26 May 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Cork Harbour Festival, taking place June 4-12, features a great programme of watersport tasters and river tours guaranteed to get your summer off to an adventurous start!
Take your pick of sailing, kayaking – by day or night, surfing, and stand-up paddle boarding. Atlantic Offshore Adventure hosts ‘SUPing in the City’ at Lee Fields on June 11th. For first timers, owner Aileen Mann says, “You have to take your time stepping out of your comfort zone, there’s no pressure to achieve a new skill. We want to give everyone a chance to try something new, experience the city from a different perspective, and simply get out there and give it a go!”
Swell Surf School in Inch Beach, East Cork, will host ‘Surf & Sunsets’ on June 5th. Owner, Luke Chambers says, “We get a mix of customers from every walk of life, from bankers and corporate CEOs, to 8-year old beginners, to retirees looking for the ultimate buzz. Recently there has been a huge influx of tourists, which is awesome.” As for the first time experience, he says “beginners are always amazed that something so simple can give them so much. They’re always beaming from ear to ear and can’t wait to come back. When surfing for the first time I was afraid of the sea, but if you stay with it, it will keep calling you back.”
For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, the ‘Festival Cruise’ to Crosshaven, an annual highlight, takes place on Friday June 10th. The ‘Night Time Kayak’ with Cork Kayak Tours on June 7th presents a unique opportunity to experience the River Lee by night. On shore, Cork Nature Network and zoological expert Suzanne Burns present an Estuary Bird Walk along Mahon Point on Sunday June 5th. A renowned researcher, Suzanne presents a guide to the identification and lifecycles of the harbour’s sea and wading birds.
The festival brochure is the perfect way to navigate your festival week, whether you decide to get outdoors, enjoy the spectacle, have some family fun, or visit the festival’s many ‘discovery day’ events. Festival Manager Joya Kuin says, “Festival week presents lots of opportunities to learn about our city and harbour. We have a fantastic lunchtime lecture series with the UCC History Department in St. Peter’s Church, Salty Stories Storytelling, and Cork Ghost Tours will run a special Haunted Harbour Tour!” The full festival programme of over 50 events is available online at www.corkharbourfestival.com