Businesses on board for SeaFest 2018 with €7m for local economy

Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute, Gary McMahon, Acting Director of Services, Galway City Council and Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM at the stakeholders of SeaFest 2018 meeting at Galway’s City Hall. Photograph Xposure Andrew Downes

The business of Seafest was discussed at a special meeting in Galway City Hall on Thursday, 03rd  May 2018. Ireland’s largest maritime festival generated €6.9m for the local economy in 2017 and organisers are predicting a similar return for businesses and traders this year.

An insight into the exciting ocean-themed attractions and activities planned for SeaFeast 2018 were also outlined with Marine Institute CEO Dr. Peter Heffernan describing the event as “the ploughing championships for marine.”

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend SeaFest from 29 June to 1 July, and with details of the programme revealed, organisers say locals and visitors alike are in for a spectacular maritime treat.

Dr. Heffernan said he is confident that SeaFest will be even better again this year.  “Galway Harbour will be a hub of activity for three days, featuring even more activities for children, aquatic displays, vessel tours, as well as exhibitions and entertainment. We will also be increasing our level of pre-event digital activity engaging with our online community with a range of educational and important stakeholder messages.

“Ireland’s marine infrastructure and resources will be on show, and visitors will also have the opportunity to celebrate our maritime history and discover more about our oceans. SeaFest also raises public awareness of the value of our marine resources and the economic benefits our ocean provides to Galway and all of Ireland’s coastal communities,” Dr Heffernan said.

Chairman of the Port Company, Mr. Maurice O’Gorman said: “SeaFest is a marvelous festival, unquestionably the best of its kind in the country. It’s going to be brilliant weekend of spectacle and family-friendly entertainment and we are delighted to be able to open the port and provide a stage for such a wonderful event.”

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) CEO Jim O’Toole said BIM is delighted to be play a key role in SeaFest 2018;  “This year, we plan to build on our popular BIM Seafood Experience with a range of activities that will give visitors, young and old, the opportunity to experience all elements of our diverse seafood industry and resource. From seafood cookery and fishmongery demonstrations in partnership with Bord Bia to a walk-in virtual reality stroll under the sea; our exhibition this year is more exciting than ever. Sustainability will be a key theme with informative exhibits including how fishermen around the coast are playing their part to reduce marine litter through BIM’s Fishing for Litter initiative.

An additional attraction to the BIM Seafood Experience will be Joan Mulloy, a professional sailor and daughter of mussel producer Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Mussels, who with the support of BIM, is attempting to sail single handed in the challenging Soltaire du Figaro race in August. Joan will be at SeaFest with her race boat promoting Ireland’s connection with the sea and the seafood producers on BIM’s Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey trail on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Galway Chamber is once again delighted to welcome Sea Fest 2018 to Galway. Speaking of the event, President of Galway Chamber Dave Hickey said that the opportunity to welcome 100,000 visitors to Galway while showcasing all we have to offer within the blue economy is hugely significant for Galway and the region. He added that the addition this year of Galway’s European Region of Gastronomy designation would be outstanding in terms of food and tourism.

In addition to activities from BIM and the Department of Defence, SeaFest 2018 is also being supported by Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Port of Galway, Galway Chamber, Irish Sailing, Údarás na Gaeltachta, The Village Salthill and Latin Quarter Galway.

Dr. Peter Heffernan said collaboration with the event partners is key to the success of the national maritime festival. “A unique aspect of SeaFest is the number of local, state and national agencies and organisations that come together to plan this event. It is a remarkable citizen-focus collaboration.”

SeaFest 2018 will be held in Galway from 29 June to 1 July 2018.  For more information on SeaFest visit and follow SeaFest on Facebook and Twitter.