The Foyle Merchant and Maritime markets, a 42-feet catamaran with an international jazz band on board, visiting Tall ships, Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Kitchen and Trail and a spectacular VOYAGES showcase event that will bring the River Foyle alight with music and animation are just some of the highlights announced today as part of the Foyle Maritime Festival that will take place in Derry from 14-22 July 2018.
The Festival, which is one of Ireland’s top maritime celebratory events, attracting over 160,000 people in 2016, will once again welcome the Clipper Round the World Race when the city acts as a host port for the fourth consecutive time for this much anticipated event.
Announcing details of the exciting festival programme, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Maolíosa McHugh said the theme for this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival is “Voyages” with a strong emphasis on the city and district’s strong maritime history.
He said: “This year’s Foyle Maritime Festival promises to be another huge success for everyone involved. The programme has something for everyone with a bespoke and exciting programme of entertainment and animation on and alongside the River Foyle, including a food festival, artisan markets, live music and a range of keynote events that will justify the international audiences that the festival attracts to the city.
“I particularly like the idea that the theme of the festival is Voyages as Derry is synonymous with the sea and this acknowledges our rich maritime heritage and the journeys that we as a people, place and individuals have experienced. Not only was the city a major Irish emigration port throughout the phases of resettlement, it also played a key role in World War II when ships from the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the US navy were all stationed here.”
Jacqueline Whoriskey, Head of Festival and Events with Derry City and Strabane District Council says they have been working closely with festival partners the Loughs Agency and Foyle Port to ensure that this year’s programme reflects the significance of the event for the city and the close relationship it has with the river and its maritime heritage.
“The highlight event of the festival will be a spectacular VOYAGES showcase event on and alongside the river that encompasses land, water and air with the Clipper Race yachts joining Tall Ships, cruisers, yachts and punts from across the region and beyond as part of a live theatrical performance that will culminate with light and fireworks on the water,” she said.
In addition to the festival programme, local promoters have programmed a range of entertainment and musical events in Ebrington Square to coincide with the festival including two outdoor concerts that will add considerably to the range of events and musical experiences on offer throughout the nine days of the event.
There will be visiting tall ships berthed along the Quay and to add to the splendour of the occasion there will be a wide variety of food and bespoke craft stalls in both the Foyle Merchant and Maritime markets as well as lots of water activities including the River Foyle Races, organised by the Loughs Agency and participants from a variety of rowing and yacht clubs across the country.
Helena Hasson, Event Co-ordinator with the Council, said other highlights include the arrival and departure of the Clipper race yachts, boat tours and motor runs down the River Foyle and an interactive education area entitled ‘The Science of Water’ sponsored by DuPont Kevlar®.
“We are very grateful to all of our funders, sponsors and festival partners, who have been working with Council to develop this year’s programme. This is a huge week for the city to showcase all that’s best about our city and region and the support from everyone has been brilliant. She also added ‘We are delighted that in addition to our festival programme, local promoters have independently programmed a range of entertainment and musical events, including two large outdoor concerts in Ebrington Square to coincide with the festival.
“Likewise we are thrilled that the Foyle Cup is also on at the time of the festival and we’re working with the event organisers to support all event plans. With so much to experience in the city between 14 -22 July we are confident that locals and visitors alike will enjoy one of the most exciting weeks of entertainment and sport that city has hosted for several years.”
Encouraging the public to put the dates in their diaries and to extend an invitation to family and friends to come home for the celebrations, the Mayor said:
“The Foyle Maritime Festival is hugely important for the City and District and the wider North West region in promoting the area as a world class tourism destination and a maritime hub. The programme of events being put together for the festival is phenomenal with something for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s boating and yachting, live music and animation, or maritime history. The event has been hugely successful in the past attracting over 100,000 people and we are confident that this year will be another amazing celebration that will put our city and district on the international map.
“We are particularly keen to attract people from the city and district and wider region to take this opportunity to come home and be part of the festival celebrations. Not only is it a chance to catch up with family and friends but it’s a great opportunity to see how the city has transformed and developed and ready to welcome you back.”
The full festival programme will be launched in the coming weeks but details of the festival are available online where you can sign up for updates at www.foylemaritimefestival.com or you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/foylemaritimefestival and on Twitter @Foylemaritime