SeaFest launches its biggest free programme to date

SeaFest Launch

Pictured at the launch of SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration, which takes place at the Port of Cork, Cork City from 7 – 9 June are (back l-r) Colum Byrne, Second Lieutenant; Mick Finn, Lord Mayor of Cork; Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute; Cathy Buchanan, General Manager, Meitheal Mara; and Jim O'Toole, CEO of BIM with (front l-r) Lola Grainger (10), Archie Murray (6) and Marvin Grainger (7). The 2019 programme of free events, to be presented by Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group, includes cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Neven Maguire and Rory O'Connell and talks from Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack and wildlife cameraman, Doug Allan.

SeaFest launches its biggest free programme to date

SeaFest, Ireland’s largest free family-friendly maritime celebration, unveils its exciting 2019 programme today for Cork, with over 100 events taking place from 7 – 9 June. An estimated 100,000 visitors are expected at the Port of Cork in Cork City for SeaFest 2019, with the line-up to include cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs Neven Maguire and Rory O'Connell and talks from Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack and wildlife cameraman, Doug Allan. For full festival details visit www.seafest.ie. 

Held in Galway for the past three years, Cork City Council and the Inter-Departmental Marine Coordination Group (MCG) will now present SeaFest from 2019 – 2021. The festival, which acknowledges everything the ocean has to offer, will be a culmination of a weeklong celebration of Ireland’s rich maritime heritage, as the annual Cork Harbour Festival runs from 1 – 9 June.

SeaFest highlights include Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia free cookery demonstrations from esteemed chefs Rory O'Connell (Ballymaloe Cookery School), Martin Shanahan (Fishy Fishy Restaurant) and Neven Maguire (MacNean House & Restaurant), along with demos from fishmongers, Pat O’Connell and Hal Dawson. BIM also brings its never-before-seen Clean Oceans’ visitor experience, raising awareness of plastic in our oceans. 

Further key events for SeaFest 2019 include Met Éireann Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack discussing weather changes and warnings at the Marine Institute marquee. There will also be engaging talks and films inspired by the ocean at Marine Institute’s The Atlantic Theatre. Award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allen will discuss his remarkable experiences filming BBC’s  Blue Planet and Ocean Giants. RTÉ documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic will also be screened.

Speaking on the launch, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn said: “SeaFest is a hugely important festival for the country and it’s fitting that it will take place in Cork which has a unique maritime history and association with the sea. That the city’s motto proclaims Cork to be ‘a safe harbour for ships’ speaks for itself.

“There is a great programme of free events lined up for the festival this year — and for the next three years — to ensure that people connect with the river, the harbour and the sea. SeaFest will be at the core of European Maritime Day next year when we will also celebrate 300 years of the Royal Cork Yacht Club... the oldest of its kind in the world. We invite everyone to attend the free, fun events and help focus on keeping our oceans healthy and vibrant.”

There will be free sailing, kayaking, currach and dragon boat trips on the water, with Irish Sailing, Atlantic Sea Kayaking and Meitheal Mara. Tours of the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Explorer and the Commissioner of Irish Lights’ ILV Granuaile take place across the weekend. The Defence Forces will provide an equipment and capabilities display. 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said: “SeaFest is about highlighting the importance and value of our  seas and oceans. After being successfully hosted in Galway for the last three years, it is important that this national maritime festival is enjoyed across the country. I am delighted therefore that it will be presented in Cork city for the next three years from 2019-21, as it continues to grow and evolve and in other coastal locations in the future. With such a fantastic line-up of free and fun events across the three days designed to educate, engage and entertain the whole family, SeaFest 2019 in Cork is set to be a magnificent maritime celebration.” 

There will be fun and free activities in the dedicated Kids Zone, along with touch tank displays as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme. This is the first year for BIM’s interactive aquaculture remote classroom (ARC) at SeaFest, with virtual reality headsets for wearers to experience mussel beds up close. Music Generation Cork City will also be performing on the music stage throughout the event. 

The Port of Cork and UCC research centre MaREI will showcase a 3D art exhibition by local fifth class pupils about awareness of marine litter; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will outline UN Sustainable Development Goals; and there will be water safety advice from RNLI.

SeaFest 2019 is part of Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, increasing our engagement with the sea. The Our Ocean Wealth Summit will take place in Cork on Sunday, 9 June and Monday, 10 June.

SeaFest is proudly supported by Cork City Council, BIM, Marine Institute, Port of Cork, Cork Harbour Festival, Commissioners of Irish Lights, Defence Forces, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bord Bia, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, Pure Cork and by media partners Today FM and RedFM. SeaFest is part funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.