The historic walled city of Derry where the stunning Wild Atlantic Way meets the Causeway Coastal Route is gearing up to host Ireland’s largest maritime festival featuring the arrival of the Clipper 2017-2018 Round the World Yacht Race.
Derry is proud to be official host port once again for the popular Atlantic homecoming leg of the world's greatest ocean adventure and, with the internationally acclaimed Foyle Maritime Festival centrepiece, the city is a ‘must see’ visitor destination for what promises to be the most spectacular nautical celebration in Ireland this summer.
This year’s award-winning festival is aptly themed ‘Voyages’, a homage to the rich maritime heritage of Lough Foyle and the surrounding area spanning 9,000 years including Derry’s key role as a major Irish emigration port during the 19th Century.
With less than 50 days to go until the premier festival gets underway, excitement is building for nine days of maritime magic when Derry takes centre stage as the penultimate host port for more than 200 seafaring adventurers nearing the end of their epic circumnavigation of the globe. One of the key highlights of the phenomenal festival programme organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council will be the magnificent 70-foot ocean racers sweeping into Foyle Marina with crew from 20 different nationalities guaranteed to receive a LegenDerry quayside reception from tens of thousands of well-wishers.
A sea of spectators will line Queen’s Quay to welcome the sailing heroes competing in one of the biggest challenges of the natural world - a record breaking 40,000 nautical miles in almost eleven months – and they will spend a week ashore and on board their boats enjoying the festival atmosphere in one of Europe’s finest walled cities famed for its hospitality.
It will be an especially poignant homecoming for Derry’s own Conall Morrison, skipper of HotelPlanner.com, one of 11 teams competing in the prestigious endurance test who will be racing from New York to Derry and then on to the competition finish in Liverpool.
Odhran Dunne, General Manager of Visit Derry said: “Record numbers of visitors from around the world are expected to arrive in Derry to experience the sights, sounds and sails of our unique international maritime festival on the Foyle. This is one of Ireland’s top festivals this summer; it has something for all the family, and added to this the LegenDerry welcome, it’s an event not to be missed.”
Some of the key highlights to pencil into your diary from the packed programme of events which will have the banks of the River Foyle absolutely buzzing with all things nautical from July 14th-22nd 2018 include:
- Clipper Race arrivals
- Tall Ships
- Foyle Merchant & Maritime Markets
- Flavours of the Foyle with celebrity chefs
- Foyle River Races
- Open boat tours and sail training
- ‘Voyages’ Parade of Light