Cork Harbour Festival, a nine day celebration of Cork’s maritime culture, runs from 2nd – 10th June, kicking off with Ireland’s premier rowing race Ocean to City – An Rás Mór. This year the festival is bigger and bolder than ever with so many different events to dive into, from harbour tours to guided walks, open days to open sails, from Sea to Sky and so much more. Or get on the water and row, sail, surf, swim, paddle or kayak your way through the festival!
There are plenty of opportunities to get on the water over the nine day festival; have a go at sailing, kayaking, speed boat trips, surfing, rowing, paddling, swimming, coasteering and stand-up paddle boarding. If you are looking for love then why not try ‘speed dating’ with a difference and step on the festival ‘Love Boat’ with Ocean Escapes.
Cork is Ireland’s Maritime Haven with a rich history spanning over a thousand years. Explore the layers of history and the many stories of Cork Harbour by visiting its ancient forts and heritage sites. Camden Fort Meagher Open Weekend is offering a range of immersive activities from 2nd – 4th. You can also enjoy a guided walk of Elizabeth Fort in Cork City amongst many other heritage themed events.
Don’t miss the Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, Ireland’s premier rowing event, on Saturday June 2nd. This spectacular long distance rowing race attracts hundreds of participants from all over the world competing in everything from traditional wooden boats, currachs, gigs and longboats to Chinese dragon boats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. So, come along and cheer on the magnificent fleet of 200+ boats from the many vantage points along the harbour.
There is plenty to do for all the family! On Saturday 9 June, Blackrock Castle Observatory will present Sea to Sky, a day of free, family-friendly activities that bring the importance of marine and astronomy science to life. Throughout the festival, kids can have a go at orienteering; dinghy sailing; crab fishing in Cobh and even step onboard the Pelican of London Tall Ship and an Irish Naval vessel at Port of Cork. The festival offers so much to experience as a family.
A diverse range of walks and talks are featured in the festival. From 5th to 7th June, come along to the hugely popular Lunchtime Lectures with the UCC Department of History at St. Peter’s Church. Join a guided walk of Cork’s Bridges or a ghostly tour down the streets of olde Cork. Spike Island will present a special guided harbour tour, where you can learn about the history of the harbour from the water.
Featuring six different exhibitions as well as a film screening, music, songs and stories there is plenty to offer the culture vulture. Visit ‘Spike Island: People and Place 1847-1883’ at the Sirius Arts Centre and explore the art exhibition ‘S’ at Backwater Artists Group, and stay for the artists’ talks. Immerse yourself in the Cork premier of ‘The Camino Voyage’, an evocative feature length documentary which follows a crew as they row a currach from Ireland to Northern Spain in a modern day Celtic odyssey.
This year the festival features even more events for foodies. Why not follow the Cork Harbour Seafood Trial where restaurants and cafes in Cork City and Harbour will present seafood dishes especially created for the festival week. Visit the only authentic timber smokehouse where Wild Irish Atlantic salmon caught on the Lee estuary are hung for smoking or learn how to identify, forage and cook edible seaweed from the Harbour shore. On Saturday 9th June, Boats & Bites at Port of Cork offers a delicious seafood market as well as a chance to get on the water.
John Mullins, Chairman of Port of Cork Company, “The festival is one of a kind, in a harbour which we should all be proud of and utilise to its full recreational potential. This year’s festival is by far one of the busiest with a multitude of events for both families and individuals taking place all around Cork Harbour”.
Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The Festival is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Failte Ireland and MaREI, and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.
Visit their website for the full programme of events