50,000 Visitors expected at 2013 John Barry Maritime Festival in Wexford
Father of the US Navy honored with family friendly fun fest that expects big crowds for The Gathering
Wexford town is set for a tourism boost this June as organizers of the John Barry Maritime Festival unveil their 2013 programme and expect an influx of 50,000 visitors to enjoy the seaside activities this month. The festival takes place in Wexford town from June 20 to 23.
Speaking at the programme launch, Lorraine Galvin, Festival coordinator said that this is the second annual event, and it is a bigger and better festival programme than the inaugural event in 2012, which drew crowds of 35,000 over two days.
“We have been working hard on the this festival offering since August of 2012 and we’re delighted to unveil such an expansive programme, we have a visiting fleet of vessels including all weather Lifeboats, Navy vessels, Customs Cutter, Celtic Mist and a tall ship. We will be hosting the National Thundercat Racing Championships and we will have lots of more gentle water sports on offer for all the family. All of these activities are either free of charge or at a nominal fee and we look forward to welcoming even more people to join in the festival celebrations this year.”
According to Galvin, “this festival based on a Idea for fun on the quay and to raise fund for the RNLI developed into an idea for a maritime festival," says Lorraine.
Maritime activities including enjoying kayaking and boating and raft races, arts and crafts, science experiments, a funfair, live music and entertainment, exhibitions, cultural events and the Wexford food village will all be on offer for visitors to enjoy.
As well as family fun, the festival also celebrates Wexford man Commodore John Barry, father of the US Navy. In September 2012 the festival directors invited two US Navy Rear Admirals to Wexford and discussed plans for the 2013 festival and forming links with the US Navy.
"The Rear Admirals had great admiration for John Barry and were very interested in learning more of his heritage and home town told by historian Bernard Brown," said Frank O Brien of the RNLI.
A short history of John Barry
During the 1700s a young John Barry from Ballysampson, near Tacumshin, sailed from Wexford as a ship's cabin boy. After some years at sea, he finally settled in Philadelphia. With the outbreak of war between the Colonies and England, Barry was given the task of outfitting the first Continental Navy ships. He received a captain's commission in the Continental Navy dated 7 December 1775, signed by the President of Congress, John Hancock. Having commanded several warships and fighting many battles both at sea and in the land war, John Barry fought the last battle of the Revolution on 10 March 1783. President George Washington appointed Barry as Commander-in-Chief of the new Navy of the Constitutional United States of America. Commodore John Barry is known as the Father of the American Navy.
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