Forget SpongeBob SquarePants, Nemo and their cartoon chums! What’s really going on beneath our Wild Atlantic is far more exciting than any movie magic. That will be the message at the start of next month as Galway Harbour rolls out a red carpet welcome for the young and the young at heart, providing free entertainment and education for all the family.
Over the SeaFest weekend on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July, the inner pier will be buzzing with a host of ocean-themed events and attractions presented under the banner ‘The Wild Atlantic – What Lies Beneath’, each providing fascinating insights into the undersea world which surrounds Ireland and reinforcing the importance of the sea to our daily lives.
At the heart of the excitement the internationally-acclaimed experts of The Marine Institute (Foras Na Mara) will be sharing their passion for the deep with visitors, launching an exciting, newly-commissioned interactive exhibition to thrill the youngest kids, with tales of undersea adventure, and delight older audiences with examples of the wonderful, and occasionally weird, creatures which lurk in the depths beyond the Harbour walls. There will be free film screenings of “Secret Ocean by Jean-Michel Cousteau” on-board the mega mobile cinema (booking advisable*) plus quizzes and family-friendly activities.
Fans of high tech visualisation will revel in the chance to get up close and personal with the INFOMAR Augmented Reality Sandbox which uses a projector, an Xbox Kinect motion sensor and camera to project real-time coloured topographic maps with contour lines onto the sand …a great way to understand undersea mapping while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
On Saturday 2 July there will be live link ups at 2pm and at 6pm with the Corps of Exploration on-board Dr. Robert Ballard’s exploration vessel, Nautilus, as they explore methane seeps in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California! These shows will take place in the café of the main marquee on the Inner Pier.
Both of the Marine Institute’s Research Vessels, the Celtic Explorer and the Celtic Voyager, will dock at Galway, with the Celtic Explorer conducting hourly open house tours throughout the festival weekend. Tours are free but capacity is limited.
Looking forward to a packed weekend, Dr. Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive Officer of The Marine Institute said, “We’re thrilled that SeaFest, Ireland’s premier maritime festival, will be coming to Galway this year. In our professional capacities, we’re all looking forward to the opportunity to share news, views and insights with our peers and with the host of influential visitors who will come to our city for the annual Our Ocean Wealth Conference and other business and research events.
“However we’re just as keen to welcome families and visitors who are simply curious to find out a little more about Ireland’s rich maritime heritage and, in particular, we look forward to welcoming children and young people to what promises to be a great weekend. Some of those young visitors could be the ocean explorers, marine biologists, oceanographers of the future: they could find their careers as hydrographers mapping the seabed, or as engineers, developing novel marine renewable energy devices. Inspired by SeaFest, they could sail on a fishing fleet or sail for pleasure; become celebrity seafood chefs or simply enjoy eating the harvest of the oceans. The sea is a source of endless, exciting possibilities and we want to open young minds to the potential of this great natural resource.”
Budget-conscious mums and dads will be delighted to know that the majority of the inspiring SeaFest family activities are free, but capacities for key events are limited – so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Open from 9am, last admissions for the Galway Pier activities are 6pm on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July. Click here to see the full programme for ‘The Wild Atlantic – What Lies Beneath’ events, where there’s also a *link to book free film screenings.
Surf this SeaFest website and you will also find a list of other activities running as part of the maritime festival weekend including a Safety at Sea Exhibition and The Longest River, to name only a few.