SeaFest a ‘must-sea’ for 100,000 this weekend in Galway

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SeaFest set to make a splash this weekend

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

10 Ways to go Plastic Free

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How to go plastic free

So much to enjoy at SeaFest but still so much to learn and we are sharing 10 ways you can easily go plastic free to help save our oceans!

#SeaFest18 is almost here and there’s so much fun to be had over the weekend from jumping aboard one of the many different vessels berthed at the docks, to staying on dry land and experiencing some of our amazing maritime food and culture.

While we want you to enjoy all the festivities as much as possible, we’d also love you to learn lots more about our oceans, especially how we can all look after to protect it and life on earth for many years to come.Up to a truck load of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day and it is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change. By making small changes in our behaviours, we can make a big impact towards protecting our marine resource for the future.

A list of changes we can all easily adopt

Here’s a list of 10 ways you can pass on plastic and help protect our oceans.

  1. Bring reusable shopping bags

    Using a plastic bag for your shopping may seem convenient, but plastic bags can take 1,000’s of years to decompose. Rather than taking a plastic bag, bring your own reusable cloth or canvas shopping bags with you.

  2. Cut out unnecessary food packaging

    While you’re shopping, choose the package-free options where possible. Pick up the loose fruit and vegetables, or choose products with biodegradable packaging. Skip the pre-packaged food wrapped in plastic.

  3. Ditch the plastic straw

    Plastic straws are rarely recycled and can easily end up in our seas and oceans and cause potential harm to marine life. Take the lead from Westport, which is aiming to become the first town in Ireland to eliminate plastic straws. Next time you enjoy a cold beverage, pass on the plastic straw.

  4. Choose reusable cutlery

    Along with plastic bags and straws, plastic plates and cutlery are another single-use plastic we could do without. If you need to use disposable utensils, look for the eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives.

  5. Carry your own reusable water bottle

    Every minute, a million plastic bottles are sold around the world! Invest in a reusable water bottle, and remember to take it with you next time you head to the gym – the environment will thank you!

  6. Swap out your takeaway coffee cup

    The disposable takeaway coffee cup can’t be recycled, because even though they are made of partly-recyclable materials, they also contain a layer of plastic, and the lids are made of polystyrene. Swap the takeaway coffee cup for a mug, or bring your own reusable coffee cup – some outlets may even offer you a discount! Check out ReCupán Galway of a list of locations in Galway offering customers a discount for using a reusable cup.

  7. Avoid products with microbeads

    Tiny particles of plastic, called microbeads, are sometimes added to skincare products such as face scrubs and soaps. These particles can end up in local waterways and eventually the ocean, and could cause potential harmful effects to marine life. Check the label, and look for the Zero Plastic Inside

  8. Replace your plastic bathroom products with alternatives

    You’d be surprised at how much plastic can be found in our bathroom products. Plastic toothbrushes need to be replaced a few times a year, try a bamboo or wooden toothbrush or swap your disposable plastic razor for a metal alternative.

  9. Invest in reusable items

    Besides your reusable water bottle and coffee cup, there are other long-lasting items you can use. Pack your lunch in glass containers and avoid using plastic food wrap, reuse your glass jars and use reusable storage containers around your home.

  10. Always recycle

    This almost goes without saying in 2018 and its importance is not just for the oceans but for the environment in general. Reusing products, using bio-degradable products and knowing how to recycle is becoming a crucial part of our 21st century world. You’ll find lots of information on how to do this effectively at #SeaFest18

If you’ve read all of these, or if you’ve come to see us at SeaFest and learned even more, we’d love you to spread the good word about protecting our oceans far and wide. After all we want to continue to enjoy festivals like SeaFest for many years to come.

Tell everyone you know about the ways we can help protect our oceans ecosystem. It’s never been more important to spread the word. Learn more at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

One ocean, one change in our lifetime

We hope this has inspired you to make even one change to help our seas and oceans thrive long into the future. After all, we only have one ocean off the coast in Ireland, and even one small change will help make all the difference.

Even one small change will make all the difference in protecting our oceans. Find out more at #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Honest Reviews From Seasoned SeaFeset’ers

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SeaFest Reviews

 

All aboard for SeaFest, we’d love to ‘sea’ you there

SeaFest 2018 is approaching fast but if you’ve haven’t set the date in your diary yet, then don’t worry, you’ve still time to steer a course toward our shores.

We’d love to see you down at the Galway docks over the weekend where you’ll be sure to find something to keep the whole family happy.

And you’ll be joining thousands of people who’ve been enthralled by everything SeaFest has had to offer over the past three years

Join thousands of visitors who’ve been enthralled by everything #SeaFest18 has to offer at @portofgalwayClick To Tweet

 

Check out the SeaFest reviews

Here are just some of the things that they had to say on our Facebook Page reviews section.

Deborah Holmes

A great day out – last year was my first year there with my three boys aged 9,7and 6 and they loved it. Plenty to see and do!

Alisa Walton

This was my second year going and again, it was great. The first year I had my one-year-old old in a carrier and almost three-year-old walked or was carried. It is too hard to bring a buggy because of the crowds. Also, climbing around on ships doesn’t help the pram usage either… so just leave it at home. My little boys loved it, loved sitting in the captain’s chair on the big ships. I enjoy meeting people who work on the Celtic Explorer. So friendly and interesting. Also Seafest have TONS of opportunities for crafts and other activities geared towards children. Interesting for parents as well. Definitely worth being around Galway and braving the crowds for.

Christine Lane

A great day….explored a research vessel & had very interesting conversations with some of the crew; watched a brilliant free cookery demo by an eminent chef…vomplete with free recipes & marvelled at the exciting flyboarding demonstration…and all for free…what’s not to like!

Jo Dee

It was my second year attending and it was as enjoyable as last year. Great family day out. We were on board the Celtic Explorer, fascinating, really friendly and informative crew. The fly boarders were simply amazing. I think small girl is already compiling her list for Santa! Thank you all so much for a wonderful time.

Lisa Taylor

Fantastic festival. Had a wonderful time. Enjoyed touring the ships and learned a lot about them. All the different stalls, the demonstration’s & watching the boat building while listening to Irish musicians and a surprise Irish dancer was very unique and enjoyable. Looking forward to next year already.

Miley Duffy

Great festival should be more like it well organised and great staff behind it a lot of effort put in!


Aisling Clifford

We had the best day yesterday! Even without kids we were well and truly entertained! Definitely worth heading to.

Brid Prendergast

Great family day out! The flyboarders, kite making, boat tours, military display…..so much to do.

Ken Hickey

Two 5 year olds loved it – haven’t stopped playing with their kites!!

Caroline McNeill

Thank you Seafest for the best family weekend we’ve had in Galway. You need to take a bow, from enjoying Celtic Explorer and the L.E. Ciara to Flyboarders and the Irish Defence Forces to Pirates on the docks and making kites it was amazing. The absolute highlight was meeting the Claddagh Boatmen and getting out with Galway Bay Boat Tours … The best way to see Galway. Thank you so much, if we could give you more than a 5 we would!!

Check out our videos

We’re expecting lots of great visitors including RTE Nationwide who also visited us last year.

See what RTE’s Nationwide thought of #SeaFest at last year’s festival https://www.facebook.com/SeaFest.ie/videos/1469271656463406/Click To Tweet

 

Who knows who you might meet?

We even had our Taoiseach come to visit in 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/SeaFest.ie/videos/1469137159810189/

So why not come and see for yourself?

You’ll find lots in store for you this year

https://www.facebook.com/SeaFest.ie/videos/1798573686866533/

Check out what’s in store for #SeaFest18Click To Tweet

Galway, Your First Port of Call

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Captain Brian Sheridan Harbourmaster Galway Port

Why the best days for SeaFest’s venue are still ahead

The Port of Galway has been in existence for over 1,000 years. In fact, you could say the City of the Tribes was created as a maritime trading city by its 14 merchant founders. And, you can often hear mention of the sea in the city’s songs and stories.

Today’s port has been in existence for 180 years and it goes without saying that SeaFest would not be able to take place without it.

 

Outgrowing its heritage

Captain Brian Sheridan is the port’s harbourmaster. He’s hugely proud of this heritage, but also aware of the port’s current shortcomings.

“I guess you could say the facility has outgrown itself. We’re now faced with these very large ships coming into what’s essentially a medieval harbour. We’ve been planning for a long time to redress that because we want to retain Galway as a maritime city.”

Although Galway’s port is over 1,000 years old we think its best days are still to come, including many more festivals like #SeaFest18 says Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

A barometer of the nation’s health

Even though Galway’s port might not be the first thing you think of when you visit, Brian is keen to communicate its importance.

“Ports are hugely beneficial and a key economic driver for the country. We live on an island and 98 per cent of our cargo-based activity comes via the ocean. The ports are a great barometer of how Ireland’s economy is doing.

“Everywhere freight or people move by sea there are taxes levied, and excise duties claimed, and money exchanges hands.”

Ports like Galway’s are a great barometer of how Ireland is doing. They’re a key economic driver for this island says Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

The port’s diversity is worth noting

Brian shares some of the diverse ways the port is being used at the moment.

“We have one customer who exports limestone from a quarry in Cong, Co Mayo. The limestone has particularly high values of calcium, is low in iron and contains low trace metals. That commodity is being shipped to Sweden to make glass bottles and to Scotland where it goes into the poultry industry as a nutrient for hens. That’s two very diverse uses.

We also export RDF from here, which is refuse derived fuel, a new operation in Ireland. All the municipal and regional commercial waste which has no intrinsic value any more no longer goes to landfill. Instead it’s crushed, put into bales and goes to Germany for both incineration, where they use it to heat homes, and for recycling where it dries paper for the Irish print industry.

Galway’s port is a gateway for a diverse range of trade including sustainable and recyclable materials says Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

 

Port of Galway

Quay expansion

On top of all this activity, expansion is around the corner and Brian is looking forward to developing more of its potential.

“The rationale and the reason for expanding the port will benefit not only the inhabitants of the city, but the entire region and it’s two-fold.

Firstly, ships are getting larger and it’s becoming an increasingly greater challenge for them to get into the port.

With the new facility, we will be able to attract cruise ships where passengers can more easily step ashore, without us having to tender them from a deep-water anchorage, or have weather affect their ability to tender ashore.

And of course, those cruise ships will have thousands of passengers landing at the port, going ashore and seeing all that Galway has to offer.

Plus, from a technology perspective we’re looking at a way to provide high-speed data transfer over water. So, that when the cruise ship arrives at anchor, you’ll be able to connect to a high-speed data link from the deck.

Secondly, from an ocean literacy perspective, I firmly believe Galway can become a leader on the edge of Europe by being a research port for the Atlantic Arc, as well as becoming the hub for research ships to come, for refuelling, victualing, crew changes or for the exchange of data.

Between tourism and research, I think there are two key elements that the port expansion will bring to Galway.

Seeing more cruise ships dock at Galway and establishing ourselves a key research hub for exploring the Atlantic are the main two ways the expansion of the port will transform the whole region’ Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster @PortofGalway.Click To Tweet

Why is SeaFest a welcome distraction?

So, with all this activity happening or planned, what sort of impact will SeaFest have on the port over the weekend?

“We’re delighted to open up the quays so we can showcase our ocean wealth. It does mean discommoding our customers, stopping ships, and suspending services – like our fuel supplies. However, contingencies are in place because we’re happy to look at the bigger picture which is turning the space into a carnival and engaging our public around things like ocean literacy.

As a Galwegian, I’m very proud that we have the Marine Institute here, the two National Research ships, the Celtic Explorer, the Celtic Voyager, have their home ports here. There is a very strong connection with the sea, to know and learn all about the ocean.

If you think about it, 80 percent of all life on this planet lives in the ocean, of which we only know about five percent. So, we have a lot of learning to do about things like how the oceans can affect our weather systems and climate. Or, how the wave energy test site run by SmartBay Ireland in Spiddal could potentially transform our energy supply on this side of Ireland.

We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our own ocean. It really is the next frontier. It’s not space, it is the ocean. We just need to learn more about that because I believe that the planet is in equilibrium and that the difficulties we have as human beings, the answers can be found in the sea.

We’re delighted to open up the quays for #SeaFest18 to showcase our ocean’s wealth and future potential says Captain Brian Sheridan, Harbourmaster @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

Building our ocean literacy in steps

Although the harbourmaster is a bit more measured around the realities of our appreciation for our oceans, he says with education change will happen.

“I suppose you could say we don’t think like islanders. We don’t eat enough fish. We’re surrounded by our greatest natural resource, with so much potential wind and wave energy offshore to make the country more sustainable. But we don’t appreciate what we have around us.

“But I think things are about to change for us on an Atlantic level. In 2013, the Galway Statement was signed here as an agreement between the USA, Canada, and the EU to share information about the ocean.

“In the past, we would have seen the Atlantic as a barrier between nations. But now we can look at it as a connector, something we have in common.

“Then, at a local level, I think a knowledge gap exists here because there isn’t sufficient infrastructure for getting out onto Galway Bay.

“It should be dotted with motorboats, kayakers, and all those kind of various craft, with people enjoying what is arguably the city’s greatest natural resource, it’s ‘blue playground’.

“But they can’t enjoy it because of a lack of facilities. It’s only been 2009 since we built a slipway you can launch a rib from, without having to guess or think about what time is high water.

“However, our new port planning application is in its final stages, and that will plug a lot of gaps for maritime Galway, whether it’s aquaculture, marine tourism, marine leisure, or trade. It will hopefully re-orientate its citizens, so they’ll start to look south over the bay.”

Getting Galway’s citizens and visitors out onto the sea is crucial to building up our ocean literacy. We’re starting to put those steps in place where they can do that, including @ #Seafest18’ Captain Brian Sheridan @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

Jaw-dropping marine culture at SeaFest

Brian’s excited about all the wonderful activities happening on the docks:

“It is amazing what’s planned, so my advice to everyone would be: “Get to Galway. It’s a free, family, fun event. Get on board all the ships. Take it all in. Plan to be here for the entire day.”

“Doug Allan and the Atlantic Theatre, and 360 Dome will be jaw-dropping stuff, and, of course, all the seafood stalls are here.

“It’s all about the kids at SeaFest too, because if we start there, you could see future mariners and harbourmasters coming out of this, people who have a love of the ocean.

“So, get down here, take it all in, and enjoy what this family free fun festival has to offer. The Port of Galway is delighted to be hosting it.”

The Atlantic Theatre and 360-degree dome will have jaw-dropping stuff, so get to Galway for #SeaFest18. It’s a free, family, fun event. You could see future mariners coming out of it says Captain Brian Sheridan @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

SeaFest’s biggest messages

And of course, Brian also wants to ensure we take some of the bigger messages of SeaFest home.

“Plastic in the sea, that’s a big topic. I’m so happy to hear that Westport are to become the first town to ban plastic straws and go for organic materials. Plastic in the ocean is absolutely desperate. I’ve witnessed it myself as a mariner being at sea and passing through these islands of rubbish. The ocean has ferocious ability to take abuse and we have abused that body of water for far too long. I don’t know how the ocean has been able to put up with the abuse we’ve thrown at it.

“We have to remember that 50 percent of the air we breathe, every second breath we take, comes from the sea. We want to look after it. Yes, looking after our oceans should be high on the priority of government and national policy.

“But it also our own responsibility and I think if we learn one thing from Seafest it should be that.”

The one thing we can learn #SeaFest18 is to each take responsibility for the ocean. We’ve given it too much abuse for far too long. It should also be high priority on Government policy says Captain Brian Sheridan @PortofGalwayClick To Tweet

Five ‘must-sea’ attractions at SeaFest 2018

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From famous ships, to flyboarding, seafood and sailing, there is a host of activities on offer at SeaFest 2018, taking place in Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July.

Here are just five ‘must-sea’ activities and attractions visitors can experience at Ireland’s most spectacular maritime festival. 

1. Inspiring talks from Doug Allan
Multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan, has filmed in some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth. Working alongside Sir David Attenborough on documentaries such as Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants, Doug has had the chance to get up close to some of the most awe-inspiring mammals found on land and sea. Don’t miss one of the seven talks taking place in The Atlantic Theatre over the weekend!

2. See world-class Flyboarders perform
Be captivated by stunning performances from Powerfly Products world-class flyboarders. With pump-powered jet packs, the flyboarders will spin and spiral high into the air performing amazing tricks and flips. With three shows each day, view these breath-taking displays from the edge of Galway Harbour or on-board an ocean going vessel.

3. Tour Ireland’s newest Naval vessel
One of the latest vessels in the Irish Naval fleet, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be docked in Galway Harbour for the festival weekend. The vessel is deployed for fishery protections, search and rescue and in maritime patrol missions. Speak to our naval personnel and get a close-up look at the equipment on board. At 90 metres in length, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be a spectacular sight to see.

4. Sample sensational seafood
At the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience, visitors will learn everything there is to know about seafood. View up-close a variety of live fish and shellfish species from Irish waters or take a virtual reality stroll under the sea to meet the creatures of the deep in a thrilling immersive experience. Enjoy live cookery demonstrations from Galway restaurateur JP McMahon, Michael O’Meara of Oscar’s Seafood Bistro in Galway and author of the top-selling Sea Gastronomy and Oliver Dunne, the youngest Irish chef to be awarded a Michelin star. BIM’s Young Fishmongers of the will show you how easy it is to prepare fish and seafood at home. Seafood lovers will also enjoy the range of cookery demonstrations on offer at the Gastronomy Showcase Van in the Food Village, to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018.

5. Make fishy faces to take home
Galway City Museum will be hosting Fishy Faces workshops, where kids can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures, under the guidance of Áine Lawless of Macnas. These 30 minute workshops are suitable for children from 5-12 years of age. In addition, five of these workshops will be run in partnership with Galway Autism Partnership and are specifically for children with sensory difficulties, and their siblings. While at the museum, explore the marine world through the interactive ‘Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic’ exhibition and a resident scientist will also perform hands-on experiments.

To stay up to date on all festival announcements download the free SeaFest Festival App and follow SeaFest on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

 

SeaFest 2018 is a festival for all

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There’s something for everyone at SeaFest 2018, taking place in Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July. To ensure the festivities can be enjoyed by as many visitors as possible, this year’s national maritime festival is offering activities specifically for children with sensory issues, and water sports sessions for children and adults with disabilities or impairments.

Irish Sailing, and its team of volunteers from sailing clubs across Galway, are offering fully inclusive access to Try Sailing sessions over the three days of the festival.

Mr Ciarán Murphy, National Inclusion and Children’s Officer at Irish Sailing said, “We want everyone to be able to experience the thrill of being out on the water, and SeaFest offers a fantastic opportunity for children and adults with disabilities or impairments to try sailing or kayaking in a safe and supported environment.”

“Sailing offers a sense of freedom like no other sport, and is a great healthy outdoor and social activity. We hope our budding sailors enjoy the experience and will join us again in Galway for the Watersports Inclusion Games at the end of August,” Mr Murphy said.

Galway City Museum will be hosting five workshops specifically for children with sensory difficulties and their siblings. Led by Áine Lawless of Macnas, children can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures to take home. Volunteers from Galway Autism Partnership will provide assistance during each of the workshops.

Ms Aisling Colreavy, Coordinator at Galway Autism Partnership said, “We are delighted to be part of SeaFest this year, and have an activity especially for children on the autism spectrum, and their siblings. Peer support is invaluable to our members, as these activities are a great opportunity to make connections with families and individuals in similar situations is very important in terms and understanding.”

As part of SeaFest 2018, a purpose-built marquee ‘The Atlantic Theatre’ will showcase talks from multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan, and screenings of the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic and popular Irish animation Song of the Sea. The Atlantic Theatre will be fitted with Loop Hearing to assist the hearing impaired.

SeaFest 2018 will offer a weekend of seafaring fun for those of all ages, with thrilling performances from world-class Flyboarders, live seafood cookery demonstrations, vessel tours, a Defence Forces display and a host of marine-themed workshops for kids.

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.

To stay up to date on all festival announcements download the free SeaFest Festival App and follow SeaFest on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Plan your festival experience with the SeaFest App

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The free SeaFest App is now available for download for both Android and iOS phones. The App has all the information visitors need to enjoy Ireland’s biggest and most spectacular maritime festival taking place in Galway from 29th June to 1st July 2018.

Covering all of the events at the festival, the App contains the full festival programme, maps and directions, latest news, visitor info and social media feeds. The SeaFest App also features an interactive ‘My Favourites’ list where users can add in their preferred festival events and create their own unique ‘My Map’ with all of the locations.

The SeaFest App, is the must-have digital companion to this year’s festival, helping visitors plan their experience and list of ‘must-see’ activities and attractions.

SeaFest 2018 offers an exciting line-up of events at Galway Harbour, including talks from multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan and screenings of ocean-inspired films at The Atlantic Theatre. Powerfly’s world-class flyboarders will perform breath-taking acrobatics in Galway Harbour, and there’s the chance to give sailing and kayaking a go and tour famous ships.

Some of Ireland’s best-known chefs will prepare culinary delights in the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience and the Gastronomy Showcase Van will host cooking demonstrations to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018. The popular Defence Forces will be back in force with a huge equipment display, and kids will enjoy the host of marine-inspired activities in the Kids Zone and at Galway City Museum’s interactive exhibition ‘Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic’.

The SeaFest App can be downloaded by searching for ‘SeaFest’ on Google Play and the App Store. For more information on the festival, visit seafest.ie and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Download the SeaFest App Now:

Download the SeaFest App

Download the SeaFest App

SeaFest Supporters Galway businesses say ‘No to Plastic’ in our seas 

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Businesses across Galway are saying ‘No to Plastic’ in our oceans to support SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival taking place in Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July.

This year, the festival aims to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans, with a particular focus on reducing single-use plastics on the festival site. The initiative is organised by the Marine Institute, in conjunction with Galway City Council’s European Green Leaf programme.

Galway City Museum, Galway Atlantaquaira, 56 Central, Brazco Coffee Academy, Celestica, CPL Recruitment, Food For Thought, Honest Kitchen, the Irish Greyhound Board, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Temple Café, The Yield Lab Europe, The Heron’s Rest, Tropical Medical Bureau, Glenville Nutrition, Galway Convention Bureau, Bank of Ireland – Galway and AMACH! LGBT Galway/Teach Solais Resource Centre have become Supporters of SeaFest by participating in this initiative. Galway businesses are invited to take part and adopt actions to reduce single- use plastics for the festival weekend and beyond.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute said, “A truck load of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day, and it’s estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change. I applaud the businesses of Galway that are supporting SeaFest, and have committed to reducing single-use plastics by offering alternatives for customers. These small changes can result in big impacts, which will encourage a change in behaviours long after the festival weekend.”

Arlene Finn, European Green Leaf Coordinator with Galway City Council commented, “We can all find a way to use less ‘single use’ plastic, and I congratulate the SeaFest Supporters for taking the initiative. CPL Recruitment have provided all staff with re-useable water bottles and water filters to minimise bottled water waste. Celestica are banning disposable cups from the site and giving free travel mugs to employees. Food For Thought and 56 Central have moved away from plastic straws, providing biodegradable options instead. Brazo Coffee Academy have signed up for ReCupán and Refill.ie to support customers who use reusable coffee cups and water bottles. We welcome more businesses to come on board with this initiative, and hope they will take inspiration from those already involved”.

For more information, or to sign up, contact Arlene Finn, Galway City Council at arlene.finn@galwaycity.ie

Businesses across Galway are supporting SeaFest 2018, by saying ‘no to plastic’ during the festival weekend and beyond. Photo: Aengus McMahon

SeaFest Try Sailing Ticket Allocation

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A super selection of activities on the water at SeaFest 2018 are sure to prove hugely popular as Ireland’s largest maritime festival returns to Galway this month.

Visitors to SeaFest 2018 (29th June – 1st July) will get to enjoy a whole host of fun water-based activities in the harbour including sailing, kayaking and motor boating, as well as the opportunity to explore several large visiting ships. The activities on the water are a fantastic chance to try out a water sport for the first time and immerse yourself in all things maritime as Galway Docks comes alive with the buoyant festival atmosphere.

Irish Sailing with the support of the Galway Sailing Clubs and Training Centres is delighted to be running the FREE Try Sailing Sessions on Keelboats and Motorboats on Galway Bay throughout the weekend of SeaFest.

According to Ciarán Murphy, National Inclusion and Children’s Officer, Irish Sailing, “This year we are not only making it bigger by providing over 600 people the opportunity to experience this awesome adventure we are also making it better by being fully inclusive and will have full accessibility for people with disabilities to also enjoy the fun on the water.”

Tickets can be booked in advance from 9am on Friday 8th June 2018 at www.seafest.ie through the Eventbrite booking link and via the SeaFest App.

In terms of ticket allocation for the free Try Sailing, the following will apply

  • Due to the phenomenal demand from last year 75% of the tickets will be available online through Eventbrite.
  • The remaining 25% of tickets will be made available to people on the day on a first come first served basis using a ticket system.
  • Participants are required to arrive 20 minutes prior to their booking time. If participants do not show up 20 minutes prior, their space shall be given to people in the ticketed queue on the day, to ensure every boat is filled to maximum capacity.
  • For those who are unable to get out over the course of the three days, the local clubs will be offering other Come and Try Sessions throughout the summer and details of where and when can be found on www.trysailing.ie

SeaFest is offering a packed programme of free events at SeaFest 2018. To keep updated on the latest events and news, follow SeaFest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Catch it all at SeaFest 2018

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SeaFest launches festival programme with a trove of treasures on offer for all ages

Pictured is Jack Flaherty, age 8, at the programme launch of SeaFest 2018. Photo: Andrew Downes

Rowing into Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July is SeaFest 2018, and this year’s national maritime festival is offering the biggest programme of seafaring events yet.

To honour World Oceans Day, SeaFest 2018 has today launched a packed programme of ‘must-see’ events that celebrate the amazing ways our oceans and seas enrich our lives.

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said, “SeaFest showcases Ireland’s maritime resources and also conveys an important message about the value of our oceans. Not only a source of food and transport, our oceans also support diverse ecosystems and provide opportunities for  tourism and leisure.”

“No matter how far you live from the shore the ocean affects our lives. SeaFest is a great opportunity to celebrate our marine resource, and get people talking about keeping our oceans healthy, as it’s a resource we all depend on,” Dr Heffernan said.

This year’s SeaFest will offer an immersive visual experience, with a series of engaging talks and films inspired by the ocean, taking place in the purpose-built marquee, The Atlantic Theatre. Taking centre stage will be Doug Allan, one of the world’s best underwater cameramen. Awarded eight Emmy Awards and five BAFTAS, Doug Allan will present seven talks over the weekend, sharing his experiences from filming at some of the wildest and remote places on the planet for ground-breaking documentaries such as BBC’s The Blue Planet and Ocean Giants. Also screening in The Atlantic Theatre is the RTÉ documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, which shares some of the secrets from the Irish waters that surround us. The Academy Award-nominated Irish animation Song of the Sea will also be shown over the weekend.

World-champion flyboarders will spin and spiral high into the air performing amazing tricks and flips three times a day in the heart of Galway Harbour. Festival-goers will be able to paddle a kayak in the harbour, with more than 800 free kayaking sessions taking place over the three days. Thanks to Irish Sailing, visitors can feel part of the crew and enjoy keelboat trips on Galway Bay, or step aboard a motorboat and take a close up look at the Galway Hookers in the Claddagh. Try sailing sessions are also available, with sessions available for disabled or impaired children and adults.

One of the latest vessels in the Irish Naval fleet, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be a spectacular sight in Galway Harbour, and an opportunity for visitors to climb aboard and explore Ireland’s newest naval vessel. The Marine Institute’s marine research vessel the RV Celtic Explorer and the Commissioner of Irish Lights vessel the ILV Granuaile will both be docked in Galway Harbour and open for tours across the weekend.

SeaFest 2018 is sure to be a catch in Galway later this month. Pictured is Noah Cunningham Flaherty, age 8.
Photo: Andrew Downes.

BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience will feature dynamic exhibits of live fish and shellfish species, and an under the sea virtual reality display where visitors can meet the creatures of the deep. Joan Mulloy, the first Irish female sailor to compete in the world-famous Solitaire du Figaro race will share how she will be undertaking this sailing challenge. Ireland’s top chefs JP McMahon, Michael O’Meara and Oliver Dunne, and BIM’s Young Fishmongers of the Year will show you how easy it is to prepare fish and seafood at home through a series of live demonstrations.

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. Learn tips on preparing and preserving seafood at home as well as some simple seafood recipes for kids. The traditional festival favourites will also be on offer at the range of food stalls around Galway Harbour.

Kids will be kept busy through a host of fun and educational activities taking place in the dedicated Kids Zone. Children and adults alike will enjoy building and playing with LEGO to make marine-inspired creations, and kids can also get creative and crafty by making sea-themed crafts to take home and work together to create a giant aquarium from recycled materials. Through the Explorers Education Programme, children can discover Ireland’s marine life at touch tank displays, and learn about marine litter through a number of games and interactive activities.

Galway City Museum’s interactive exhibition ‘Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic’ will also be open over the weekend. During the festival weekend, the gallery will be enhanced by a resident scientist who will perform fun, hands-on experiments. Kids can also create colourful fish and sea-themed creatures to take home, at a series of workshops taking place at Galway City Museum. With the assistance of Galway Autism Partnership, five of these workshops will be specifically for children with sensory difficulties and their siblings.

The Defence Forces also makes a welcome return, and will provide a current equipment and capabilities display – an attraction that is popular with visitors of all ages.

“SeaFest 2018 is truly a family festival,” said Dr Heffernan. “The range of exciting activities and attractions on and around the water aim to engage the young and the young at heart, in the magic and mystery of the ocean. All events and activities taking place over the weekend are free, making it possible for the entire family to enjoy the festival experience.”

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.

For the 2018 event, 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 Marine Institute and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

To view the full festival programme visit seafest.ie To stay updated on all festival announcements download the free SeaFest Festival App and follow SeaFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A trove of treasures for the whole family at SeaFest 2018. Pictured is brothers Noah, Blake and Mason Cunningham Flaherty.
Photo: Andrew Downes.