#SpectatorStand - Looking back on the fifth Dublin Port Riverfest held over the June bank holiday the Liffey event attracted record crowds thronging the North Wall Quay, writes Jehan Ashmore.
On the Saturday alone a record 41,500 visitors attended out of an estimated 100,000 that were expected to the festival that coincided with mostly favourable weather! This was no doubt an added bonus for those boarding the customary line-up of tallships.
The free-admission tallships totalling eight included schooners which kept the crews busy. Among them was notably the replica Russian tallship Shtandard and the festival highlight of the 'Parade of Sail'.
In addition to dry-land based retro drive-in movies and a children's entertainment zone that featured a rock-climbing wall... Perhaps this will assist those budding sailors to climb the rigging!
As for dignitaries, Lord Mayor of Dublin and Honorary Admiral of Dublin Port, Brendan Carr officially opened the festival that saw people of all ages gather for the tallships and quayside marquees where food outlets were available as part of a newly expanded festival site.
Also new for Riverfest was a purpose-built spectator stand that was a novel feature for an Irish maritime festival. The stand was especially erected to overlook the tallships, the flyboarding antics of Jet Man and of course those ThunderCats!... as previously covered here on Afloat.
This was Thundercats Dublin debut which saw these high speed craft race daily. Crowds were drawn to include those viewing from the aforementioned spectator stand as the boats whizzed on the Liffey. Almost directly to the rear of this temporary structure stands the looming presence of the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Ireland, see related river-restaurant ship story.
Also on hand for Riverfest goers were water-based activities, from stand up paddle boarding (SUP-ing) to sailing and kayaking. In addition from the pontoon located next to the Tom Clarke toll bridge there were boat tours of the river providing an alternative on the water experience.