IT’S anchors aweigh as Northern Ireland’s leading maritime festival, the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, is launched by the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan.
Organised by the Council Harbour & Tourism Section, Ballycastle Community Development Group, the Rathlin Development & Community Association, and the Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sponsored by the Tourism Northern Ireland, Malin Waters, Fair Head Tidal, and Rathlin Island Boat House 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 great music and entertainment.
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said, “Last year’s festival was a huge success and we are looking to build upon that this year. We wanted to have even more for all the family at this year’s festival! Once again, we are really looking forward to welcoming visitors 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, Causeway Coast and Glens, said “The Festival is celebrating its third year now and promises to be awash with activities for all the family, with this year promising to be the biggest and best yet!
“Dad will be distracted by the Bushmills Whiskey Tasting whilst mum inspects the delights on offer at Ballycastle Market. All the while, the two kids can dress up as Vikings before taking on Finn McCool and his wife Oonagh who have been interrupted by their arch enemy, Benandonner!
“With everyone else preoccupied, Grandad signed up to a power-boating lesson whilst Granny is on a fishing trip on the Lord Moyle!”
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. Kicking off on Friday 22nd May, the opening weekend will feature a fancy dress parade followed by the uniquely traditional blessing of the boats at the Marina in 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 ‘Runabay’ and our ‘Living Seas’ event on the 31st May. We look forward to visitors arriving by boat, by car, bike and bus and cannot wait to share our little island and causeway coast with the world.
“The packed programme includes walking tours, boat trips; sports such as 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 Ardglass Vikings will be docking in Ballycastle on Friday 29th May ahead of their epic battle with the Currachs and Drontheims on Saturday 30th May which could well continue into the next day! Come along on Friday to view the long boat as it arrives at Ballycastle Harbour before setting off for Rathlin”.
For further information about the festival log on tohttp://www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com/maritimefestival or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre 028 2076 2024 or firstname.lastname@example.org.