All is ship shape for harbour fest

All is ship shape for harbour fest
Siblings Hugo McCarthy (7) and Lilly McCarthy (5) celebrate the launch of Cork Harbour Festival, 3-11 June. Picture: Clare Keogh 

Sailing, kayaking, speed boating and much, much more – this year's Cork Harbour Festival has something for all watersport lovers.

Taking place between June 3 and 11, the festival features a jam-packed programme of events and is set to draw thousands of people to the banks of the lovely Lee.

Now in its third year, the event aims to highlight the important of the river and Cork Harbour as a natural and cultural resource, and celebrates Cork's growing maritime community.

It has quickly become the largest annual event in Cork Harbour, offering a nine-day celebration which features 60 events across 15 harbour towns and villages.

In terms of outdoor activities, there will be sailing, kayaking, speed boat trips, surfing, swimming, coasteering and stand-up paddle boarding. There will also be a seaweed foraging walk and a soothing mobile sauna.

Heritage buffs can explore the history of Cork harbour by visiting its ancient forts and heritage sites - Camden Fort Meagher will host an open weekend from June 3 to 5 while Roche's Point Lighthouse will host an open day on June 4.

There will also be a diverse range of walks and talks on offer, such as a food trail in the city, a photography safari along Cobh harbour, and an historical walking tour of Cobh itself.

But, of course, the festival's flagship event remains the Ocean to City – An Rás Mor. The country's premier rowing event will take place this year on Saturday, June 10.

The spectacle attracts hundreds of participants from all over the world, competing in everything from traditional wooden boats to currachs, kayaks, and Chinese dragon boats.

For the kiddies, the festival also offers events like water trampoling and orienteering, survival skills on Spike Island, crab fishing in Cobh, and learning to climb ropes like a pirate.

Festival manager, Joya Kuin, said the festival is getting bigger and better each and every year.

“The festival encompasses all that the harbour has to offer the visitor and local alike, packed full of heritage, culture, stories, water activities, people and communities and lots of fun and memories in the making,” she said.

“The festival celebrates Cork Harbour as a natural and cultural resource, with the communities and their stories at the heart of it.” The full festival programme of over 60 events will be available online from 9 May at www.corkharbourfestival.com. 

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