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A celebration of all things maritime in Dublin’s Docklands

13th May 2009

Anyone looking to sample the romance of the high seas coupled with fantastic entertainment and Dublin’s biggest outdoor market should head for the Docklands this June Bank Holiday weekend. Now in its sixth year the much loved Docklands Maritime Festival continues to grow and this year is no exception with a great mix of old favourites as well as new attractions. Taking place on the quays, both north and south of the Liffey, the festival promises entertainment for all ages in a relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere with free admission. This year’s Festival is presented by the Docklands Authority in association with Failte Ireland.


Some of Europe’s most beautiful tall ships will be taking up residence on the River Liffey alongside our own Jeanie Johnston. Visitors can climb on board Atlantis, L.E. Aoife, Loth Lorien and Eendracht, for a chance to see what life of the high seas is really like.  Visitors will enjoy the spectacular Lord Nelson an impressive vessel which was commissioned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust to be the flagship for their mission to enable people with disabilities to sail.  This beautiful tall ship measures over 42 meters, has 18 sails and the deck comprises of nine miles of teak. Constructed in 1986 she has taken over 23,000 people to sea, including 8,970 people with disabilities and continues to do so. She runs all year round providing adventure sailing holidays for a great number of different people with varied abilities. Since commencing voyages in 1986 the Lord Nelson has sailed 339,658 miles.

The Festival will also be home to the biggest outdoor market in the city, with an impressive one hundred fabulous stalls offering a vast selection of gourmet goodies and crafts.  With exhibitors from all over Europe, including the Dutch Flowerman as well as Greek, Italian and Spanish foodstalls this unique market offers a real continental flavour in the heart of Dublin.

Thirsty festival goers will enjoy the coffees and beers available or for something more substantial check out the mouth watering array of pastries, breads, chocolates, paella, cheeses, crepes and more.

Paul Maloney, Chief Executive, Docklands Authority, says the Docklands Maritime Festival is now an eagerly awaited fixture on Dublin’s summer events calendar. “In the six years since the Festival was established, it has grown considerably.  This year sees a whole new wave of entertainment provided by arts groups from Ireland and overseas, the stunning Tall Ships, musicians, market traders and specially created children’s play area.  We look forward to welcoming visitors from Dublin and beyond to Docklands this Bank Holiday Weekend.”

George’s Dock will be the place to be for all the festival’s little visitors – from carousels, The helter skelter and crazy golf there is something to bring a smile to all faces, young and old!  Also set to appeal to young visitors are the energy packed performances by The National Performing Arts School (NPAS).  Students from the school will be performing in the chq building and on the George’s Dock platform (outdoor performances are weather dependant) every 45 minutes from 12 noon during the three days of the festival.  Each 10 minute mini-show will be jam packed with the best singers, the funkiest dancers and the coolest kids in town.

Also making the voyage to the Docklands Maritime Festival is tall ship, Kathleen & May, at 109 years old, it’s the only wooden triple-masted sailing schooner still in existence and is unique among 60 famous tall ships listed on the UK’s National Register of Historic Vessels.  Kathleen & May visited the Dublin quays last July when she carried a commercial cargo of wine from France to Dublin.   T his will be repeated on her visit to the Docklands Maritime Festival. Wine-tasting opportunities will be available onboard with an admission charge of €5 and more information can be found at www.fairwindwine.com.

Over the weekend, it’s a great opportunity to take a trip on Dublin’s river tour service, the Liffey River Cruise, which will be in operation offering regular cruises along the river.  This relaxing trip offers a unique viewpoint of the river as well as the opportunity to hear lots of interesting stories you never knew about the River Liffey and city of Dublin.   It will also offer a good vantage point to get an up close view of the latest addition to the capital’s river – the new Samuel Beckett Bridge.   The structure which recently arrived in the port is moored on a pontoon alongside the south quayside for the next few weeks before being put in place across the river in June.

The Liffey River Taxi service will also be on hand to take visitors across the River Liffey, from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to North Wall Quay, making the Festival even more accessible than before.  Chq shops and stores will also be open for business as usual so why not enjoy a relaxing  hot drop in House of Tea over a copy of Turtle Bunbury’s latest book – ‘Dublin Docklands – an Urban Voyage’ which will be on sale there especially for the festival weekend. A great way to brush up on your maritime history.

Afloat.ie Team

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