All aboard for the Irish Maritime Festival this weekend in Drogheda

Published: 12 Jun 2018

The award-winning Irish Maritime festival is back! Taking place this weekend in Drogheda Port, it’s a super-sized maritime celebration and it suitable for all ages. Hosted by Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company in conjunction with Virgin Media, the event takes over the town for a wonderful weekend of maritime activities.


Parade of Sail: Friday 15th June, 12noon

The whole event kicks off on Friday afternoon as the beautiful ships sailing to Drogheda Port. The ships muster at the mouth of the Boyne at noon and sail n a procession right up to the Town Quays. The best vantage point Is out at the Maiden’s Tower in Mornington where spectators have a birds eye view of all the ships arriving.


The Stowaway Sessions: Friday 15th June and Saturday 16th June, 7.30pm

The first of the Irish Maritime Festival events gets underway on Friday night as The Lost Brothers headline the first of two Stowaway Sessions. These wonderful acoustic gigs take place on the deck of the Earl of Pembroke Tall Ship. Curated by Adrian Taaffe and SJ McArdle, they are truly intimate and extraordinary gigs. Saturday night, which is already booked out, sees Declan O’Rourke headline the bill. The last few tickets for Lost Brothers, supported by Eve Bell are available from At just €23 each, including 2 drinks, they are a steal.


Let the Festival Fun Begin:

The Irish Maritime festival proper commences at 11 AM on Saturday morning as gates open to the public. On entering the festival you’ll discover the Maritime Learning Zone which includes displays and crews from the RNLI, Inland Waterways Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and many others. You will see boat displays from Boyne Boats, Power Kites and Sand Yachts. Learn all about our seas and how to protect and preserve them with the crew from Seastainability.



There is a fantastic array of ships to look forward to this year. The tall ship include the Phoenix, The Earl of Pembroke, Johanna Lucrectia, The Keewaydin. Back by very, very popular demand is the Liverpool-based tugboat the Brocklebank and her crew. They were such a hit last year, with queues to visit them both days, that it was just essential to bring them back again this year. The ships will be open from 1230 to 4.30pm, but it’s worth getting there early to ensure you don’t miss out.


Sailors in the Making:

Two more teams of youngsters from Drogheda will learn to sail in 2018 as part of the Irish Maritime Festival Drogheda Sail Training Bursary. Departing in the sail training vessel, The Brian Boru, each team will take part in a week long voyage at sea to learn how to sail. The adventure not only teaches sailing skills but valuable life skills of team work, communications and compromise.


Ooh la la! The French Navy Are Coming!

But we also have a first for the Irish Maritime Festival - the arrival of the French Navy.  The Antares, the Altair and the Aldebaran will arrive in Drogheda as part of the parade of sail and dock in Drogheda for the weekend. Festival goers will have to get opportunity to climb aboard and explore these real-life working naval vessels.

The Festival Sounds Fabulous:

Music is a huge part of the Irish Maritime Festival this year is no different. It will be rocking to the music from 2 live stages for 2018. The first, the Fleadh stage will showcase Trad musicians from across the region ahead of the Fleadh in August.


Love magic? You’ll be amazed by the awesome magician and illusionist Pat Fallon performing on the Fleadh stage over the weekend.


The Ballast Key Stage promises to get your heart racing with up-and-coming acts to surprise and delight. Hosted by Gerry Hodgers of The Purple Sessions in Boyle’s of Slane. His line-up of acts always impresses the Festival audience. Watch out for Declan Garry and The Skins and Hats on Saturday and Davina Brady and Gerry Simpson’s Gospel Choir and Fuzz Gigolo on Sunday. The full line-up of acts performing on the ballast key stage is available on www.Maritime


Maritime Festival Tastes Delicious:

Enjoy A Taste of Ireland’s Ancient East in the super-sized food zone at this year’s Irish Maritime festival. Hosted by Boyne Valley Flavours, this event is part of the Boyne Valley Food Series 2018. A series of cookery demos will include TV3’s Chef Tara Walker and local chefs from across the region. Meet the  producers behind some of the most wonderful local food brands that you know and enjoy. Ticket your taste buds with tastings of different products and who knows you might even take something tasty home with you!


Art Zone:

The arts zone showcases the work of fabulous local artists and scenes. Hosted Eugenia Whelan of the Amergin Artists Co-op, this is always a popular element of the Irish Maritime Festival. And there’s a chance for kids to roll up their sleeves and released their inner artist at the kids Art and Craft sessions.


Road Safety Matters:

Have you ever wondered how important your seatbelt is? Take a spin inside the RSA rollover vehicle to realise just how critical it is. The Road Safety Authority are bringing their Road Safety Shuttle to the Irish Maritime Festival this year including speed response simulators and their famous rollover car.


There’s So Much To See And Do!

All your family favourites are back at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018. Finn McCool’s Fairground has lots of fun rides to enjoy. The ever-popular Sand Shanty includes our giant sandpit on the big day, your chance to discover archaeological treasures. Cheer on the 200+ brave Boyne swimmers as they race the 2.7km down the Boyne on Saturday afternoon. Watch out for the yachts as the race up the Boyne, competing in the Howth-Drogheda yacht challenge on Saturday . Admire the beautiful little Water Wags as they race the Boyne on Sunday.


Festival Director Colette Moss of Louth County Council concludes “There’s loads to see and do at the Irish Maritime Festival 2018, especially our fabulous line-ups of ships. It offers fun and activity for all ages. We’ve also got great space and seating for picnics, chilling out and listening the great bands playing. The Irish Maritime Festival is truly is a family friendly event that showcases our all that’s great in this maritime town. We look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to visit Drogheda this weekend.”

For more details please see the What's On page.