About Ocean to City - Cork's Maritime Festival
Ocean to City is Ireland's very own long-distance rowing race and maritime festival attracting thousands of spectators each year. Taking place in Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world, Ocean to City is a true flagship event celebrating Ireland's unique maritime culture and heritage.
The highlight of the festival, An Rás Mór (''The Big Race''), draws hundreds of participants from all over the world competing in everything from traditional wooden working boats, currachs, gigs and longboats to Chinese dragon boats, kayaks and canoes. More than just a race, An Rás Mór represents a personal challenge, a shared effort and a coming together of people who love these waters and love their boats.
For visitors the Ocean to City Maritime Festival offers something for everyone; from cheering on the spectacular fleet of boats from the many vantage points along the race, to a vast variety of on-street entertainment, boat trips, navy tours, films, talks, food markets, music, craic and free family events.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, this year's festival promises the ultimate maritime experience with a jam-packed programme of exciting events. So... whether you want to watch it, try it, race it, or fully immerse yourself in it - don't miss this year's Ocean to City!
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 currachs. These currachs were used for ocean and river fishing, for ferrying and for the transport of goods and livestock, including sheep and cattle.
Today, currachs 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 attracts hundreds of participants annually.
Developed as an extension to the Rás Mór, the Ocean to City Maritime Festival has grown into a unique cultural, sporting and heritage event. It reflects the same 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 Summer 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.