IRELAND’S national maritime festival, SeaFest, was launched in Galway yesterday by fisheries minister Michael Creed.
SeaFest, which takes place in Galway for the second year in a row, from June 30 to July 2, has become one of the most popular summer festivals in Ireland.
Last year it attracted more than 60,000 visitors to Galway. This summer, Galway Harbour and Docks are set to be transformed into an ‘open air sea world’ for the free three-day event.
New additions to the festival programme this year include The Wild Atlantic – Sea Science exhibition, which is Ireland’s first sea science gallery, officially opened by Creed (pictured) yesterday at Galway City Museum.
The basic principles of marine science are communicated in an interactive and engaging way at the museum.
The minister, launching the festival at the museum, said: ‘SeaFest plays a vital role in the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’s [Ireland’s marine plan] key goal of increasing participation and engagement with the sea.
‘It deepens knowledge and appreciation of the ocean and builds on how we can each work to protect while also benefiting from our abundant maritime resources.’
SeaFest is coordinated by the Marine Institute, on behalf of the Marine Coordination Group.
Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, said: ‘We are eagerly anticipating SeaFest 2017. Last year, it proved itself to be massively popular with the local Galway community and with visitors who travelled from far afield to celebrate the festivities.
‘A unique aspect of SeaFest is the number of local, regional and national agencies and organisations that come together to plan this event,’ Dr Heffernan said, adding that local businesses, media and festival volunteers also play a pivotal role.
SeaFest includes a range of industry events which focus on research, the marine industry and marine technology.
National and international delegates will attend the third annual Our Ocean Wealth Summit on June 30 at NUI (National University of Ireland) Galway.
Digital Ocean: Ireland’s Marine Engineering and Technology Conference and the Marine Industry Awards will take place on June 29.
A Marine Trade Show will be held at NUI Galway on June 29-30, and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Sea Fisheries Board) will hold its national seafood conference, Winning in a Changing Environment, on June 29 in the Radisson Blu Hotel.