Cork Harbour Festival 2022 Launched With Over 50 Diverse Events

Cork’s largest celebration of maritime culture and heritage returned on June 3-13 with over 50 events in 15 stunning locations throughout Cork City and Cork Harbour.

The varied programme spanned on-the-water activities, history, music, art, workshops, talks and walking tours, the environment, and family events. There was truly something for every age and activity level. Sing a sea shanty, view the sea on the moon, learn about marine life or try your hand at foraging for seaweed. Families and children could make a model boat, join a picnic, create Lego art or explore the harbour’s awe-inspiring forts.

Cork Harbour Festival highlights Cork’s rich maritime heritage and culture, as well as the harbour’s wealth of water-based activities, with the flagship Ocean to City- An Rás Mór at the heart of the celebrations.  Taking place at the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way, Cork is perfectly positioned to deliver the largest harbour festival in Ireland. Festival Manager, Joya Kuin says that: In Cork, you don’t have to go far to find its maritime connections. Boasting one of the largest natural harbours in the world, maritime strands are interwoven with the fabric of the city’s marine landscapes and architecture, visual and performance arts, outdoor activities and conversations around environment and development. Cork Harbour Festival brings all these connections to the fore, inviting residents and visitors alike to explore and adventure, create, sing and play on land and on water.’’

Lord Mayor of Cork City, Councillor Colm Kelleher, said: “Cork City Council are thrilled to be a supporter of this year’s Cork Harbour Festival. It is a wonderful event which highlights what’s best about our City, and Cork Harbour in particular, to both City dwellers and Tourists alike. This festival celebrates Cork’s connection with the water, its river and harbour, through both heritage and activities. I would encourage everyone take part in one of the 40 activities laid on”

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, one of the harbour’s most thrilling events,  returned after a two-year hiatus. On Saturday June 4th spectators could witness Ireland’s premier rowing and paddling event and saw hundreds of national and international participants race from Crosshaven to the finish line in Cork City. The flagship event will saw everything from currachs, skiffs, longboats, kayaks, and paddle boards with many participants travelling from places like the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom to compete. There was spectator vantage points along the harbour, including Cobh and Passage West with entertainment and festivities both there and at the finish line. More participant info can be found at oceantocity.com.

Welcoming the launch of the festival, Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan said, ‘Cork County Council is proud to be a major sponsor of Cork Harbour Festival, which honours and celebrates the unique maritime heritage that is synonymous with Cork. It is fantastic to see the festival return to full form this year following the challenges of the pandemic and we are delighted that our sponsorship of the event, with support from our Economic Development Fund, will help to sustain and grow the event. With festivals being such a key driver of economic growth, Cork Harbour Festival will be another welcome boost for tourism in County Cork.’

Festival Events:

On the Water Events: There were multiple boat tours of Cork Harbour during the festival, taking in majestic sites like Roche’s Point Lighthouse and Spike Island. Those that were feeling adventurous could explore under Cork City’s bridges by kayak or explore the city by sunset while learning about the city’s heritage with Atlantic Sea Kayaking. Atlantic Offshore Adventures will taught an introductory lesson in stand-up paddle boarding at the Lee Fields.

Family Events: Kids were invited to build a model boat at home using recycled materials and showcase their creation at The Lough as part of the Make a Model Boat Project. Kids learned to make maritime Lego art at Crawford Art Gallery, as part of the Lego Maritime Workshop with Brickx Club. Young people attended an aerial dance performance and workshop with the Circus Factory.

Environment: In association with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Nano Nagle Place, there was a free film screening of “Cabo Verde, an Island Jewel”. This film tells the story of a group of marine scientists from the IWDG who travelled to West Africa to identify the breeding ground of humpback whales that have been previously recorded feeding in Irish waters. During the festival there were multiple water -side clean-ups. You could join Sea and Land Trust and Clean Coasts in Blackrock for shoreline clean-ups on June 6 and 11. While you could join Subowti, An Taisce and Clean Coasts to clean-up the Lee on your kayak or paddle board on June 12. In association with Inch Hideaway Eco Camping, aquatic biologist Frances Gallagher gave a Seaweed Talk on June 5. Afterwards you could learn about identifying edible seaweed and forage on the beach.

Talks: Karen Weekes gave a talk in association with MTU at MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory on June 9.  In February 2022, Karen Weekes, a MTU lecturer, became the first Irish woman to row solo and unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean. The talk gave an insight into the journey, its challenges, and its triumphs. In association with Civic & Community Engagement, UCC ran a free online virtual seminar ‘Port Cities Seminar: Sport, Solidarity and Social Inclusion’ on June 7. This was a roundtable discussion with local and international partners on the role of sport in building solidarity and social inclusion in our cities.

Arts: Cobh based a-cappella buoy band The Mologoggers performed both traditional and new sea shanties in the beautiful Goldie Chapel in Nano Nagle Place on June 4. While Hold Fast, an exhibition by Seán Hanrahan with Backwater Artists took place in the former Punishment Block cells at Spike Island. The exhibition explored the history of maritime and prison tattoos. An exhibition by ceramicist and artist Bernadette Tuite will be viewable at MTU microGallery at 46 Grand Parade until June 30. Tuite is a former ship captain, and her work has been strongly influenced by her explorations at sea into places accessible only by kayak.

Heritage:  Councillor Kieran McCarthy provided two free walking tours looking at Cork’s rich and unique maritime heritage and history.  The June 11 city walking tour started at the National Monument on Grand Parade. While the 12 June Blackrock walking tour started at MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory and encompassed the history of the vibrant Blackrock area. Camden Fort Meagher, Spike Island and Elizabeth Fort were also be open for visitors.

See the full festival programme of events here: https://corkharbourfestival.com/events/  

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 and Failte Ireland and made possible with the help of over 40 Event Partners and many volunteers. Official Media Sponsors are 96FM, C103FM and The Echo.

Welcome to Cork Harbour Festival


Cork Harbour Festival Manager Joya Kuin talks about the unique beauty of the Harbour and how special the festival is to the community.

Selected as one of Europe’s Top 20 Art and Culture Festivals in 2018

And Top 36 Global Festivals in 2017

by FlightNetwork.com!

”The Festival: Taking place in the second largest natural harbor in the world, the Cork Harbour Festival is an active, exhilarating display of Ireland’s own maritime roots. Here, families gather to partake in everything from urban kayaking and mobile saunas, to yacht sailing along the crystalline waters of Cork Harbour. Oh, and did we mention seaweed foraging? Yes, that’s a thing.

What To Expect: Flip-flop wearers beware: the Cork Harbour Festival offers a wide range of outdoor activities, and you’ll want to dress appropriately. Walking enthusiasts can join any of the free guided walking tours, spooky ghost tours, or day excursions over to nearby Spike Island. Spectators, on the other hand, might find themselves drawn to the true Cork spectacle — “The Rebel Plunge” — a 3.8km downstream swim en route to Blackrock Village.”

This year’s Cork Harbour Festival programme will be released in May 2023.

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