About the Ocean to City Maritime Festival - a unique cultural, sport & heritage festival
Since 2005, the history of Meitheal Mara's Ocean to City Maritime Festival has grown to reflect the re-awakening of a unique boating culture that has its first record dating back to 100BC, from the time of Julius Ceasar.
Originally, Ocean to City consisted of a rowing race (called "An Rás Mór" i.e. The Big Race) that embraced the use of the traditional celtic Curachs. These curachs were used for ocean and river fishing, for ferrying and for the transport of goods and livestock, including sheep and cattle.
Today, curachs are also used for sport and racing. Nationally, the sport thrives, with many regional fixtures and clubs including Naomhóga Chorcaí, West Clare Currach Club, Cumann na gCurrach, etc. The sport has also taken off abroad with many clubs in the USA and Europe.
This has been supported by the growing interest in traditional boat building by individuals, organisations and charities including Meitheal Mara, Gael Linn and Dingle Currach, whose aims are to maintain boat building heritage and craftsmanship skills.
An Rás Mór, now caters for a variety of traditional & non-traditional rowing boats and by 2015, it is envisioned that there will be 400 boats on the water on the day of the race.
Each year, the festival develops around An Rás Mór, to reflect a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterises Meitheal Mara and the many world-wide supporters.
The festival aims to engage participation through boat building demonstrations, youth racing, model boat building, photography, exhibitions, traditional music, heritage boat trails and the Cork Harbour School which inspires and triggers action in policy and research through tourism, industry and sustainable practices.
The Ocean to City Maritime Festival remains unique to Ireland and to our heritage as an island folk. It is anticipated that the festival will continue to grow with the optimism, expertise, skills & creativity of it's team which in turn will attract visitors and animate Irelands cultural, sporting & heritage traditions.