Cork Harbour Festival kicks off this weekend with 9 days of maritime fun

The annual Cork Harbour Festival returns this weekend with their biggest festival yet! The event takes place over nine days (1st – 9th June) and will feature 70 events in Cork city as well as 15 harbour towns and villages.

Cork Harbour Festival, 1 – 9 June (Credit Clare Keogh)

Whether a visitor to the region or a native Corkonian, join in and explore  beautiful Cork city and harbour, discover its many exciting activities, and reveal the treasures of this beautiful maritime haven.

Celebrations begin with Ireland’s premier rowing spectacle, Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, on the June Bank Holiday Saturday, and continues with a flotilla of great events throughout festival week. This year Cork Harbour will welcome SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival, to Cork’s quayside from 7th-9th June.

Ocean to City, An Rás Mór (Credit Clare Keogh)

The showcase event that draws huge crowds every year is Ocean to City – An Rás Mór. The race is the largest of its kind in Ireland and attracts competitors from all over – including UK, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, USA, Germany and The Netherlands. The 200-strong fleet will give spectators a chance to see an array of vessels – from traditional wooden boats, currachs, gigs, Chinese dragon boats, kayaks and even stand-up paddle boards.

Whether you’d like to get on the water or stay on dry land, there is a huge variety of festival events to enjoy for the whole family, and many of them completely free. Explore the impressive forts and castles in the harbour, or go afloat and kayak, row, sail, SUP and surf your way through the festival! Kids will love to practice their pirate circus skills, play a 14ft drum, get crafty, learn about marine life, try dinghy sailing or join the beach day

From sea shanties to storytelling, boat trips to championships and water activities to shore festivities – this year’s festival has something for everyone!

If you want to get involved the organisers are looking for volunteers to help out with the ocean to City Race on Saturday

They are looking for water-savvy volunteers who can help with the boat recovery or the kayak recovery on Saturday. Comfort around the water and boat handling skills are important.

Or if you’re less comfortable around the water, they have a range of important land-based roles. If you are free for a few hours and would like to get involved get in contact with Joya:

For a full list of events visit

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22