wealth Summit will take place in Cork on Sunday 9 and Monday 10 June.

SeaFest is proudly supported by Cork City Council, BIM, Marine Institute, Port of Cork, Cork Harbour Festival, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Defence Forces, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bord Bia, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Pure Cork and by media partners Today FM and RedFM.

SeaFest is part-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

To view the full festival programme visit SeaFest.ie, and keep up with the latest updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Published in Port of Cork
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#SeaFest - SeaFest has been nominated for two awards in the Event Industry Awards 2018.

The 2017 edition of Ireland’s national maritime festival has been shortlisted for ‘Best Live Event’ and ‘Best Cultural Event’ in this year’s awards, with the overall winners set to be revealed next Friday 20 July.

The Event Industry Awards is the premier awards ceremony for the event sector in Ireland, and showcases the highest standards in Ireland’s event industry.

Sinéad Coyne, communications manager for the Marine Institute and SeaFest, said: “We are really delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for two categories in this year’s Event industry Awards alongside so many well-established companies. Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to the awards ceremony on July 20th at Citywest Hotel, Dublin.”

SeaFest creates awareness of Ireland’s maritime heritage and celebrates the many ways our seas and oceans enrich our lives.

A relative newcomer to the festival scene in Ireland, SeaFest has quickly become one of the most popular events in the country. Now in its fourth year, the festival has grown in attendance and scope – attracting 10,000 visitors in 2015, 60,000 visitors in 2016 and more than 100,000 visitors this year.

All entertainment, events and activities at SeaFest are free, and 103,000 visitors flocked to Galway Harbour to enjoy a host of activities and entertainment on and around the water from Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July. In addition, the festival generated over €6.5 million in direct income for Galway’s tourism industry.

Global event specialists Arcana were appointed event managers for SeaFest and worked with the Marine Institute and over 20 local, regional and national organisations and agencies to stage the three-day festival.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#OnTV - RTÉ One’s Nationwide will devote this Wednesday’s episode to this year’s SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival, which welcomed over 100,000 visitors to Galway over the weekend.

Presenter Mary Kennedy spent a couple of days in Galway Harbour, talking to some of the key figures involved in the festival and enjoying some of the activities and events on offer.

She interviewed famous wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, who has captured amazing footage on documentaries including Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants. Doug was at SeaFest all weekend to give talks about his experiences filming in some of the wildest and most remote places on earth.

The programme will feature an interview with Irish underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan. His documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic on RTÉ captured the attention of the nation with groundbreaking footage of sea creatures in Irish waters.

Nationwide also met with Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan, who spoke about the marine economy and last week’s Our Ocean Wealth Summit, as well as some of the technology innovations highlighted at the Marine Ireland Trade Show during the festival.

SeaFest features on Nationwide this tomorrow evening (Wednesday 4 July) on RTÉ One at 7pm, and will be available to watch online via RTÉ Player for 28 days afterwards.

Published in Maritime TV
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#Lighthouses - It is more than eight weeks ago when Bobby Kerr, Chair of Great Lighthouses of Ireland helped kick off summer in fine style when he announced the ‘Great Lighthouse, Great Fun’ photography competition.

The competition was held to invite all to discover the amazing coastlines of Ireland, the challenge was simple: take a photograph that best captures and expresses the best of summer fun at a lighthouse. 

“We had a huge number of entries, all a fantastic reflection of Ireland in summer... it was a challenging task for our judges to select (a) final ten, then five and (lastly) the winner,“ Kerr said.

“The winning image of Gar Heffernan holding Hook (Lighthouse) in his hands captured the essence of summer fun at our lighthouses. Well done, Gar. We look forward to meeting you,” said Kerr.

Gar and his family will enjoy a fantastic bespoke Great Lighthouses of Ireland experience for four people, which will include:

  • A two-night stay at any of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland self-catering houses
  • A personal tour with our leading storykeeper at any of our lighthouse attractions
  • A unique opportunity to meet the Irish Lights historian at Howth’s Baily Lighthouse to learn all about the history and heritage of Irish Lights
  • A chance to meet the Irish Lights team and learn more about how navigational aids work today

Speaking from SeaFest, Galway, Yvonne Shields, Chief Executive of Irish Lights said: “We look forward to welcoming our ‘Great Lighthouse, Great Fun’ winner and guests to Irish Lights to see the work involved in ensuring safe navigation around the coast of Ireland and (to) meet the team, whose technical and engineering expertise contributes to the development of our maritime economy. This weekend, we encourage all to come on board the Granualie at Seafest.” (See related ships on show tours).

Great Lighthouses of Ireland is an exciting collaboration between many private and public organisations in coastal communities, led and supported by Irish Lights. For event details and information about and booking Great Lighthouses of Ireland, see: www.greatlighthouses.com/shine-a-light

Twitter: @gtlighthouses | https://twitter.com/gtlighthouses

Facebook: @greatlighthousesofireland | https://www.facebook.com/greatlighthousesofireland

For full details and the competition terms and conditions, click this link here.

Published in Lighthouses

#OurOceanWeath - Employment growth of more than 16% in the marine sector was among the encouraging statistics cited by Marine Minister Michael Creed in his address to the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, which opened at Galway Docks yesterday (Thursday 28 June).

“Ireland has taken important strides in recent years in developing our blue economy. This is being driven at the highest levels of Government and represents a unique and joined up approach to growing Ireland’s blue economy.

“The work of our cross Departmental high level Marine Co-ordination Group (MCG), which I chair, will continue as we seek to build on recent success,” Minister Creed said.

Updated statistics indicate that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy now stands at €2 billion, or approximately 1% of GDP, which represents a 21% increase on 2015 figures.

“The 2017 estimates suggest that our ‘blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy,” the minister added. “Growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries.

“A really encouraging statistic is the growth in employment for the marine sector which has risen from 27,888 (FTEs) in 2015 to an estimated 32,509 (FTEs) in 2017, an increase of 16.6%.”

Minister Creed also announced the publication of the latest annual Progress Report on Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

“This report which covers inputs from across state departments and agencies, provides a wealth of information, spanning governance, research, education, international co-operation, business development, sustainability, and protection and conservation of marine ecosystems,” he said.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit, now in its fifth year, forms a key part of the Government's integrated plan for Ireland’s marine sector and brings together national and international expert speakers, industry leaders, business development agencies and the Irish business and marine research community. This year’s discussions focused on the overall theme of ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’.

Ahead of the summit, PwC and the Marine Institute released the results of a joint survey of leading voices in Ireland’s maritime industry, which revealed “overwhelming confidence in Ireland’s maritime sector in spite of challenges posed by Brexit”.

Other findings include the potential of offshore wind and ocean energy, which is seen as a key opportunity for the marine sector, while overall, maritime leaders believe further investment in the marine industry is critical.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit is part of a range of industry and innovation events taking place in Galway as part of SeaFest 2018, Ireland's national maritime festival, which opens today (Friday 29 June). A wide range of public events are taking place in Galway Harbour and Docks and the city over the weekend till Sunday 1 July.

Among them will be Life and the Sea, a special civic and military commemorative event to remember all those who have lost their lives at sea, and recognising the heroism of the men and women of our rescue services.

Mayor of Galway City, Niall McNelis, will address the special commemoration which will take place at 6pm on board the LÉ William Butler Yeats in Galway Harbour.

There will be musical performances, while poems will be read by Tony Hiney, community fundraising manager of the Western Region of the RNLI, and Lt Cdr David Fleming, Officer Commanding of the LÉ William Butler Yeats.

Minister of State Seán Kyne, accompanied by Mayor McNelis, and RNLI, Irish Coast Guard, Naval Service and Air Corps representatives will lay a wreath.

A lone piper will play, which will be followed by ship horns and a flyover by the Air Corps.

Published in News Update

From famous ships to flyboarding, seafood and sailing, there is a host of activities on offer at SeaFest 2018, taking place in Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July.

Here are just five of the ‘must-sea’ activities and attractions visitors can experience at Ireland’s most spectacular maritime festival.

1. Inspiring talks from Doug Allan

Multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan has filmed in some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth. Working alongside Sir David Attenborough on documentaries such as Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants, Doug has had the chance to get up close to some of the most awe-inspiring mammals found on land and sea. Don’t miss one of the seven talks taking place over the weekend!

2. See world-class Flyboarders perform

Be captivated by stunning performances from Powerfly Products world-class flyboarders. With pump-powered jetpacks, the flyboarders will spin and spiral high into the air performing amazing tricks and flips. With three shows each day, view these breath-taking displays from the edge of Galway Harbour or on-board an ocean-going vessel.

3. Tour Ireland’s newest Naval vessel

One of the latest vessels in the Irish Naval fleet, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be docked in Galway Harbour for the festival weekend. The vessel is deployed for fishery protection, search and rescue and in maritime patrol missions. Speak to our naval personnel and get a close-up look at the equipment on board. At 90 metres in length, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be a spectacular sight to see.

4. Sample sensational seafood

At the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience, visitors will learn everything there is to know about seafood. View up-close a variety of live fish and shellfish species from Irish waters or take a virtual reality stroll under the sea to meet the creatures of the deep in a thrilling immersive experience. Enjoy live cookery demonstrations from Galway restaurateur JP McMahon, Michael O’Meara of Oscar’s Seafood Bistro in Galway and author of the top-selling Sea Gastronomy and Oliver Dunne, the youngest Irish chef to be awarded a Michelin star. BIM’s Young Fishmongers of the will show you how easy it is to prepare fish and seafood at home. Seafood lovers will also enjoy the range of cookery demonstrations on offer at the Gastronomy Showcase Van, to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018.

5. Make fishy faces to take home

Galway City Museum will be hosting Fishy Faces workshops, where kids can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures, under the guidance of Áine Lawless of Macnas. These 30-minute workshops are suitable for children from 5-12 years of age. In addition, five of these workshops will be run in partnership with Galway Autism Partnership and are specifically for children with sensory difficulties, and their siblings. While at the museum, explore the marine world through the interactive ‘Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic’ exhibition and a resident scientist will also perform hands-on experiments for children.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#SeaFest - This year’s SeaFest in Galway is offering activities specifically for children with sensory issues as well as watersports sessions for children and adults with disabilities or impairments.

Irish Sailing and its team of volunteers from sailing clubs across Galway are offering fully inclusive access to Try Sailing sessions over the three days of Ireland’s national maritime festival.

“We want everyone to be able to experience the thrill of being out on the water, and SeaFest offers a fantastic opportunity for children and adults with disabilities or impairments to try sailing or kayaking in a safe and supported environment,” said Ciarán Murphy, Irish Sailing’s national inclusion and children’s officer.

“Sailing offers a sense of freedom like no other sport, and is a great healthy outdoor and social activity. We hope our budding sailors enjoy the experience and will join us again in Galway for the Watersports Inclusion Games at the end of August.”

Galway City Museum will be hosting five workshops specifically for children with sensory difficulties and their siblings.

Led by Áine Lawless of Macnas, children can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures to take home. Volunteers from Galway Autism Partnership will provide assistance during each of the workshops.

Aisling Colreavy, co-ordinator at Galway Autism Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be part of SeaFest this year, and have an activity especially for children on the autism spectrum, and their siblings.

“Peer support is invaluable to our members, as these activities are a great opportunity to make connections with families and individuals in similar situations is very important in terms and understanding.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a purpose-built marquee dubbed The Atlantic Theatre will showcase talks from multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan and screenings of the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic and popular Irish animation Song of the Sea. The Atlantic Theatre will be fitted with Loop Hearing to assist the hearing impaired.

SeaFest 2018 will offer a weekend of seafaring fun for all ages, with thrilling performances from world-class flyboarders, live seafood cookery demonstrations, vessel tours, a Defence Forces display and a host of marine-themed workshops for kids.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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