‘An experience of a lifetime’: Tall Ships Regatta comes to Dublin

Tours of ‘amazing’ vessels will be available in Docklands over bank holiday weekend

Tall masts and white sails swaying in the wind as far as the eye can see; The Tall Ships Regatta 2018 has landed in Dublin.

Sixteen ships have raced from Liverpool to Dublin and will be open to the public over the bank holiday weekend.

The smaller ships will be in Grand Canal Dock and the larger ships are berthed on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

Guided tours of some ships are being offered and there is also a trainee ship where people can get a few lessons about being a sailor.

Nicola McDonnell, one of the Dublin trainees, is in a wheelchair but was determined to take part.

Ms McDonnell’s wheelchair broke halfway through the race to Dublin, but a ship engineer was able to fix it.

She was initially sceptical about going because of the challenges facing her as a wheelchair user but said “it’s been absolutely amazing, an experience of a lifetime. It’s my first time but it won’t be my last”.

The regatta is organised by Sail Training International with the Dublin stopover being hosted by Dublin City Council and the Dublin Port Company.

The company's commercial director Paul Thompson said the regatta was "a celebration of young people, of ships and of maritime heritage".

“It gives the public a chance to come down and see the ships, meet the trainees and get a feel of what sail training is all about.

He said that the race was “a life-changing experience” for trainees.

‘Really cool’

Primary school student Jamie Neville got pictures of himself standing in front of the ships to document the event.

“They’re really cool. It’s amazing the length and height of them but they can still float on water,” he said.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha said the event would “showcase the River Liffey as an amenity for leisure and recreation activities and strengthen the links between Dublin city and the port”.

Water-based activities such as City Kayaking, Viking Splash Tours, Dublin Bay Cruises, Surf Dock and Wakeboarding will take place in the Docklands.

The event will also feature the colourful “Old Gaffers” race, as well as some animated street performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The regatta will race from Dublin to theBay of Biscay, finishing up in Bordeaux, France.

This year the Tall Ships Regatta is replacing the Dublin Port Riverfest which, historically, has taken place on the June bank holiday weekend.

The ships are open to the public until Monday from 12pm-6pm.