15 May 2016
By Elaine Murphy
Oh BUOY! Get ready for a carnival of maritime culture as thousands of visitors descend on this year’s Cork Harbour Festival. Now in its second year, the festival presents a fresh perspective on everything the Harbour has to offer through a programme of over 50 unique and fun-filled events.
The festival begins with the Ocean to City – An Rás Mór on Saturday June 4. This year marks the 12th edition of this iconic race, which sees over 150 hardy crews take to the water for the gruelling 28km route from Roche’s Point to Cork’s city centre. As a premier event in Irish and international rowing, the Ocean to City attracts crews from all over Europe. The race features over 30 different types of craft, from traditional Irish currachs, to Chinese dragon boats and stand-up paddle boards! Spectators can soak up the colour and festivities in many places along the race route, including Cobh, Monkstown, Passage West and Blackrock. Follow the race route by bike with the Harbour Pedal, bring a picnic to Passage, or enjoy thrilling acrobatics from Funky Fidelma and street performers at the finish line. Mingle with the many crews and treat yourself to a range of foodie delights at the festival market.
Cork Harbour Open Day on June 5 offers kayaking, surfing and coasteering tasters in East Cork, family adventure in Spike Island, crab fishing fun in Cobh, and historical re-enactments at Camden Fort Meagher. Turn a weekend stroll into a bird watching walk, get behind the scenes of the Irish Navy with a naval ship tour, or discover the work of ocean energy researchers at the MaREI Centre, Ringaskiddy.
Cork Harbour Festival aims to bridge the distance from city to sea through a programme that encourages people to discover the region. Festival Director Donagh MacArtain says, “The festival highlights the importance of the River Lee and Cork Harbour as a natural and cultural resource, and celebrates the communities and organisations at the heart of it. This year’s programme has something for everyone, whether you like to get active and get outdoors, are a regular or first time ‘boatie’, want fresh ways to enjoy some fun with the family, or want to soak up the harbour’s history and folklore.’’
The Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. We are sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Failte Ireland and MaREI, and the whole thing is made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.