Dublin bids Bon Voyage to tall ships


The organisers, market traders and spectators at the Tall Ships Festival couldn’t have wished for a better day today for the ships to set sail from Dublin’s River Liffey quays.

On a rare day of summer sunshine tens of thousands lined the quays from early morning to bid farewell to the ships following a four day festival which organisers say attracted crowds of more than 1.15 million over its four-day run.

Some of the best views of the ships were to be had yesterday afternoon, not from Dublin City centre, but from the Dublin Bay coastline as the ships let the wind into their sails on the open sea.

The East Link Bridge was raised to allow the 40-strong fleet to being its journey from Dublin Port led by the Naval Service LE Emer at 11am.

The Parade of Sail, which marks the official end of the festival travelled to Dún Laoghaire Harbour and after a 21-gun salute sailed to Howth.

Visitors to the festival have since Thursday last toured the ships and attended free outdoor music events with acts including Ash, Ryan Sheridan and Cathy Davey. There were also walking tours, watersports; skateboarding displays and street theatre.

However one event was cancelled today following a request by An Garda Síochána. The youth charity Foróige had hoped to break the record for the largest number of people performing the actions to 1970s Hues Corporation number Rock the Boat.

The event would have involved more than 1,600 people sitting in a line on the ground at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. The event was stopped by gardaí for health and safety reasons related to the large crowds in the area, organisers said.

</p> <p>Speaking at the event this morning Minister for Transport said the festival had been a great boost for tourism in the city.</p> <p>“It has been an amazing couple of days for Dublin. Probably more than a million people have been to see the ships. The sun is shining and it has really helped with Government’s policy of building tourism and building the city. It really is fabulous.”</p> <p>The festival was the “biggest event in Ireland this year” Mr Varadkar said and will have produced huge revenues for businesses in the city.</p> <p>“It looks like the economic benefit to the city will be over €30 million. The hotels are full and the restaurants and bars are full too, and that’s really important. It is the sort of event we’re going to need to support in the future if the numbers add up.”</p>