THEY’VE braved mountainous seas, treacherous reefs and Atlantic storms on their epic 35,000 kilometre round-the-world yacht race.
But yesterday, two Clipper yacht race crews faced perhaps their most daunting challenge on their stopover in Kinsale, Co Cork.
They swapped their sea legs for dancing legs to take part in a giant céilí organised to celebrate transatlantic Celtic links.
It was one of the highlights of a weekend festival in Kinsale to mark the Clipper fleet’s stopover.
Hundreds of dancers took part in the céilí on the town’s South Quay to celebrate in particular the arrival of the Cork and Cape Breton Island Clipper yachts.
Musicians and dancers travelled from Cape Breton in Canada, including fiddle and pipe group The Beaton Sisters Band with singer Tara Rankin, dance teacher Burton MacIntyre and representatives from the Celtic Heart of North America Co-operative and Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton.
They worked with Cork musicians, including Donncha Trio, The Cork Irish Dance Co and William Hammond, the organiser of the Cork Céilí Mór and Folk Festival, to teach Irish sets, céilí dances and Cape Breton square sets to the public.
They were joined by crews from the Cork and Cape Breton Island yachts who trained together before leaving Canada on the race across the Atlantic to Kinsale.
“The goal was to teach as many of the local Kinsale audience the Cape Breton dances and to have the entire square filled with people dancing – it was all about participation,” said Joella Foulds, the organiser of Cape Breton’s famous annual Celtic Colours International Festival.
Mayor of Co Cork Jim Daly signed a commemoration of friendship on board the Cape Breton yacht.
Meanwhile, the sleek 68-foot clipper yachts will be open to the public in Kinsale today and tomorrow.
The fleet is due to depart the harbour town in a parade of sail at 11am on Wednesday and arrive in Cork city at 5pm, where another three-day stopover festival is planned.
The yachts will berth at the new Port of Cork City Marina at South Custom House Quay, with a festival village set up on Albert Quay.
Headline musical acts during the festival include Fred, John Spillane, Crystal Swing and The Walls.
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