Wednesday 21 August 2019

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Let’s make Seafest’s return a success

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019 5:08pm

Seafest returns to Cork this week after a three year stay in Galway, which had seen it grow each year. The maritime festival will dock in Cork for the next three years from 2019-2021. It was originally held in Cork in 2015 before setting sail for the west of Ireland.

Ireland's national maritime festival has become a very popular event. SeaFest has grown in attendance each year, with the festival attracting more than 100,000 visitors in 2017 and again in 2018.

It was reported that the 2018 event generated more than €6.5 million for Galway.

Galway wished to keep Seafest in the city, but Cork wrested it back. It’s a great opportunity for Cork to establish a greater connection with its ancient maritime culture and have a busy and vibrant festival in the city.

Dr John Killeen, Chairman of the Marine Institute told the Galway Advertiser that the event had grown from “from 5,000 visitors to more than 100,000 visitors in three years”.

Can Cork improve on or surpass that?

In this week’s issue, we take a look at some of the events taking place during the festival, of which there are many, over 100 in fact.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn told us this week that “‘a safe harbour for ships’ is Cork’s motto and forms a centre-piece of our coat of arms. The sea, the river, the harbour are all intrinsic to what we are as a city and who we are as a people. SeaFest is a public celebration of that and will help connect communities with the water.”

Back in October, after it was announced that it would return to Cork, he said: “There is no better fit for Seafest than Cork, given the depth and reach of its maritime history and the significance of activities at the Port of Cork in terms of business, tourism and recreation.”

That’s all very true and I hope the city does take the chance to embrace it. Over 100 events are taking place from 7-9 June and organisers expect 100,000 visitors to attend.

Awareness of the event may not be as high as organisers had hoped however. The proximity of the recent elections, the recount and the expansion of the city boundaries may have taken some of the focus off it.

There will be a wide variety of events including a food strand featuring cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Neven Maguire, Rory O'Connell and Martin Shanahan.

Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack will be present to discuss weather changes and warnings at the Marine Institute marquee.

There are many ecological components including Bord Iascaigh Mhara's never-before-seen Clean Oceans' visitor experience, raising awareness of plastic in our oceans. Wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, who has worked with David Attenborough for many years, will do a series of talks at the festival. There will also be a screening the of the RTÉ series ‘Ireland’s Deep Atlantic’.

There will also be vessel trips, music performances, a kids zone, seminars, displays and an education strand. People can try sailing or rowing a currach or dragon boat too!

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