Pirate shipwrecks, sea shanties, sailing, seabirds and… sushi! These are just some of the sights and sounds in store at the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival on the Causeway Coast at the end of May.
Now in its fourth year, the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival celebrates the unique stretch of water lying between Ballycastle and the magical island of Rathlin.
The week-long festival will run from 27th May to 4th June. It has a packed programme of events and activities lined up in Ballycastle and on Rathlin itself, with all kinds of water-based activity on Rathlin Sound in-between.
From Tall Ship rides, to racing yachts and fishing trips, and from powerboats to traditional hand-crafted rowing boats (curraghs), every pace will be catered for.
Why not take a boat trip of the coast and marvel at the puffins?
Once again, this year’s festival has been organised by the Council, Ballycastle Community Development Group, the Rathlin Development & Community Association, and the Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sponsors for this year’s festival include Tourism Northern Ireland, Malin Waters and Rathlin Boat House Partnership as returners. Also on board are new sponsors Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd, Marine Hotel Ballycastle, Naturally North Coast & Glens Market and Causeway Coast and Glens Food Network.
Caroline Carey, Tourism Development, Causeway Coast and Glens, said: “The Festival is packed with a number of fantastic family friendly events and attractions. There’s a wealth of adventure-filled history in Rathlin Sound, from tales of Vikings and pirates to mysterious shipwrecks laying deep beneath the island’s waters and of course the myths and legends around the Causeway Coast’s famous giant, Finn McCool. With the area’s unique wildlife, birds and age-old crafts, it’s sure to capture the imagination of kids of all ages.
“For the music lovers, two of Ireland’s best-loved sea shanty groups, Molgoggers from Cobh and Hooks and Crooks from Waterford, will conjur up the sound of the seas with their incredible male harmonies; and for the land-lubbers, there will be a special show by one of Ireland’s top female country singers, the hugely popular Lisa McHugh, while Aoife Scott from the famous musical Black family returns to Rathlin Island again this year with her folk music. There’s also a wealth of pop-up gigs and performances in store in bars and venues throughout the week.
“Two Festival highlights not to be missed are the unique boat blessing event being held on Rathlin and Ballycastle at the opening of the Festival, and the visit of the handsome Tall Ship, The Johanna Lucretia, with free opportunities to board and explore this unique vessel.”
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said: “We are delighted to invite visitors back to Rathlin Island and Ballycastle for the fourth year of this superb festival. We have a unique melting pot of natural riches, both on land and in the seas around this little part of the world. The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is a fantastic mix of culture, entertainment, nature, sport and, of course, food.
“Given that 2016 is Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, this is the perfect event to showcase the wealth of seafood on our shores. Local restaurants will have special seafood menus, there will be local artisan food markets we’ll have classes teaching the art of smoking your own salmon, as well as sushi-making lessons and our first ever ‘Ulster Chowder Cookoff’. We can’t wait!”
For further information about the festival and to pre-book tickets for some events, visit www.rathlinsoundmaritimefestival.com or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre 028 2076 2024.