independent

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Sea Shanty festival celebrates 10 years

Global groups to attend Rosses Point festival

It is that time of year again - The Wild Atlantic Sea Shanty Festival returns for the 10th year.

To mark the milestone, this year promises to be the best one yet.

The official launch of the festival took place in the Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Station this week ahead of Shanty weekend which runs from June 14, 15 and 16.

Rosses Point is the venue for Sea Shanty songs, maritime culture, heritage and water events which enrich the festival.

On the Sunday there will be a special emphasis on family with a 'Pirate Day' taking place all day.

A 'Pirate Parade' takes place at 2pm from the Rosses Point Pier to Harry's along with a pirate theatre event and a carnival which includes fortune telling and face painting.

Shanty groups from across the globe will descend on Rosses Point and bring with them their folk songs from the sea.

Details of the music each day and times can be found in the official companion programme which is available in the tourist office, the Radisson Blu and Harry's, Austies and the Driftwood.

No shanty festival would be complete without water events.

The 'Go As You Please' rowing and running race, the Maugherow Cup, the rowing race, Duck Race, Channel Cup Swim and Round Oyster Sailing race all take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Times are tide dependent and are subject to change so please consult a committee member.

Chairman of the festival, Hugh O'Neill is looking forward to this year's events.

He said: "The festival continues to go from strength to strength and a great deal of gratitude is owed to those whose ideas and dedication led to the introduction of what is now considered one of the premier maritime festivals in Ireland and on the international shanty circuit.

"We have a fantastic array of events programmed over the weekend to keep everyone busy and entertained."

The Wild Atlantic Sea Shanty festival in Rosses Point supports the work of the RNLI. Sligo Bay is one of the newest lifeboat stations in Ireland.

Operating an inshore B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat it provides search and rescue cover for the area between Downpatrick Head and Inismurray Island.

This station is classed as a discover station.

Rosses Point is Sligo's maritime village. For generations its men and women have ploughed the seas in the service of the Merchant Navy and our festival celebrates this rich heritage. For its size and from its sailors, Rosses Point has produced a great number of Master Mariners - the tradition of seafaring continue.

For those unfamiliar with sea shanties, in the days of sail and the tall ships, songs (Shanties) were employed to keep rhythm amongst the crew in the back breaking and tremendously physical work of hoisting and lowering sails, changing ships course, weighing the anchor or simply pumping for hours to keep the ships afloat.

The shanties tell stories of life onboard, ports visited, fun times ashore and the challenges of a life at sea. Other sea songs developed (Forebitters), which were sung by sailors aboard, not during the hard work but in their times off, these too tell rich stories of life at sea.

Sligo Champion

News