#TALL SHIPS RACES - 'First Mate' Keith Duffy joined Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and new Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí on the first day of this year's Tall Ships Races to announce details of the spectacular line-up for the free four-day festival in Dublin from 23-26 August.
Up to 50 magnificent tall ships will sail into Dublin Port, the final host port in the race, for what promises to be Ireland’s biggest festival of the summer.
“It’s great to see the Tall Ships Races back in Ireland again, following a highly successful visit last year," said Minister Varadkar.
Local organisers Dublin City Council and the Dublin Port Company have programmed an impressive entertainment line-up to cater for all tastes.
Mary Weir, project manager for the Tall Ships Races 2012 Dublin, said: “We are expecting over one million visitors to attend the festival and we want to make sure there is entertainment to suit everyone.
"We have designed a captivating and exciting line-up of entertainment with everything from food theatres and markets, imaginative children’s areas, a Family Zone, an impressive music line-up with Ash and The Undertones already confirmed, parades, street performances, literary trails and an Urban Street Culture and Watersport Zone.
"We are taking over the quays both North and South and the Docklands for four days. In fact the entertainment offering is so vast we anticipate people visiting the festival over several days to get the most out of all that is on offer - and the best part is that it is all free."
The festival will also be a celebration of Dublin’s maritime history, with the CHQ Building at George's Dock hosting an exhibition programme that will include beautiful black-and-white images of the docks through the ages courtest of the Dublin Dockers Preservation Society.
Meanwhile, an explosion of colour and celebration is sure to draw huge crowds as up to 1,800 Tall Ship crew members from all over the world will take part in a parade up the quays on Friday 24 August from 3pm-5pm.
The crews will move up the quays in song and celebration to the Custom House where an awards ceremony will take place, acknowledging the incredible journey they will begin on 9 July when they depart from St Malo in France.
The overall winner of the Tall Ships Races 2012 will be revealed along with the winner of Sail Training International’s Friendship Trophy, awarded following a secret ballot in which captains vote for the ship and crew that they believe has done the most to further international friendship and understanding, the main ethos of the event.
Then on Sunday 26 August at 11am, the River Liffey will come alive as the Tall Ships prepare to depart and sail out of the capital in a stunning parade of sail as one of the key highlight of the weekend’s entertainment.
Organisers are also still seeking volunteers to jump onboard and get involved in the festival.
Up to 1,000 volunteers are required for the Tall Ships Races 2012 Dublin to give visitors the warmest of welcomes, help create a great atmosphere and an experience they will never forget. Log onto www.dublintallships.ie/volunteers for more information.
For more details visit www.dublintallships.ie or 'like' the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dublintallships to be in with a chance to win a trip of a lifetime for a loved one abroad to celebrate the Tall Ships Races in Dublin.