Next summer, the Derry quayside will be transformed as the city once again holds the Foyle Maritime Festival, with the Clipper Round the World yacht fleet back on the Foyle.
The dates for the festival will be Saturday July 14th to Sunday July 22nd – a full week of river based activities. The distinctive Clipper Race yachts will berth in Foyle Marina during the race stopover from New York before sailing to Race Finish in Liverpool.
Sharon McMahon, CEO Loughs Agency, says she is delighted that the Foyle Maritime Festival and Clipper Race fleet were coming back to the Foyle. “The Agency has a remit to develop and promote marine tourism on the Foyle and, to this end, has been successful in the delivery of the Foyle Marina as one element of an Interreg programme. It is a tribute to the success of the programme that this facility has been the enabler for several maritime festivals in Derry and this will undoubtedly continue well into the future.” And she has welcomed the opportunity for the Agency to be able to continue to support the festival, saying that “such a prestige event on the river will showcase the potential for further development of marine tourism”.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, hopped on board the Maybe sailing ship which was in the city over the weekend to make the announcement – and said “I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm the dates of the Foyle Maritime Festival, which is probably our most popular visitor experience. We anticipate another highly successful event with tens of thousands of people coming along to enjoy our beautiful riverside, with activities and events for all the family. It’s very exciting to welcome the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race once again and their return is testament to the success of their stopover visits in previous years.”
Clipper Race Chairman and Founder, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, said: “We are very pleased to continue our long-term relationship with the city of Derry-Londonderry. Over the past six years the city has welcomed our international crew, supporters and partners with open arms and it is an exceptional place to visit and do business with. The spirit of Derry-Londonderry and its people is contagious, which has consistently positioned itself as one of the most popular destinations the race has partnered with in its 20 year history.”
Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter, said that preparations have been underway for a number of months in finalising the details of the Festival. “Our officers have been working behind the scenes really since the last Maritime Festival to plan for next year’s event, and to ensure it is just as exceptional as our previous years. We were overwhelmed by the feedback from the last Foyle Maritime Festival, and we’re now aiming to build on that success and draw even more visitors to the city next year. Council officers are working hard to ensure that the 2018 programme is even more diverse and entertaining, and are engaging with our local businesses to make sure the benefits are felt widely throughout the city and beyond.”
Chief Executive of Foyle Port, Brian McGrath said: “We are delighted to be supporting this major event for the city and region once again next year. The Foyle Maritime Festival provides the opportunity to showcase the beautiful River Foyle and its surrounds to a global audience, and the outstanding offering we have locally in terms of sailing and maritime activity. I look forward to seeing the programme as it develops and to what will be another exciting international event for the city.”
Work is now commencing in the engagement of local businesses. Council’s Business Opportunities manager Louise Breslin, confirmed that a series of workshop events will be taking place over the coming months to ensure local companies can fully avail of the opportunity to participate in the Foyle Maritime Festival. “The Festival always has a positive impact on the local economy and presents a great opportunity for local companies – especially tourism related businesses – to tap into new audiences,” she explained. “It’s a chance to showcase the many fantastic products and services available locally and to really promote the city and build our profile as an exciting and unique visitor destination.”
The Foyle Maritime Festival will run for over a week throughout July, from the 14th – 22nd, with over 100,000 people expected to throng the city’s riverside based on figures from previous years. This will be the fourth time the city has acted as a host port for the Clipper Race fleet and the Foyle Maritime Festival 2018 will once again offer the opportunity to profile the city as an international tourist destination, promoting our maritime history and exclusive tourism offering.
To find out more about the event or to find information on how your business can engage with the programme go to www.foylemaritimefestival.com or follow Foyle Maritime Festival on Facebook.