One of Ireland's best-kept secrets is that it has some of the best cruising grounds in Europe, but now the Irish are leaving no stone unturned to show the world how much fun you can have cruising the coastlines of the Emerald Isle.
Howth Yacht Club - hosts for the Cruising Festival
Cruising enthusiasts throughout Ireland, Britain, Europe and further afield are being invited by Howth Yacht Club on the outskirts of Dublin to participate in the inaugural Fingal International Family Cruising Festival (FIFCF) between July 7th and 15th for what is the first event of its kind ever staged.
The Festival has been designed to encourage sailors from far and wide to sail to Howth (taking any route you like), berth in the marina for the week (up to an amazing 100% discount will apply depending on distance travelled to get to Howth) and engage in a varied programme of activities, tours, talks and entertainment in the Howth area as well as tourist attractions in Dublin city and surrounding counties.
Unlike other cruising gatherings (which entail participants sailing from location to location), the objective of the FIFCF is to attract boat-owners to sail to Howth while non-sailing family members can join them (travelling by road, ferry or air) to stay on their boats or in local accommodation.
The programme for the week is not only for the sailors. It will include scenic and heritage tours of the area, golf/tennis/hillwalking, competitions, dinners and entertainment, and activities for children.
The unique event will conclude on Sunday 15th July when participants will be invited to take part in the second ‘Boat of Hope Day’ organised by Howth YC in conjunction with the Variety Club of Ireland. In 2010, boat-owners in Howth and neighbouring clubs took 100 disadvantaged children, their parents, siblings and carers on the water and then entertained them with onshore activities.
An organising committee, headed by noted cruising expert Pat Murphy, is currently working on the various elements of the Festival and, in particular, marketing it overseas.
Facilities for visiting yachts have improved dramatically in recent years, and there is now a comprehensive network of marinas and public moorings along the coastlines of Ireland.
See www.hyc.ie/familycruisingweek for more information.