Anchors Aweigh! as Foyle Maritime Festival 2018 launches into action

Crowds were starting to gather along the banks of the River Foyle this morning ahead of the grand opening of the Foyle Maritime Festival.

There was a real buzz along the quayside this morning as strollers and Clipper crews gather in the sunshine and mingle with participants during this morning’s Park Run ahead of the free festival getting under way.

Thousands of people are expected to gather to take part in what has become one of the Maiden City’s top festival attractions from this afternoon.

The light breeze was this morning already carrying wafts of fresh coffee, bread, churros and hot food as stall holders prepared to open for business.

The covers were this morning being lifted on the numerous amusements, while some people were already trying their hand at the fun activities on the river lined up by Foyle Paddlers among others.

This year’s festival will also feature a major upgrade in the entertainment arena with a large live music stage, open air bars and refreshment areas midway along the quayside walkway.

The Irish Navy's LE Orla docked in the Foyle as the big wheel is about to keep on turning as the Foyle Maritime Festival opens.

The Irish Navy's LE Orla docked in the Foyle as the big wheel is about to keep on turning as the Foyle Maritime Festival opens.

The Foyle Port Marina meanwhile is a blaze of colour with the Clipper Race fleet now safely moored for the week, with the Irish Navy already in situ and the British navy and some of the world’s most stunning historic vessels also on their way to the city.

The Festival officially opens today at 12noon and over 180,000 people are expected to flock to the city from today through until July 22.

A Council spokesperson said: “Over the next nine days the packed programme will feature a whole host of activities, with some sizzling action in the Seafood Kitchens, Maritime Melodies on the Festival Village stage, tall ships, animation, and all the action on the Foyle with river races, fly boarding, kayaking and paddle boarding fun.

“On Friday July 20th the Foyle will be the arena for the stunning Voyages showcase event, with a dramatic parade of light illuminating the river and a thrilling pyrotechnic finale.”

For more information on all the events taking place go to www.foylemaritime.com