Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Foyle Maritime Festival

The Loughs Agency said it was delighted to welcome Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, to its zone at the Foyle Maritime Festival recently.

The minister was able to spend some time with the staff and experience the agency’s ‘Marine Machine’, which featured a critters’ pond, biodiversity area and a life-size basking shark.

Among the critters were crabs and a lobster, while the biodiversity area highlighted some of the hidden hazards that can be found within our catchments and beyond.

The Loughs Agency also debuted its ‘VR Experience’ at the maritime festival. The short video took users on a journey along the River Foyle past the Craigavon and Peace Bridges before diving underwater where the famous ‘Dopey Dick’ whale and a basking shark awaited.

Minister McConalogue said: “I had great pleasure visiting the Foyle Maritime Festival and had the opportunity to attend the Loughs Agency zone at the festival and meet the team.

“The Marine Machine and VR Experience are very impressive in promoting the importance of conservation and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford catchments.

“It was great to see the family-focused activities provided by Loughs Agency based on the River Foyle, ensuring enjoyment for the whole family.”

Loughs Agency interim chief executive Sharon McMahon added: “Firstly, on behalf of the Agency I'd like to extend a huge thank you to the minister for taking the time to come and visit our zone. It was a great opportunity to showcase our contribution to the Foyle Maritime Festival and we thoroughly enjoyed having Mr McConalogue as our guest.

“It was also brilliant to be able to highlight our ongoing work in providing sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

“The Marine Machine and VR experience are just the latest in a long line of projects for Loughs Agency, particularly when it comes to promoting positive biodiversity.”

Published in Maritime Festivals

Apart from a half hour of torrential rain at midday yesterday, the Foyle Maritime Festival ran smoothly till around 6 pm and then due to Health and Safety concerns had to end its programme of events. A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that due to torrential rain on Saturday evening (23rd July) and to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff, the Foyle Maritime Festival was closed early.

Hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to Derry City for the four days of the Festival, with the Clipper Round the World fleet at the Marina for its penultimate stopover being a huge attraction.

The Clipper Round the World fleet at Foyle MarinaThe Clipper Round the World fleet at Foyle Marina

The Met Office had issued a yellow weather warning for Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland from midday until 21:00 BST and Police advised drivers in the Foyle area of hazardous driving conditions due to flooding.

The BBC reported that the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has said six people were rescued during the heavy flooding in the Londonderry and Strabane areas. One person was rescued from a vehicle in water, while five people trapped in flooded properties were also rescued. Further heavy rain is expected today.

The Festival will reopen at 12 noon today (Sunday), conditions being favourable, and the Clipper Race Parade of Sail will commence at 1 pm.

Published in Maritime Festivals

The Foyle Maritime Festival makes its highly anticipated return to the banks of the River Foyle next week alongside the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the maritime festival, with the landmark event set to take place from Wednesday 20 to Sunday 24 July following a three-year hiatus.

Visitors from across the world will descend on Ireland’s only Walled City for a programme packed with entertainment, activities and interactive events.

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘What Lies Beneath’, which focuses on the natural beauty of our oceans, rivers and lakes and the responsibility we have to protect this aquatic wonderland by shining a light on critical environmental issues and the impact of climate change.

The festival itself will feature spectacular large-scale props including an 18-metre-long whale, illuminated jellyfish and giant sea urchins.

Get up close with Qingdao and other Clipper Race yachts at the marinaGet up close with Qingdao and other Clipper Race yachts at the marina

Punters can also look forward to an awe-inspiring display of light, sound, and performance, as well as a thrilling explosion of fireworks across the River Foyle.

The Queen’s Quay will be transformed into a hub of maritime magic, with various water activities, boat tours, food trails, workshops and live music planned. Disability access will also be provided by Foyle Sailability for a more inclusive experience, as previously reported on

The Loughs Agency will have a visible presence during the festivities, with a special marine-themed zone dedicated to educating and informing people of their duties through an immersive VR experience and an interactive trailer complete with a life-size basking shark and touch tank.

Meanwhile, the Foyle riverfront will become an international marina as the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is welcomed back for a fifth time.

Now in its 12 edition, this remarkable race is taken on by ordinary people who are pushed to their limits to achieve the extraordinary. Consisting of a gruelling 40,000-nautical-mile race around the world on a 70-foot racing yacht, visiting 15 ports over six continents in eleven months, the Clipper Race is an endurance test like no other.

The fleet is expected to arrive at the Maiden City from noon this Wednesday 13 July.

Published in Maritime Festivals

Foyle Sailability has been confirmed to return as a water-based activity provider for this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival.

This is the third year Foyle Sailability has been involved in the maritime festival, with bookings now available for sailing sessions along the River Foyle on Wednesday 20 July and Sunday 24 July from 10am-3pm.

Foyle Sailability is a cross-border voluntary organisation provides opportunities for sailing and other water sports to people with disabilities, with the help of specialised equipment and boats and guidance from qualified volunteers.

The organisation’s secretary Ken Curry commented: “We’re delighted to be part of the Foyle Maritime Festival once again and hope many people will join us for some fun and informative sailing sessions.

Bookings are now available for sailing sessions along the River Foyle on Wednesday 20 July and Sunday 24 July from 10am-3pm | Credit: Foyle SailabilityBookings are now available for sailing sessions along the River Foyle on Wednesday 20 July and Sunday 24 July from 10am-3pm | Credit: Foyle Sailability

“We welcome participation from anyone with a disability or those who face severe disadvantages — whether you have any on-the-water experience or not.

“In the short term, we are giving people with disabilities the chance to take to the water themselves, with expert help. In the longer term, we want to offer the kind of support which enables those of us with disabilities to aspire towards the highest levels of sailing or water sport skills.”

Limited spaces are available for the water activities at the Foyle Maritime Festival. Bookings can be made via Eventbrite.

The Foyle Maritime Festival returns this summer for the first time since 2018, alongside the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet. The five-day event runs from 20-24 July, with thousands of people from all over the world expected to attend. The festival is supported by the Loughs Agency in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Visit Derry and Tourism NI.

Published in Maritime Festivals

The Loughs Agency says it welcomes the news that Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee have endorsed the proposal to host the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2022.

Northern Ireland was previously scheduled to host the Clipper fleet in Derry last summer but those plans were scuppered with the postponement of the race amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency chief executive, said: “As an organisation that cares deeply about the Foyle and its surrounding areas, Loughs Agency is delighted to welcome the Foyle Maritime Festival and Clipper Race back to our doorsteps in 2022.

”The number of local people getting involved in water-based activities is steadily on the rise, and this festival gives us the opportunity to showcase our picturesque rivers and loughs to an international audience, thus aiding in the development of marine tourism.

“We look forward to playing a role in supporting the festival and using the opportunity to highlight the social, economic and environmental benefits of the Foyle and our rivers in general.”

Speaking at a recent Business and Culture Meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council, head of culture Aeidin McCarter said: “If you look back to 2018, the last Foyle Maritime Festival attracted almost 211,000 attendees, achieving over 19,000 bed nights and an estimated economic impact of at least £2 million for the local economy.

”That gives an idea of the significance of the Festival and the Clipper Race in terms of its capacity to draw visitors from all over the world as well as international media coverage of all the North West has to offer.

“Needless to say, we are delighted to resume our partnership with Clipper Ventures, and we hope that, circumstances permitting, we will be able to adapt and deliver on the plans which came to such an abrupt halt last year.”

Published in Clipper Race

#MaritimeFestivals - How often have you admired the River Foyle but wondered what the walled city must look like from out on the water? Whether it’s swimming across it, flying above it or sailing along it, your options are endless at this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival.

Opportunities abound thanks to the packed programme put together by the Loughs Agency in association with Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Kevin Wilson, Director of Development with the Loughs Agency said: “The Loughs Agency is looking forward to the Maritime Festival as an opportunity to highlight the potential of the Foyle for the development of marine tourism. A range of exciting trips and taster sessions has been arranged, in partnership with local activity providers, to showcase what can be enjoyed on the river (canoeing, sailing, paddle boarding)!”

First up is the Foyle Safari from July 14 – 21. Three times a day, Inish Adventures is offering river safaris to take in the historic sights of Derry – from the river, of course - in two large open canoes accommodating up to 24 people. Or you can join them for a sailing taster session under the guidance of experienced instructors for either a group or individual activity.

Far and Wild are offering two very different experiences on the water. The Foods of the Foyle tour will travel by canoe along Lough Foyle on a two hour historical and gastronomical tour which will include a wild camping experience as well as savouring local produce. Alternatively, the stand up paddle board yoga sessions will see you swap a yoga mat for a paddle board – but no experience of either yoga or stand up paddle boarding is required. All you need is an open mind to try something new. Both activities depend on the tide but pre-booking is essential.

If you’re not content with just being on the water and would prefer to be in the water, City of Derry Swimming Club has organised a swim in the River Foyle with around 100 participants taking to the open water on the penultimate day of the Festival, July 21st.

For the ultimate ‘getting away from it all’, join Foyle Paddlers on the evening of Thursday, July 19th for the festival favourite ‘Twilight Paddle’. Deck your canoe and yourself with lights and glow sticks and illuminate the river as part of a large group that receives a great welcome at the marina. There are just two departures, at 7 pm and 8.30 pm, so booking is essential.

Even if you’re not feeling adventurous enough to try out some of the trips, you can still experience life on-board a boat by taking in the Clipper 70 Experience (over 18s only) or the free Clipper 2017-18 Race Fleet Open Boat tour where crew members will give tours and talk about their time sailing the ocean waves.

Two of the Tall Ships will also be docked along the riverside for anyone who wants to enjoy an older style of sail. The Phoenix, star of countless TV and movie productions, returns while the Kaskelot makes its Foyle Maritime Festival debut. Visitors can explore the ‘mini museum’ while finding out what skills it takes to sail and maintain such a ship. The crew will be on hand to answer questions.

Jessie Atkinson, Ship Operations Manager, said: “We are very excited to be bringing Kaskelot to Foyle for the Maritime Festival 2018. It is a particular treat to be coinciding with a stopover for the Clipper Race yachts, an opportunity to see traditional and modern sailing vessels side by side. We look forward to dropping our gangway and opening for visitors – see you there!”

But if you really can’t be convinced to set foot on a boat, then enjoy watching the Foyle River Races from dry land. This new and exciting event has been developed for the festival by the Loughs Agency in partnership with rowing, canoeing, sailing and open water swimming clubs across the Foyle area. Live commentary will be provided for each of the races with Prize Giving Events in the Festival Village afterwards.

Or for the ultimate spectator sport, what about watching adrenaline junkies soar into the sky on their jet packs? Some of the world’s finest flyboard riders will cruise through the air along the riverfront from Thursday 19th until Sunday 22nd.

Flyboard Fun said: “We are thrilled and honoured to be a part of the Foyle Maritime Festival 2018 and we cannot wait to see the excitement in people’s eyes, seeing us jet up to the sky, soar through the air and high-five people in the crowd. We like to ‘involve’ the visitors so that they too feel part of the show.”

After the exhaustion of all that activity – or spectating – you can collapse on the beach; the city beach, that is, which will be located along the quay so don’t forget to bring a bucket and spade!

Helena Hasson, Festival Co-ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: “Foyle Maritime Festival promises to put the spotlight on our magnificent River Foyle and there is a packed programme of activities to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy our greatest asset. With a range of free and low-cost events appealing to a wide age-range, there is always something to appeal in the festival programme which you can find on our website.”

Please check the festival website here for information on start times, durations, prices and booking tickets for all events. Note that a minimum age restriction may apply in the interests of safety and supervision. Pre-booking is highly recommended.

Published in Maritime Festivals