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.
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.”
Tours of the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Explorer and the Commissioner of Irish Lights’ ILV 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.