Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD was welcomed to Galway for Ireland’s biggest and most spectacular maritime festival, SeaFest 2017.
The Taoiseach greeted festival-goers and enjoyed the huge range of activities and entertainment taking place in Galway Harbour and Docks, on the second day of the event.
The Taoiseach toured scientific vessels and was entertained by the aerial acrobatics from PowerFly’s world champion flyboarders swirling in the air on pump-powered jet packs in the heart of the harbour.
He was also greeted by the Port of Galway Sea Scouts, viewed Saor Bad/Boatbuilders demonstrations and spoke with marine-inspired entrepreneurs in the LookWest.ie Marquee.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said, “I am delighted to be in Galway for SeaFest, a great festival that celebrates Ireland’s maritime heritage and raises awareness about the opportunities provided by our ocean. I really enjoyed seeing the ships, seafood displays, water sports and marine science exhibitions. The West of Ireland will benefit greatly from our growing marine economy.”
Thousands flocked to Galway Harbour to take part in the packed programme of free, family friendly activities and entertainment. SeaFest is expected to attract between 100,000 over the three days of the festival.
The festival showcases Galway as a leading maritime centre, and the west of Ireland is expected to benefit greatly from Ireland’s blue economy, which is estimated to be worth more than €6 billion by 2020.
As well as tours of famous ships, and world-champion flyboarders, festival-goers also took to the water, taking advantage of the free sailing and kayaking sessions on offer. The Irish Sailing Association is also offering disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend.
The three-day festival includes a seafood showcase from BIM and Bord Bia, as well as live cookery and fishmonger demonstrations from some of Ireland’s top chefs. Defence Force Displays, RNLI and Coast Guard air and sea shows were also part of the festival line-up.
Children were kept busy creating sea creatures at art and craft workshops, storytelling sessions and touch tank displays. Roving entertainment from bungling buccaneers, comic fisherman and giant angel fish and pirate puppets.
The maritime festival also features The Wild Atlantic – Sea Science, a new marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, and a unique exhibition on polar explorer Roald Amundsen at NUI Galway. Festivities also extend across Galway, with activities in the Latin Quarter, Salthill and Rusheen Bay.