The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival - an event with a serious ‘wow’ factor

FOR a fun-filled action packed Bank Holiday this May head down the beautiful Causeway Coast to Ballycastle and Rathlin Island for the fantastic Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival and a celebration of all things maritime!

Enjoy the buzz and thrill of the chase during the Sailing Regatta as yachts and dinghies compete and race across the waters to display their speed and skills, great for competitors and spectators alike. See traditional craft including dromtheims, the iconic Colmcille and Viking longboats!

Have a go at some of the great water based activities including introductions to surfing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Get a different perspective of our seas on an introductory dive, get hooked on a sailing lesson, try your hand at beach volleyball or for real daredevils throw yourself into coasteering at the local landmark known as the Devil’s Churn.

Back on land, browse the Food and Craft market with great local produce and cooking and craft demonstrations, learn more about local maritime history at one of the free talks and exhibitions, watch local teams making curraghs and model yachts. Taste the new blends from famous Bushmills Distillery, sample the great local seafood on offer, enjoy a sunset ferry cruise or simply relax and enjoy great local shopping, food and entertainment at the local shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Find your own island escape on Rathlin on a beautiful guided walk. Take time to visit the Light Houses during their Festival open days or listen to tall tales of shipwrecks and maritime matters at the evening storytelling sessions.

From Rathlin or Ballycastle, view the crucial Lifeboat and Helicopter at sea rescue demonstrations.

For families there’s plenty to keep everyone busy with the chance to meet the Sea Queen and our friendly local giants Finn, Oonagh and Benandonner. Dress up for the opening fancy dress parade, find the hidden treasures on a town treasure hunt, enter the sand castle competition or touch a starfish at the Living Seas display.

Keep your evenings free for seriously good music and entertainment. Special ticketed music performances include headline names Skerryvore, the multi-award winning folk-rock band from Scotland and Bap Kennedy, a professional Irish singer/songwriter who has toured internationally with Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

Also performing will be Aoife Scott of the legendary Black family, Mama Kaz a singer song writer and blues powerhouse from Belfast, Wookalily with their americana/bluegrass style, Peter McShannon and It’s All Gone Pete Sean. With sea shanties, uilleann pipes, traditional music, bar beach parties and more there’s every reason to have a great time.

The Festival is about inspiring a passion for the sea as well as celebrating local culture, history, heritage and traditions.

Events open in Ballycastle on May 24th, closing on Rathlin on June 2nd with plenty happening on both locations throughout the Festival dates.

For a serious ‘wow’ factor the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is the place to be this bank holiday May and June. With events this good and locations this beautiful it’s the perfect excuse to explore, experience and enjoy the very best of the heart of the spectacular Causeway Coast & Glens.

For Festival and area information including Festival programme and ticket details call Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre on 0282076 2024, visit or like us on facebook at