Rathlin sounds off with Maritime Festival

The heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens newest nautical festival returns with a boom this year as the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival was launched by Chair of Moyle District Council Cara McShane, Michael Cecil from the Rathlin Community and Paul Kerrigan from Ballycastle community on Thursday 1st May.

The Festival, now in its second year, celebrates the rich maritime heritage and history of Rathlin Island and Ballycastle and promises to be a week of spectacular sailing and sod-based activities.

Organised by Moyle District Council, Ballycastle Community Development Group and the Rathlin Development & Community Association, and sponsored by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, there will be something for land and sea lovers, with sailing, historic and modern craft, demonstrations, exhibitions and guided walks, seafood themed markets as well as menus, music and entertainment.

Chairperson of Moyle District Council Cllr Cara McShane said, “We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors and locals to Rathlin Island and Ballycastle. The beauty of the Causeway Coast and Glens is renowned the world over and the Rathlin Sound is a hidden gem that is ready to be discovered.”

Caroline Carey, Tourism Development Officer, Moyle District Council , said “Following the success of last year’s event, we’ve come back bigger and better with a range of events and activities for all the family. Whether you want to try your hand at paddle boarding or kayaking, take a sunset boat trip in one of the most scenic locations in Ireland or simply taste the best of local fayre – with a market, special seafood menus in local restaurants and cookery demonstrations – there will be something for everyone to enjoy at the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival. There are plenty of events to choose from including fantastic family friendly events.”

The celebration is centred on Rathlin Sound, the body of water that lies between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle on the spectacular north coast of Ireland, right in the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens and the opening weekend will feature a fancy dress parade with the backdrop of the Tall Ship and finishing with music and a seafood barbeque on 23 May in the Diamond, Ballycastle.

“Over the course of the week we will be celebrating our passion for the sea, local culture, heritage and history culminating in Rathlin’s ‘Big Lunch’, music from ‘Goats Don’t Shave’ and traditional boat races on the 1st June. We look forward to visitors arriving by boat and of course by road, bike and bus and cannot wait to share our little part of the world with the world.

“The packed programme includes walking tours, boat trips; sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking and dinghy sailing and both Ballycastle and Rathlin will definitely be ‘sounding off’ with a programme of traditional music including street entertainers’ competition open to everyone, traditional sessions in local pubs and hotels.”

The festival will run from 23 May – 1 June. For further information about the festival log on to www.heartofthecausewaycoastandglens.com/maritimefestival or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre 028 2076 2024.