50,000 for final day of festivities of SeaFest

50,000 for final day of festivities of SeaFest. Picture Andrew Downes, XposureA cool sea breeze carried crowds to SeaFest, as the festival came to a close today in Galway. World-record kite surfer, crafts for kids, cookery and kayaking were just some of the activities on offer for Ireland's largest maritime festival, taking place in Galway this weekend.

Today, Sunday 1st July, attracted the largest number of visitors ever to SeaFest, with over 50,000 visitors flocking to Galway Harbour and Docks for the final day of festivities.

World-Record Kite Surfer Francisco Lufinha, from Portugal, took to the water to kitesurf in Galway Bay. Francisco holds the world record for the Longest Journey Kitesurfing without stops, between Lisbon and Madeira Island, covering 874km of the Portuguese Sea in just 48 hours.

With pump-powered jet packs, three world-class Powerfly flyboarders soared high into the air and performed amazing tricks and flips in the heart of Galway Harbour.

The newest vessel in the Irish Naval Service, LE William Butler Yeats, was a crowd-favourite at this year's SeaFest. The Commissioner of Irish Lights vessel, ILV Granuaile, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer, and the pelagic trawler Girl Stephanie were all open for tours.

Visitors were also delighted at the chance to take to the water, with 800 kayaking experiences and 500 people also took part in the sailing sessions and boat trips taking place over the weekend - all free for festival-goers.

Award-winning cameraman, Doug Allan, most well-known for his work on BBC's Blue Planet and Ocean Giants, entertained those of all ages with seven free talks over the three days. The documentary produced by Irish filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan, Ireland's Deep Atlantic and children's animation Song of the Sea, were also screened in The Atlantic Theatre.

There were oceans of fun activities for kids to dive into, including LEGO workshops, art and craft, interactive games and touch tank displays. Galway City Museum also offered Fishy Faces workshops and entertaining and educational experiments as part of the 'Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic' exhibition.

Seafood cookery and fishmongery demonstrations, interactive exhibits and displays were also on offer at the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience. The Gastronomy Showcase Van also hosted seafood cooking classes and demonstrations from Galway food producers and restaurateurs.

The huge display from the Defence Forces was also a popular attraction for the young and the young at heart. The roving seafaring entertainment, from swashbuckling pirates to giant deep sea divers, exploded onto the streets, also added to the exciting carnival atmosphere on Galway Harbour.

SeaFest 2018 is a key part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland (HOOW) and its goal of increasing participation and engagement with the sea.

The Marine Institute co-ordinates SeaFest on behalf of the cross-government Marine Coordination Group, working together with a wide range of agencies and organisations.

SeaFest has received support from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Bord Bia, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Department of Defence, Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Port of Galway, Irish Coast Guard, Irish Sailing, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Department Agriculture Food and the Marine, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Ireland's European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes 2014-2020.