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Displaying items by tag: Maritime Festival

The Vikings first invaded Ireland in 795 AD when they beached on Lambay Island near Dublin. Records show that the monastery at Nendrum on Strangford Lough and one at Downpatrick in south County Down were attacked early in the ninth century. The history of the Vikings in Ireland spans over 200 years and although it can be considered short-lived, they did make important contributions to the Irish way of life. The Vikings first appear in the Annals of Ulster 795AD which were compiled by the monastic movement.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Tourism NI and Ards and North Down Council have launched the Strangford Lough Viking Festival, to be held in March. The main activity will take place in Portaferry and Strangford at the mouth of the Lough at the Narrows, from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 March. It will highlight the strong Viking links rooted within Strangford Lough and showcase a wide range of experiences and entertainment for all ages.

The original name Strangford Lough was Lough Cuan, meaning the quiet lough but it was renamed by the Vikings Strang Fiord meaning Ford of the Strong Currents.

Viking Festival launch - (Centre left) Councillor Mark Brooks, Ards and North Down Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy MasonViking Festival launch - (Centre left) Councillor Mark Brooks, Ards and North Down Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason

Speaking about the festival, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said, “Seeing the two Councils working together to aid local businesses and encourage tourism in both destinations is a real positive in the current climate. With plenty of activities planned across the Festival on each side of the lough, I would encourage everyone to visit both Strangford and Portaferry by taking the short trip on the iconic Strangford Lough ferry during the Festival weekend.”

"Full-sized replica longships will also be on display"

Portaferry and Strangford will see Viking camps with re-enactors telling the Viking story and showing how they lived in the area more than a thousand years ago. Full-sized replica longships will also be on display both on land and water, with sailors from the Vikings TV series discussing their adventures. Fierce warriors will be doing battle and there will be a wide variety of demonstrations ranging from blacksmithing to Rune reading (a Rune is a type of ancient alphabet and the use of runes persisted in rural Sweden for decorative purposes until the 20th century). Visitors will also be able to try their hand at a number of Viking activities such as axe throwing and archery and there will be a children’s treasure hunt

A full list of all the events programmed over the Festival will be available nearer the time. However, the highlights will be a Viking feast on the Friday evening and a torchlit procession followed by a concert in The Portico of Ards Arts Centre on the Saturday night.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said, "Ards and North Down Borough Council is delighted to be working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to deliver an exciting Viking Festival next month. Portaferry and Strangford have strong links with Vikings, so it is a natural fit for both councils to work together to promote these areas within County Down. The Festival will provide a much-needed boost to our economy and aid local businesses in their recovery from the pandemic."

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#tallships - The towering and magnificent masts of Tall Ships will grace Belfast city’s skyline once again as the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival sails into town this May.

From Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May, Sailortown, Donegall Quay, Queen’s Quay and Titanic Quarter will come alive at 10am each day with an array of nautical fun and games, food stalls and demos, live music and a treasure trove of street shows and performers.

There will also be opportunities for landlubbers to have their own adventure on the high seas, sailing a kayak, paddle-boarding or even trying yoga on the Lagan.

John Greer, Director of Economic Development said: “Our Maritime Festival is always a great day out and a fantastic opportunity to get together with family and friends on the spectacular waterfront of the city, and this year we’re expanding into nearby Sailortown so there’s even more to see and do.

“Discover more about our city’s seafaring heritage or why not climb aboard some of the visiting Tall Ships and naval vessels that will be docked for the weekend. The spectacular Mexican naval vessel ‘Cuauhtémoc’ will be attending our festival which is really exciting.

“And don’t forget to check out the Maritime Mile – a trail that brings the Titanic Quarter’s maritime and industrial history to life, connecting attractions including the impressively restored naval warship HMS Caroline, one of the world’s largest lighthouse optics, The Great Light, sculptures and viewing points along the way.”

The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival is organised by Belfast City Council, with support from event partners Tourism NI, Titanic Foundation Ltd and media partner Q Radio.

Orla Ross, Agency Sales Director at Q Radio, said: “We are delighted to be media partner for the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival. This has become an unmissable event in the summer calendar for people all over Northern Ireland. We're looking forward to being there all weekend with our presenters who'll be hosting and broadcasting from this great event.”

Aine Kearney, Director of Business Support and Events at Tourism NI added: “Tourism NI is a proud supporter of the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival 2019. The weekend long festival is a homegrown event celebrating Belfast’s unique maritime history and Titanic legacy providing a platform for visitors to explore and interact with the city.’’

Kerrie Sweeney, Chief Executive of Titanic Foundation, said: "We are delighted to sponsor this year’s Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival and are incredibly proud of the creative programme which showcases some of the very best in art and culture from local talent through commissions, installations and performances. It’s set to be a busy weekend along the Maritime Mile and we look forward to welcoming local residents and international visitors to celebrate our wonderful maritime heritage.”

Just beyond the Great Light on the Maritime Mile, is HMS Caroline, one of the finalists for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019. Step on board and explore one of the last remaining ships from the First World War. Discover the Captain’s cabins, get hands on with interactive exhibits or walk along the ship’s historic decks.

Sailortown’s St Joseph’s Church will house a special Maritime Heritage exhibition telling the stories of Sailortown's seamen in WW1. On Saturday 25 May, Barrow Square will host an afternoon of Belfast based Rock, Rhythm and Blues.

Getting to and from the festival couldn’t be easier – walk or cycle along the quaysides from Sailortown, Clarendon Dock to HMS Caroline. Additional cycle parking will be available across all sites.

Alternatively, hop on the Metro Glider from the city centre bringing you directly into the heart of Titanic Quarter or come by train to Yorkgate Station or Titanic Halt. There is no dedicated car parking for the event, but festival-goers are encouraged to use city centre car parks, those within Titanic Quarter or the NCP at Corporation Street.

For more event information and how to make the most of your visit to the Maritime Festival website here

Published in Tall Ships

The award-winning Irish Maritime festival is back. Taking place this weekend (16-17th June) in Drogheda Port, it’s a super-sized maritime celebration and it suitable for all ages. Hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in conjunction with Virgin Media, the event sees Drogheda’s busy working port converted into a weekend-long festival of all things maritime.

Parade of Sail: Friday 15th June, 12 noon

The whole event kicks off on Friday afternoon as the beautiful ships sailing to Drogheda Port. The ships muster at the mouth of the Boyne at noon and sail in a procession right up to the Town Quays. The best vantage point Is out at the Maiden’s Tower in Mornington where spectators have a birds-eye view of all the ships arriving.

Droghedas Magnificent Maritime Parade of SailDrogheda's Magnificent Maritime Parade of Sail

Tall Ships in Drogheda

There is a fantastic array of ships to look forward to this year. The Tall Ships include The Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, Johanna Lucrectia, The Keewaydin. They will be joined by three French Naval Vessels, the Altair, the Antares and the Aldebaran, each of whom will be available to board over the weekend.

"The Tall Ships include The Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, Johanna Lucrectia, The Keewaydin"

Back by very, very popular demand is the Liverpool-based tugboat the Brocklebank and her crew. They were such a hit last year, with queues to visit them both days, that it was just essential to bring them back again this year.

All ships will be open from 12.30 to 4.30pm, but it’s worth getting there early to ensure you don’t miss out. Festival gates open at 11.00am daily.

The Stowaway Sessions

(Friday 15th June and Saturday 16th June, 7.30pm)

2017 saw the inaugural “Stowaway Sessions” that the Irish Maritime Festival. Each night, the deck of the Earl of Pembroke played host to an intimate music gig with Drogheda’s historic Viaduct as the backdrop. 2018 sees the Stowaway Sessions return with two more incredible gigs – Friday night The Lost Brothers and Eve Belle and Saturday night Declan O’Rourke with Pilgrim Street. Tickets sold out in record time, but watch out for the 2019 progamme that will be announced in mid-April next year – the Stowaway Sessions are truly special gigs.

Maritime Education Zone

The Irish Maritime festival proper commences at 11am on Saturday morning as gates open to the public. Discover the Maritime Learning Zone which includes displays and crews from the RNLI, Inland Waterways Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and many others. Enjoy boat displays from Boyne Boats, Power Kites and Sand Yachts. Learn all about the sea and measures to protect our seas with the crew from 'Seastainability'.

"The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary will give two more teams of youngsters from Drogheda the chance to learn to sail"

Sailors in the Making

The Drogheda Sail Training Bursary will give two more teams of youngsters from Drogheda the chance to learn to sail as part of the Irish Maritime Festival 2018. Departing in the Sail Training vessel, The Brian Boru, each team will take part in a week-long voyage at sea to learn how to sail. The adventure not only teaches sailing skills but valuable life skills of teamwork, communications and compromise. This award-winning scheme has trained over 100 young sailors in the past 5 years.

Boyne Swim

The challenging Boyne Swim is back. Cheer on the 200+ brave Boyne swimmers as they race the 2.7km down the Boyne on Saturday afternoon. With visitors from all over Ireland and Europe, this is a hotly contested title.

Boat Races

Watch out for the elegant yachts as the race up the Boyne, competing in the Howth-Drogheda Yacht Challenge on Saturday.

Spot the beautiful little Water Wags as they sail under the bridges of Drogheda up to the Boyne Canal and historic Oldbridge House on Saturday morning. Then watch them race up and down the Boyne on Sunday.

The Festival Sounds Fabulous

Music is a huge part of the Irish Maritime Festival this year is no different. It will be rocking to the music from 2 live stages for 2018. The first, the Fleadh stage will showcase Trad musicians from across the region ahead of the Fleadh in August.

The Ballast Key Stage promises to get your heart racing with up-and-coming acts to surprise and delight. Hosted by Gerry Hodgers of The Purple Sessions in Boyle’s of Slane. His line-up of acts always impresses the Festival audience. Watch out for Declan Garry and The Skins and Hats on Saturday and Davina Brady and Gerry Simpson’s Gospel Choir and Fuzz Gigolo on Sunday. The full line-up of acts performing on the ballast key stage is available on www.Maritime

Fabulous Food at Droghedas Irish Maritime FestivalFabulous Food at Droghedas Irish Maritime Festival

Maritime Festival Tastes Delicious

Enjoy A Taste of Ireland’s Ancient East in the super-sized food zone at this year’s Irish Maritime festival. Hosted by Boyne Valley Flavours, this event is part of the Boyne Valley Food Series 2018. A series of cookery demos will include TV3’s Chef Tara Walker and local chefs from across the region. Meet the producers behind some of the most wonderful local food brands that you know and enjoy. Ticket your taste buds with tastings of different products and who knows you might even take something tasty home with you!

There’s So Much To See And Do!

All your family favourites are back at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018. Finn McCool’s Fairground has lots of fun rides to enjoy. The ever-popular Sand Shanty includes our giant sandpit on the big day, your chance to discover archaeological treasures. Be amazed by our magician. Test your response times in the Road Safety Authority simulators. Unleash your artistic talents in the art zone.

Capt. Martin Donnelly, Harbourmaster at Drogheda Port concludes “There are loads to see and do at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018, especially our fabulous line-ups of ships. It offers fun and activity for all ages. The Irish Maritime Festival is truly is a family-friendly event that showcases our all that’s great in this maritime town. We look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to visit Drogheda this weekend.”

The Irish Maritime Festival takes place on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June and is hosted by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port Company. The Festival is proudly sponsored by Virgin Media and supported by Flogas, Glanbia and Fáilte Ireland. For more information visit

The Irish Maritime Festival Details

Dates: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June 2018
Opening Hours: 11.00-18.00hrs (Ships open 12.30-16.30hrs)
Ticket Prices: Children under 12 Free (must be accompanied by an adult)
12 – 18-year-olds €3.00 Adults €8.00
Concessions* €5.00
* Concessions apply to students (with a valid student card), senior citizens (aged 60+), people with a disability and their carer.

Host: The Irish Maritime Festival is planned and managed by Louth County Council in conjunction with Drogheda Port and sponsored by Virgin Media
Animals: Service dogs are welcome however other animals are not permitted.
Ships: List of visiting ships:

Published in Drogheda Port

Dingle today is closely associated with superb hospitality, good food, the sporting entertainment of the biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, and the eternal sense of the nearby presence of the mighty Atlantic in one direction, and majestic mountains soaring to the peak of Mount Brandon in the other. Thus it is easy to overlook the fact that this remote yet spirited and independent port has a long history of interacting with the sea for fishing, international trade, and other intriguing activities writes W M Nixon.

The annual Dingle Maritime Weekend in the October Bank Holiday Weekend has been running for six years now to increase awareness of Dingle’s often colourful maritime past. It was established by Kevin Flannery of Dingle Oceanworld and former Harbour Master Captain Brian Farrell (whose tour of duty did so much to bring the harbour to its present healthy state), and the idea is to exlore aspects of that rich heritage, and how it relates to Dingle’s fascinating maritime environment today.


dingle poster final2

It’s held at the Oceanworld Aquarium and admission is free for three special talks spread in civilized style between the Saturday afternoon and early Sunday afternoon. Thus it’s a user-friendly format which means you can combine the usual multi-activity Dingle holiday weekend with some digestible maritime information. But of course with the varied audience which it usually attracts, all sorts of post-presentation conversations can happily arise. 

Dingle Maritime Weekend Programme, 28th and 29th October 2017 at Oceanworld Aquarium

SATURDAY 28th OCTOBER 14:00hrs

'The coast of Kerry in the 16th and 17th centuries: trade, ships, piracy and plunder.'
by Dr Connie Kelleher

The talk will draw on sources such as the High Court of Admiralty Papers, State Papers and other contemporary sources to illustrate episodes when the expansion of maritime empires meant that the diversity of goods traded encouraged smuggling, piracy and corruption. It will show that harbours like Dingle, Ventry and Valentia, rather than being remote, formed part of a network central to this global development in commercial shipping, colonial enlargement and associated growth in opportunistic plunder.

DR CONNIE HELLEHER is a member of the State Underwater Archeology Unit in the National Monuments Service Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Connie is a graduate of UCC with an MA in maritime archaeology and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin on the history and archaeology of piracy in Irish waters in the early 17th century. As a commercially trained diver, her work with the NMS is broad and focuses on the protection of Ireland's underwater cultural heritage. She is visiting lecturer in underwater archaeology in the Archaeology Dept UCC and is a Board member of the international advisory council on underwater archaeology. With several papers and chapters published on piracy in Irish waters, she is currently putting the final edit to her book: “Ireland's Golden Age of Piracy”.

SATURDAY 15:30 hrs
Irish Antarctic Expedition.

PADDY BARRY will give an illustrated talk on the Irish Antarctic Expedition which followed the survival route of Shackleton & Tom Crean by sea in a small boat and then over the mountains of South Georgia.

tom crean3The national hero from the Dingle Peninsula – Tom Crean in the Antarctic.

Tom Crean came from Annascaul on the Tralee to Dingle road, and is one of the Dingle Peninsula’s most internationally-noted historic figures (another is film star Gregory Peck).

Paddy Barry is a Civil Engineer, now retired, who has, during his working life, taken many 'career breaks' to sail to out of the way places, while at the same time somehow maintaining domestic relations on the home front. He lives in Monkstown, Dublin and has worked, apart from Ireland, in the UK, the USA, Malawi and Ethiopia. His first 'big' trip was to America, in the Galway Hooker ' Saint Patrick', followed in the same boat by journeys to Spitsbergen and later to North West Greenland.

paddy barry4High latitudes voyager and explorer Paddy Barry will celebrate the Dingle Peninsula’s links to Tom Crean

In a very much smaller boat he was Skipper of the Irish Antarctic team which followed in the wake of Shackleton's small boat journey. In 2001 he was Expedition Leader of the team who traversed the North West Passage in the vessel 'Northabout'.

Paddy in his sailing boat Ar Seachrán escorted Camino Thar Sáile on its first year of voyaging across the Irish Sea and the Channel to Europe.

Paddy’s talk will be followed by the Kerry Launch of his newly published autobiography, “So Far, So Good – An Adventurous Life”. Available to purchase here.

SUNDAY 29th October 12:30hrs

Smuggling in Dingle in the Eighteenth Century
Speaker Dr Conor Brosnan

DR CONOR BROSNAN will discuss smuggling in Dingle in the eighteenth century. He will explore the reasons, sources, methods and people involved in what was known as Free Trade. He will talk on the methods the authorities used to suppress smuggling and the legacy it left.

Dr Conor Brosnan is a local GP and a member of Dingle Historical Society. He has a deep interest and knowledge of the Dingle area and its history.

Published in Maritime Festivals

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. yesterday (Monday, 24th July) joined BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency and the North West Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) to announce over €500,000 in total investment for 22 distinctive coastal community based projects across the counties of Mayo and Sligo.

Co funded by the Exchequer and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the FLAG programme is implemented by 7 regional FLAG groups, with administrative support and animation provided by BIM. Over the duration of the programme from 2014-2020, the FLAG Programme will deliver €12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.

FLAG Northwest received an extensive range of applications from coastal community groups focusing on marine based tourism projects, maritime themed festivals, fishermen’s harbour development, maritime education and training, seafood and aquaculture based initiatives with a final 22 projects meeting the criteria of the FLAG programme that will deliver an overall investment of €545,000 and grant aid of €315,403.

Speaking at the announcement of the Northwest FLAG projects investment, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. highlighted the importance of enhancement of coastal communities; “I am delighted to be here today in Mulranny to announce FLAG Northwest support for 22 original, dynamic and creative projects generated by people and communities who are extremely passionate and committed to the future development of their coastal community. The Fisheries Local Action Group programme funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund is a vital support to rural Ireland and it’s obvious from the interest in the FLAG northwest that the approved projects will inspire future generations to see the economic and social benefits of our amazing marine resource and its related maritime industries’

BIM’s CEO, Jim O’Toole added, “It is wonderful to be in beautiful Mulranny on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for the announcement of FLAG Northwest with whom BIM have worked very closely with the primary aim of enabling members across Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim to tailor their strategy to meet the dedicated needs of the maritime community in this region. The North West is renowned for its seafood, fishing, aquaculture and of course marine tourism industry and activities and today’s announcement by Minister Ring of such a large and varied range of projects serves to highlight the commitment and value of the seafood and wider marine sector to these counties. I would especially like to thank and compliment the board of FLAG Northwest under the chair of Gerard Hassett for their excellent work to date”.

The FLAG Northwest strategy focuses on economic and coastal community development across Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim and aims to maximise co-operation amongst the counties, associated marine organisations while bringing to fruition the ethos of the FLAG strategy.

From the 22 approved FLAG Northwest projects, a number of unique projects have been selected from counties Mayo and Sligo which highlighted a number of the core values of the FLAG Strategy, coastal community development, infrastructure support of fishermen, maritime education in primary schools and marine tourism community festival:
Comhlacht Forbartha Aituil Acla.--Achill Experience

A Community Development Group in Achill which has availed of funding in the last programme to develop part of their existing building into an Aquarium. Achill is a popular Tourist destination and such an all weather Aquarium attraction would showcase Achill’s marine tourism experience while also delivering an enhanced visitor experience especially on a rainy day. Since opening in April 2016, 14,000 visitors went through the doors up to the end of the year and this will be increased in the current season. Under this round of Funding, CFAA have been successful and are now extending the Aquarium by 2000sq ft. The Fish exhibits all include fish and shellfish from the local waters around Achill and the Local Fishermen maintain the stocks especially with rare species many of which are unique to the area and have never been previously seen by the Public. They presently exhibit 3 very rare coloured lobsters.

Purteen Harbour Fishermens Group
A Group of Purteen Fishermen came together to develop facilities in their local harbour. They first availed of funding under the last programme to install a range of Story boards which tells the story of Shark and the Salmon Fishing in Achill. These were very important fisheries in the 1950’s to the early 1980’s which were part of a very strong and vibrant culture and heritage in Achill. The story boards are weather proof and are a very big tourist attraction to the area. This group have again being successful in securing funding to renovate an old Fishing Building to provide Refrigeration and Ice Making Facilities for the Fishing Community in the area. This is much needed infrastructure that will help to add value to the catches of the Fishermen and provide a facility for locally caught fresh fish. It will help to maintain Fishing jobs and add income from sales of fish that might otherwise have very little market opportunities.

St Patricks National School in Ballinful Co Sligo
The only National school in Ireland to teach their 3rd-6th classes sailing, St Patrick’s national School has been training their students in Sailing and Marine awareness over 30 years with the help of parents and local RNLI .The existing Boats are old and now have come to a stage where they were no longer fit for purpose and under the Northwest FLAG support, St Patricks national school have received funding to buy 6 new modern Pico Sail Vessels. The Students are receiving Lifelong skills and maritime sailing training which are accredited by the ISA and 2 students have gone on to making Sailing their Lifelong profession in teaching the skills they learnt at National School. Swimming classes are available at all levels in the school so that when students reach classes 3rd-6th they can become involved in the sailing training. This is an excellent example of a coastal National School that teaches Marine and Environmental awareness where they learn Lifelong skills that has the ability to result in future job creation.

The Chairman of FLAG Northwest, Gerry Hassett, says “FLAG Northwest showcases the diversity, innovation and influence of the marine sector across the coastal counties of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim such is the impact of the approved projects in their respective communities from fishing, infrastructure supports, community development, use of local coastal community resources and positive influence and impact on future generations in terms of education. 22 excellent projects have been approved by FLAG Northwest and they have a huge impact on their communities and will create direct and indirect employment in the sector. Such positive influence will enhance the maritime heritage of this region for many generations such is the appetite for FLAG Northwest in this region. The sea is a huge natural resource which brings many challenges to coastal communities but it also has a hugely positive influence in terms of innovation, enterprise, fishing, seafood, aquaculture and marine tourism. From the approved projects we also see many legacies for the future not least of all coastal communities working together to achieve great vision for the future and better local economies.”

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

The Irish Maritime Festival will be centre-stage on RTE Nationwide tonight at 7.00pm on RTÉ One as the full half-hour programme is dedicated to its recent staging at Drogheda Port on the River Boyne. It will feature the Boyne Swim, the visiting Tall Ships, the new Fiddle Case Pier, Drogheda’s Sail Training Bursary and all the colour of the festival.

Published in Maritime TV

The 200-boat Cork Harbour Festival’s Ocean to City coastal rowing race that has been shortened to begin at Blackrock to avoid the weekend's high winds.

Cork Harbour Festival grows each year, and its flagship event Ocean to City - An Rás Mor has received a record breaking entry for the fourth year in a row! Over 200 boats and 600 participants from Ireland, U.S, Holland and Great Britain, are set to descend on Cork City this weekend for Ireland’s premier rowing race on Saturday 10 June.

For the first time in Ocean to City’s history, there has been a significant change of race route, due to the high winds forecast for Cork Harbour on the day. As a sensational alternative to the Ocean to City route, participants will enter the water at Port of Cork to race a river route along the north shore to Blackrock Castle, and passing back on the southern shore along the Marina. Donagh MacArtain, Cork Harbour Festival Director said, “We are delighted to offer participants a beautiful river course, where in times past thousands supported the regattas of the day. It is because of the generosity of the rowing clubs at Blackrock, Lee and Shandon, and the support of the Port of Cork and Doyle Shipping, that we are able to offer this sheltered course to our local, national and international crews.” There will be viewing points at Lapp’s Quay, along the Marina and Blackrock Village for spectators to cheer the rowers and paddlers along the river route.

One enthusiastic crew of rowers, from Porthmadog Rowing Club, Wales, has spent the week rowing their Celtic Longboat along the coastline from Dublin and plan to row into Cork Harbour on Friday 9 June to participate in the race the next day. Richard Aherne, crew member of the ‘Mad Dogs’ said, “We have participated in Ocean to City for three years now, and we keep on coming back as we love the race and we love the people. It is a really friendly race, everyone is ready to help each other out. This year we decided to row down the coastline to Crosshaven from Dun Laoghaire as a warm-up.”

blackrock castleThe 200-boat Cork Harbour Festival’s Ocean to City coastal rowing race that has been shortened to begin at Blackrock to avoid the weekend's high winds.Photo: Bob Bateman

Seán Underwood and his crew will be rowing an unusual boat in Ocean to City, a 24ft ocean rowing boat, Liberty, built especially to be a record breaker. Sean said, “We're a 4 man crew from Cork who are very excited to participate in this year's race - it'll be our first race in our boat called Liberty. We are going to be setting out to break the transatlantic world record this December, rowing 5000km East to West, from La Gomera to Antigua.” Sean added, “I'm a doctor working in the ICU of the Mercy Hospital, my work demonstrates how fleeting life can be, and the phrase ‘everyone dies but not everyone lives’ has certainly stuck with me.”

The furthest travelled crew will be from Warwick, upstate New York, U.S. They will be borrowing an Irish boat for the race and Irish cox, Benny Deady, from East Ferry will support them.

This is the 13th 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 race goers, 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. The after-party celebrations kick off from 9pm along Albert Quay!

Soak up the buzz, mingle with crews and celebrate the 13th Ocean to City Race, Saturday June 10th!

Ocean to City – An Rás Mor is part of Cork Harbour Festival, organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The Festival is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Failte Ireland and MaREI, and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.

Published in Coastal Rowing

The Boyne Swim will once again headline the Irish Maritime Festival taking place in Drogheda Port this summer.

200+ competitors will take to the river Boyne to swim the 2.7km tidal route.

Ray Donagh of Drogheda Triathlon Club is one of the Boyne Swim organisers. He explains: "The Boyne Swim takes place at 12.50pm on Saturday 10th June. The first swimmers will pass by the Tall Ships of the Irish Maritime Festival about 25 minutes later with the first swimmer crossing the finish line by 1.25pm."

2016 saw the ever-popular local man and ex-Olympian Colin Lowth take the title. With a very strong start, he led the field all the way and was a very worthy winner. He was presented with the Drogheda Port Company Boyne Swim perpetual trophy designed by artist Ronan Halpin.

Now in its 4th year, the race has garnered a reputation for being tough but enjoyable. Ray explains “Swimmers taking part in Open Water Swimming will typically have spent the winter and spring training in the pool about 3 times per week averaging around 10 K. Open Water swimming by its very nature means swimming in water temperatures of 12 C to 15 C. Swimmers will begin acclimatising to the colder water temp with weekly swims in the sea, rivers and lakes over the next month.”

Swimmers from right across the country will flock to Drogheda for this challenging river swim. The Boyne swim even attracts visitors from across Europe. "This year we welcome swimmers from Germany, France and Sweden among other countries" continues Ray. "Staging the race allows us to forge relationships with swimming clubs in other countries and encourage them to visit the beautiful Boyne Valley and be part of the swim in the historic river Boyne".

To find out more about the race visit The Irish Maritime Festival is hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in association with Virgin Media. Find out more by visiting

Published in Drogheda Port

Volunteers are wanted for SeaFest 2017 to help make this year’s national maritime festival one to remember. The three day celebration will take place in Galway from 30 June to 2 July 2017. The Marine Institute, coordinating SeaFest on behalf of the Government Marine Coordination Group, is calling for volunteers to apply now.

Johnny Donnelly Managing Director of Arcana, the event management specialists appointed to stage SeaFest 2017, said, “Volunteers play an important role in making SeaFest 2017 a memorable event. Our volunteers are valuable members of our event team, as they assist in making the festival run smoothly and help ensure it is enjoyed by all visitors. “Volunteers have the opportunity to be part of a fantastic marine-themed festival,” Mr Donnelly said. “An action-packed programme of entertainment and attractions on and around the water is planned, which is sure to delight visitors of all ages and also encourage them to explore the wonders of our ocean.”

SeaFest raises awareness of the value and opportunities provided by the sea, and will include tours of ocean-going vessels, aquatic displays, interactive exhibitions, a seafood fair, as well as fun and educational activities for children.

To become a volunteer for SeaFest 2017 visit and complete the online application form. All volunteers must be aged 18 years or older. Volunteers must be available from 9am to 6pm and have the option to volunteer for one, two or the three days of the festival. Volunteers may also be selected for Garda Vetting.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under

The River Foyle was a blaze of colour yesterday as hundreds lined the quayside to bid farewell to the Clipper Race teams as they slipped lines and set sail for the penultimate stage of their global adventure.

It was an emotional send off after a week of celebrations as the city played host to the crew of the 12 yachts during their stopover in the city. Over 145,000 people are estimated to have enjoyed the packed programme of nautical themed activities during the Foyle Maritime Festival which took over the city from July 9-17.

The event concluded with a spectacular outdoor event on Saturday evening, the Voyage of Sunniva – Night of the Two Moons, an atmospheric performance featuring aerial performers, an illuminated flotilla of boats on the Foyle, fireworks and animation, retelling the story of the medieval maritime heroine Sunniva.

On Sunday the city turned out en masse to give the fleet a final send off after a memorable week for both the crew and the thousands who shared in the welcome celebrations, as they took part in a stunning Parade of Sail before their final departure.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Hilary McClintock, led the city in waving off the fleet as it made its way back up the Foyle to the official race start at Greencastle.

Speaking after the event Mayor McClintock said the festival had been a major success for the region. “It was a sad moment as we waved farewell to the Clipper Race fleet today after an eventful week of celebration. We have welcomed visitors from all over the world over the past week and it has been fantastic to see Derry~Londonderry profiled in such a positive way on a global platform. Once again we’ve demonstrated our ability to stage an international event generating substantial revenue for the local economy, and enhancing the region’s profile as an exciting and unique visitor destination.

“I’ve been told that the crew have really enjoyed their warm welcome and have been overwhelmed by the hospitality shown by local businesses and the people here. We have the opportunity now to build on the successes of the past few years in hosting events such as the Foyle Maritime Festival, and to explore our options in terms of utilising our many wonderful resources such as the River Foyle as part of a long-term tourism strategy for the future.

“I want to thank Council, Clipper Ventures, Foyle Port, the Loughs Agency, our sponsors and support agencies, as well as our citizens and visitors for making this such a special celebration for the city. Good luck to Daniel and all the Derry~Londonderry~Doire team in the final stages of the race – you have the support and best wishes of the entire district behind you.”

This is the third time the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has included Derry~Londonderry as a stopover city, and the celebrations around the visit have now become an established highlight of the city’s events programme, with plans currently being developed to host the Foyle Maritime Festival annually.

Festivals and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey said: “We are absolutely delighted that once again we have delivered a first class international events programme showcasing our beautiful city and reaching new audiences.

“The Clipper Race has certainly captured the imagination of local people and we’ve had amazing support from our local businesses and partners in staging the Festival, which has attracted fantastic visitor numbers this year.

“I’m looking forward now to exploring ways to build on the momentum created by the Maritime Festival in our future events, and ways to celebrate and showcase our beautiful district and our many exceptional visitor experiences.”

Clipper Race chairman and founder, Sir Robin Knox Johnston said “You can see what the race means to the people of Derry-Londonderry because thousands have lined the banks of the River Foyle to see the fleet off today and there was a huge cheer for every team as they left the marina. It’s just enormous and this stopover has got better every time we have come here. This has definitely been the best yet given the reception the crew have had here all week, it’s been fantastic to see the crowds and support! Frankly, you can’t help but enjoy it.”

The Clipper Race teams are now speeding their way to Den Helder in the Netherlands in the penultimate race in the year-long challenge, before they complete their journey arriving at the race finish in London on Saturday 30 July. The Derry~Londonderry~Doire team is currently second in the overall Clipper 2015-16 Race and in with a fighting chance of being placed among the top three teams having blazed a trail across the globe with an outstanding performance under the command of Skipper Daniel Smith.

Alison Boeree, who has competed in six of the eight legs of the race on board Derry~Londonderry~Doire said: “We have all had the best ever time here. Nothing else compares. When we walk around the city wearing our team kit, everyone would say hi and talk to us. We were made to feel very welcome, it was such a fantastic feeling.”

Mission Performance crew member Aaron Lomas says: “This has absolutely been the best stopover of my race experience. From the moment we arrived to the time we left, we have felt the profound kindness of the people of Derry-Londonderry and it really has made our experience extra special.”

Pawel Kepa, 28, from Poland who has visited every country on the Clipper 2015-16 Race route as a crew member on PSP Logistics says: “I absolutely loved the stopover here, the people were so welcoming. We had over a week so there was time to party, rest and get the boat ready. So far, I’ve noticed that the smaller cities like Derry-Londonderry really put on the best stopovers. Places like New York are cool on their own but people don’t know much about what we are doing whereas here we can sense how special it is to the city and the people. I’d never been to Northern Ireland before but I will definitely come back to explore some more, it’s beautiful and I still have so much to see.”

Published in Clipper Race
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