Thousands of visitors turned up in Galway today for the first day of SeaFest. If today's figures are anything to go by and forecasts are right, this year's SeaFest is set to be 'the biggest and most spectacular' sea festival ever staged in Ireland.
The national maritime festival is in Galway this weekend (Friday June 30th to Sunday July 2nd) with a packed programme of free, family friendly activities and entertainment on offer for all ages.
A relative new comer to the festival scene, SeaFest is only in its third year, but it has already inspired the hearts and minds of many. Having grown from a relatively small event, attracting 10,000 visitors in 2015, it is now one of the biggest family friendly festivals of its kind in the country, and is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 to Galway over the weekend.
Famous ships, flyboarding, sensational seafood and Defence Force displays drew the crowds to the opening day of SeaFest. Galway Harbour has been transformed into a giant, interactive "sea world" with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity for the festival. Every inch of the port is crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships. Visitors can climb aboard and explore the tall ship The Phoenix, the Irish naval vessel LÉ Ciara, the Commissioners of Irish Lights Granuaile and the Marine Institute's research vessel the Celtic Explorer. Free sailing and kayaking sessions are also on offer to get people out on the water and amongst Galway's ship-filled harbour. The Irish Sailing Association's 'Try Sailing' sessions are also offering disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend.
World's Ladies Flyboard champion Kristen Smoyer and New Zealand's Beau Weston, champion flyboarder and extreme sports expert, are stunning crowds with their breath-taking aerial acrobatics as they swirl in the air on pump-powered jet packs in the heart of the harbour.
BIM and Bord Bia are showcasing the finest of Irish seafood and hosting live cookery and fishmongery demonstrations with top chefs Rory O'Connell, Oliver Dunne and Michael O'Meara. LookWest.ie are presenting a line-up of talks and displays from marine-inspired entrepreneurs. There is traditional boat building, RNLI and Coast Guard air and sea rescue demonstrations and kids were busy creating their own sea creatures and exploring the deep sea in the Kids Zone. Roving seafaring entertainment including sword-fighting buccaneers, the colourful and comic 'Claddagh Clan', and giant sea-themed puppets exploding onto the street add to the exciting carnival atmosphere.
The festival also features the Wild Atlantic- Sea Science, a new marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, and a unique exhibition on polar explorer Roald Amundsen at NUI Galway. Festivities will also extend across Galway, with activities taking place in the Latin Quarter, Salthill and Rusheen Bay.
SeaFest will continue over the weekend, with activities taking place from 10am to 6pm each day.
For more information visit www.seafest.ie
Photos have been issued to photo desks.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact
Sinéad Coyne 0879477090