#SeaFest - The business of SeaFest was discussed at a special meeting in Galway City Hall last Thursday (3 May), which heard that Ireland’s largest maritime festival generated €6.9 million for the local economy in 2017.
“The ploughing championships for marine” is how Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan described the event and its ocean-themed activities set to attract more than 100,000 visitors to Galway form 29 June to 1 July.
“Galway Harbour will be a hub of activity for three days, featuring even more activities for children, aquatic displays, vessel tours, as well as exhibitions and entertainment,” Dr Heffernan added. “We will also be increasing our level of pre-event digital activity engaging with our online community with a range of educational and important stakeholder messages.
“Ireland’s marine infrastructure and resources will be on show, and visitors will also have the opportunity to celebrate our maritime history and discover more about our oceans. SeaFest also raises public awareness of the value of our marine resources and the economic benefits our ocean provides to Galway and all of Ireland’s coastal communities.”
Galway Port Company chair Maurice O’Gorman said he was “delighted to be able to open the port and provide a stage for such a wonderful event.”
Also pleased to take part is Bord Iascaigh Mhara. “This year, we plan to build on our popular BIM Seafood Experience with a range of activities that will give visitors, young and old, the opportunity to experience all elements of our diverse seafood industry and resource,” said BIM chief Jim O’Toole.
“From seafood cookery and fishmongery demonstrations in partnership with Bord Bia to a walk-in virtual reality stroll under the sea; our exhibition this year is more exciting than ever. Sustainability will be a key theme with informative exhibits including how fishermen around the coast are playing their part to reduce marine litter through BIM’s Fishing for Litter initiative.”
An additional attraction to the BIM Seafood Experience will be Joan Mulloy, a professional sailor and daughter of mussel producer Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Mussels who, with the support of BIM, is attempting to sail single handed in the challenging Soltaire du Figaro race in August.
Mulloy will be at SeaFest with her race boat promoting Ireland’s connection with the sea and the seafood producers on BIM’s Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey trail on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The popular Defence Forces display will return to Galway Harbour for SeaFest 2018. Commandant Paddy Sheahan said the Defence Forces are delighted to support the event, as the previous festivals in 2016 and 2017 were such a positive experience.
“SeaFest is a great opportunity for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to positively engage with members of the public, informing them of the Defence Forces relationship to the ocean, whether we are sailing on the high seas or high above it in our maritime patrol aircraft.”
In addition to these activities, SeaFest 2018 is also supported by Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Port of Galway, Galway Chamber, Irish Sailing, Údarás na Gaeltachta, The Village Salthill and Latin Quarter Galway.
Dr Heffernan said collaboration with event partners is key to the success of the national maritime festival.
“A unique aspect of SeaFest is the number of local, state and national agencies and organisations that come together to plan this event. It is a remarkable citizen-focus collaboration,” he added.
SeaFest 2018 coincides with the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, which recently confirmed former President Mary Robinson as its keynote speaker.