Dublin prepares for tall ships festival


Up to one million people are expected to visit Dublin’s docklands over the next few days as the tall ships festival kicks off tomorrow.

The four-day festival marks the end of the Tall Ships Race 2012 and will see a fleet of nearly 50 vessels sail up the Liffey. The huge masts will line up on either side of the river east of the Sean O’Casey Bridge, followed by the festival with tours of the ships, food stalls, street theatre, concerts and other events taking place all around the Docklands.

The race, an annual event that began in 1956 and which is organised by Sail Training International, began at St Malo in France on July 5th before landing in Lisbon and Cádiz. The final leg of the race saw the fleet leave A Coruña in northern Spain last Thursday; the atrocious weather delayed the race.

(Video sourced by Storyful).

Organisers expect up to a million visitors for the festival, and have recruited 1,400 volunteers to help the event run smoothly.

The highlight of the festival takes place at 11am on Sunday, August 26th, when the Parade of Sail will see all the ships leave together, hoisting their masts in what promises to be a spectacular farewell.

Project manager Mary Weir said the nostalgia around Tall Ships will attract young and old to the capital. The race was last in Dublin in 1998 and has since visited Belfast and Waterford.

She said: “It’s unique in that we all can remember seeing paintings of Tall Ships down as far as Capel Street Bridge in Dublin, but now we don’t see them as much any more, so I think that actually draws people. It’s a very family-orientated event.”

The race is presented by sponsor Szczecin, a port city in Poland, and organised by Sail Training International, a charity which educates young people through sail training regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background.