The second annual John Barry Maritime will take place from Thursday, June 20 until Sunday, June 23 in Wexford and plans are well underway to offer locals and visitors alike a bigger and better festival than the inaugural event in 2012, which drew crowds of 35,000 over the two days.
Now in it’s second year, the festival idea originated in January 2011 after a lifeboat visit to the Waterford Coast Guard Helicopter base when three RNLI volunteers David Maguire, Frank O Brien and Lorraine Galvin were discussing plans to celebrate Wexford Lifeboat Station 10 year anniversary.
According to Lorraine Galvin, “Ideas for fun on the quay developed into an idea for a maritime festival” says Lorraine, “ with maritime activities, races, children’s activities, live music and entertainment, exhibitions, cultural events and the hugely successful Wexford food family’s food village”. It was wonderful to see so many children on the quay enjoying kayaking and boating, arts and crafts, science experiments, the funfair and my own little toddler dancing away at the Kindermusik sessions”.
As well as family fun, the festival also celebrates Wexford man Commodore John Barry, father of the US Navy. In September 2012 the festival directors invited two US Navy Rear Admirals to Wexford and discussed plans for the 2013 festival and forming links with the US Navy. “The Rear Admirals had great admiration for John Barry and were very interested in learning more of his heritage and home town told by historian Bernard Brown” said Frank O Brien.
David Maguire said that the festival success was down to great community support and involvement..” Wexford has such a great maritime heritage and we want to show it off, we are working with great local groups and the best of Wexford food producers, it will be a real Wexford showcase”.
The three have been busy already securing the festival as a flagship-gathering event and are actively inviting international visitors to Wexford for the festival. “There are so many wonderful events in the planning, Wexford Quay is such an amazing amphitheater for a festival and what better view than Wexford Harbour!” The festival is non-profit organisation with fundraising proceeds towards Wexford RNLI Lifeboat.