independent

Thursday 17 October 2019

50,000 expected to pay tribute to Navy founder

The Mayor Cllr Jim Allan launched the John Barry Maritime Festival on Friday evening at the RNLI Station Wexford
The Mayor Cllr Jim Allan launched the John Barry Maritime Festival on Friday evening at the RNLI Station Wexford

David Tucker

ORGANISERS of the John Barry Maritime Festival are predicting that 50,000 people will flock to the town for the celebration of the life of the Wexford native founder of the U.S. Navy.

ORGANISERS of the John Barry Maritime Festival are predicting that 50,000 people will flock to the town for the celebration of the life of the Wexford native founder of the U.S. Navy.

The festival takes place in Wexford town from June 20 to 23.

'This is the second annual event, it is a bigger and better festival programme than the inaugural event in 2012, which drew crowds of 35,000 over two days,' said festival coordinator Lorraine Galvin.

'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, the customers cutter 'Celtic Mist' and a tall ship.

'We will (also) be hosting the National Thundercat Racing Championships and we will have lots of more gentle watersports on offer for all the family,' said Lorraine.

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 Lorraine Galvin, the festival 'based on a idea for fun on the quay and to raise funds for the RNLI, developed into an idea for a maritime festival'.

Maritime activities include kayaking, sailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, powerboating and raft races.

Free childrens activities take place in the covered Childrens village on the quay and include arts and crafts, science experiments, kindermusik and a toddler play zone.

Families will also enjoy festival fun with a funfair, live music, entertainment, exhibitions, cultural events and the Wexford Food Familes Village.

David Maguire, Director, said the Festival is very much a community event, showing the very best of Wexford activities and produce.

'An addition this year is the Exhibition Village on the Quay which will house Irelands largest model boat exhibition, boat builders, sea life and various maritime stalls" says David.

As well as family fun, the festival celebrates Tacumshane-born Commodore John Barry, America's first commissioned naval officer.

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 officers 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.

Heritage and Cultural events will take place from Thursday, June 20, with a focus on Wexfords rich maritime history and culture.

Wexford People

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