Tens of thousands expected for ‘mini-Volvo’ at June Bank Holiday weekend

Fishy antics from the Gombeens who were out on the streets of Galway promoting the Galway Sea Festival.  Picture: Andrew Downes

Fishy antics from the Gombeens who were out on the streets of Galway promoting the Galway Sea Festival. Picture: Andrew Downes

It is estimated that tens of thousands of visitors will attend the Galway Sea Festival throughout the June Bank Holiday weekend. The new four day family friendly festival, running from May 31 - June 3, will serve to promote Galway as a leading maritime centre.

Festival organisers have unveiled an impressive list of water based activities and events all at affordable admission prices while others are free.

From beach safaris to seafood trails, sandcastle competitions to windsurfing, day cruises, and tours of the Irish Naval vessel LE Aoife, there will be something to attract even the most stoic landlubber.

A highlight of the festival weekend will be the Galway Sea Festival Regatta, featuring the Galway Bay sailing club with spectacular Parades of Sail into Galway Harbour on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Adding colour will be the traditional boat regatta from Badoiri na Cladaigh with special guest the Naomh Barbara, skippered by Steve Mulkerrins, who is travelling from Chicago for this flagship Galway Gathering event.

On-shore activities will include beach safaris, family beach walks, tug-o-wars, sandcastle competitions, and sand sculpting workshops. A family-friendly celebration of World Oceans Day will take place on Sunday June 2 at Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill featuring exhibits, science shows, diving demonstrations, fish feedings, face painting, story-telling, cartoon-drawing, and much more.

For the more adventurous types, there will be taster sessions of sea kayaking, wind surfing, canoeing, and diving taking place over the weekend. Landlubbers can enjoy the action from dry land as they watch Galway kayak club's International Canoe Polo Championships at the Claddagh Basin.

The festival on water programme also features currach racing, air-sea rescue demonstrations, boat excursions on the bay, day trips to the Aran Islands and the annual Féile na gCurrachai in Spiddal on Sunday June 2.

To tempt the taste buds, a seafood trail of Galway’s finest seafood restaurants will extend out along the Connemara coast to Barna and Spiddal.

About Town activities will also include a music trail featuring many of Galway’s finest music pubs, special performances by Trad on the Prom in Salthill, marine-themed street theatre in the Latin Quarter, maritime and heritage talks, looped waterways walks, and a funfair fairground attractions and amusements for all the family.

The Galway Sea Festival will be preceded on Thursday May 30 by an international sea conference organised by Galway Chamber. Taking place in the G Hotel, the Bright Blue Sea Conference will feature a day long symposium on the themes of sea tech, sea food, sea port, and sea energy. The Bright Blue Sea Conference will explore the role of the sea as a habitat, as a provider of food and energy and as an influence on employment, research and education.

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