Bantry Bay longboats and Chinese dragon boats will mix with 400 rowers from all over the world when a major marine festival takes place in Cork next month.
It is estimated the Ocean to City festival which will be held from June 1-10 will swell the city’s coffers by at least €600,000.
According to the organisers of the eighth annual festival — Cork-based community boat builders Meitheal Mara — it will be the biggest event to date.
The highlight, An Rás Mór, will take place on June 2 and is likely to attract more than 12,500 spectators.
The race will begin in Crosshaven at 10.30am on that bank holiday Saturday before traversing over 22km through Cork Harbour, via Cobh, Monkstown, Passage West, and Blackrock before reaching the finish line at Lapps Quay in the city centre.
Rowers from all over Ireland will be pitting their skills against visiting crews from Holland, Britain and the US.
The day’s activities will not be confined to the water and will include on-street entertainment, food markets and live music at the finish line before the prize giving ceremony in the Clarion Hotel.
Other events throughout the week will include free family entertainment, live music, boat building demonstrations, kayak and boat harbour trips, free events at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, and at Cork Harbour Summer School in the Port of Cork.
Festival manager, Siubhán McCarthy said she was very excited to launch the festival programme yesterday.
“This unique maritime festival, and in particular, An Rás Mór, is a fantastic way to pay tribute to our boating traditions by involving the public to make it a real cultural celebration.
“The festival is very important to the local Cork economy and we aim to build on this further by attracting more crews and spectators than ever before for our 2012 events.”
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