Ships ahoy at marine festival in Cork

Cork will host the country’s first maritime festival, with industry workshops and a family fun day, which Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney hopes will one day become an event to rival the National Ploughing Championships.

The festival will take place on July 10-11 and Mr Coveney hopes it will draw thousands of people to Cork harbour where they will experience seafood, sailing, ocean lectures, movie screenings, visits on board Irish Naval vessels, and all manner of seafaring family fun.

The event is being organised by the Marine Institute and follows the success of the ‘Our Ocean Wealth’ conference, which took place last year in Dublin. It attracted more than 500 marine researchers, investors, and industry figures who discussed innovation, investment and opportunities presented by the blue economy.

Marine Institute chief executive Peter Heffernan said day one will focus on the scientific and economic contribution the sea can make to Ireland.

“On the first day we will demonstrate investment opportunities and niche opportunities in seafood and ocean energy and the biotech potential of marine organisms,”said Dr Heffernan.

He said the organisers were working to “have some really interesting high-profile speakers at the event”.

Dr Heffernan echoed Mr Coveney in saying the ultimate aim of the maritime festival was to grow it as an event to rival the National Ploughing Championships.

It will coincide with the opening of the Beaufort Centre, a €15m research station which, when fully operational, will house up to 135 full-time researchers, and the National Ocean Test facility, which will boast the world’s largest wave-testing tank.

A full list of festival events will be released next month.

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