Thousands of visitors will flock to Galway this weekend for what is expected to be the “biggest and most spectacular” sea festival ever staged in Ireland. The national maritime festival, SeaFest, returns to Galway, Friday June 30th to Sunday July 2nd with a packed programme of free, family friendly activities and entertainment on offer for all ages.
A relative new comer to the festival scene, SeaFest is only in its third year, but it has already inspired the hearts and minds of many. Having grown from a relatively small event, attracting 10,000 visitors in 2015, it is now one of the biggest family friendly festivals in the country, and is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 to Galway this weekend.
Visitors can enjoy famous ships, flyboarding, seafood, sailing and lots more as Galway Harbour and docks transforms into a giant, interactive “sea world” for the three day festival with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity. Every inch of the port will be crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships. Visitors can climb aboard and explore the tall ship The Phoenix, the Irish naval vessel LÉ Ciara, the Commissioners of Irish Lights Granuaile and the Marine Institute’s research vessel the Celtic Explorer. Free sailing and kayaking sessions will get people out on the water and amongst Galway’s ship-filled harbour. The Irish Sailing Association’s ‘Try Sailing’ sessions will also offer disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend.
For the first time ever Galway will see the world’s Ladies Flyboard champion Kristen Smoyer and veteran Mark Baxter in action, powering through the air on swirling jets of seawater and performing breath-taking acrobatics in a number of thrilling performances planned each day over the festival.
BIM and Bord Bia will host a showcase of the finest of Irish seafood and live cookery and fishmongery demonstrations with top chefs Rory O’Connell, Oliver Dunne and Michael O’Meara. LookWest.ie will present a line-up of talks and displays from marine-inspired entrepreneurs. There’ll be traditional boat building demonstrations, a huge display from the Defence Forces and RNLI and Coast Guard air and sea rescue demonstrations. There’s plenty of fun activities for children of all ages in the dedicated Kids Zone including the Seven Seas Art Workshop, the Sea Sanctuary Zone and a touch tank of marine animals to name a few. Roving seafaring entertainment including sword-fighting buccaneers, the colourful and comic ‘Claddagh Clan’, and giant sea-themed puppets exploding onto the streets will all add to the exciting carnival atmosphere.
The festival also features the Wild Atlantic- Sea Science, a new marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, and a unique exhibition on polar explorer Roald Amundsen at NUI Galway. Festivities will also extend across Galway, with activities taking place in the Latin Quarter, Salthill and Rusheen Bay.