Ships have come in for Waterford festival
Up to half-a-million visitors are expected to arrive in Waterford over the weekend to experience Ireland's biggest quayside event.
Forty-four vessels have landed in the south-east port as part of the Tall Ships Race 2011 -- carrying a total of 1,022 trainees on board and 424 professional crew.
The Mir from Russia and the Lord Nelson from the UK, which is purpose built to allow people with disabilities to sail, are among the ships attracting attention along the quays.
Larger ships berthed on the north side of the River Suir are open to the public from 10am to 4pm today and tomorrow.
The impressive British ship, the Royalist, was the first to arrive on Tuesday.
Some lucky visitors were given a spectacular view of the tall ships by the Kildare Helicopters crew who are running flights over the port all weekend.
Waterford city resident David Abbott, who attended the last tall ships event when it came to Ireland in 2005, said that there were fewer vessels this time around but the programme had improved.
"It has more of a festival feel now and there's more events on the streets," he said.
"The organisation is impressive, there's even an app on the iPhone so you can keep track of the tall ships."
There are free events open to the public all weekend, but tickets are needed to guarantee access.
Some highlights include free live concerts, a world record attempt with costumed pirates, and a tall ship's crew members parade when more than 1,000 people will march from the quays to the People's Park.