A sun-soaked spectacular SeaFest on the horizon for 100,000 in Galway this weekend
A wave of excitement is building in Galway as over 100,000 people are expected to descend on the city this weekend (Friday 29th June to Sunday 1st July) for SeaFest 2018 giving the region's tourism sector a major midsummer boost.
Reports are that many hotels in Galway city are already booked out for the event, with delegates flying into Ireland to take part in a global ocean science summit in the city and families from across the country flocking to the county to partake in the festivities.
SeaFest chairman Dr. John Killeen commented, "SeaFest has generated enormous interest at home and abroad establishing itself as a global leader in ocean research and the biggest family friendly free festival of its kind in the country this year. With the level of hotel and restaurant bookings we are seeing, we estimate that the maritime festival based around the harbour and the ocean summit will be worth at least €7 million in direct income and many times more in indirect spending."
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, said "SeaFest is truly a festival for everyone, an opportunity to celebrate Ireland's immense marine resource and the many ways our seas and oceans enrich our lives. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the opportunities provided by our seas and oceans.
SeaFest plays a vital role in increasing participation and engagement with the sea, one of the key goals of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Ireland's blueprint for the future of our marine sector."
"A unique aspect of this national festival is the number of local, regional and national agencies and organisations that work together to offer a packed programme of events that showcase Ireland's marine infrastructure and resources."
There's truly something for everyone to see and do at SeaFest 2018! Visitors can enjoy famous ships, flyboarding, seafood, sailing and lots more as Galway Harbour and docks transforms into a giant, interactive "sea world" for the three-day festival with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity. Every inch of the port will be crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships.
Visitors can climb aboard and explore Ireland's newest naval vessel, LE William Butler Yeats, the Commissioner of Irish Lights, ILV Granuaile, the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer, and new for this year at SeaFest the MVF Girl Stephanie, a 45 metre super pelagic trawler. This is a rare opportunity for members of the pubic to tour a pelagic trawler and learn about life in Ireland's fishing sector.
To get people out on the water, and amongst Galway's ship-filled harbour, more than 500 sailing and boat trips, and 800 kayaking sessions will take place over the weekend, ensuring as many visitors as possible can enjoy the thrill of being on the high seas.
A welcome addition to this year's festival line-up is The Atlantic Theatre, a purpose-built marquee, offering ocean-inspired talks and films. Multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan will share his experiences from filming in some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth for Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants. Screenings of the breath-taking documentary Ireland's Deep Atlantic, and the Oscar-nominated Irish animation Song of the Sea will be held over the weekend.
Ireland's top chefs will host live seafood cookery demonstrations in the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience. Visitors can view live fish and shellfish species from Irish waters, take a virtual reality stroll under the sea, and find out more about BIM's Fishing for Litter initiative. Seafood lovers will also enjoy the range of cookery demonstrations on offer at the Gastronomy Showcase Van, to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018.
In the dedicated Kids Zone, children can build marine-inspired creations with LEGO, create sea-themed crafts to take home, explore touch tank displays and learn about the impact of marine litter. The interactive exhibition 'Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic' at Galway City Museum will be open, and enhanced by children's art and craft workshops and a resident scientist performing entertaining and educational experiments.
The huge display from the Defence Forces is a popular attraction for the young and the young at heart. Those of all ages will also enjoy the roving seafaring entertainment, from swashbuckling pirates to giant deep sea divers, exploding onto the streets, adding to the exciting carnival atmosphere.
To ensure the festival can be enjoyed by all, this year's SeaFest will offer fully inclusive access to Try Sailing. Irish Sailing are giving children and adults with disabilities or impairments the opportunity to try sailing or kayaking in a safe and supported environment. At Galway City Museum, there will be art and craft workshops specifically for children with sensory issues which will be supported by volunteers from Galway Autism Partnership.
This year, the festival also aims to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans, with a particular focus on reducing single-use plastics on the festival site. Businesses across Galway are supporting the initiative by adopting actions to reduce single-use plastics for the festival weekend and beyond.
Festival-goers can make the most of the SeaFest experience by downloading the free SeaFest App, and access the programme, visitor information, maps and the latest news. You can also find out more and see the full programme of activities on seafest.ie