‘Ahoy there’ – get set for the return of Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival
Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Ivor Wallace with Riley Morris and Maia Kinney, Head Boy and Head Girl of Ballycastle Integrated PS, at the launch of Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival 2023.
Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is set to make a splash when it returns from May 26th - June 4th, with 10 days of exciting seafaring fun to look forward to.
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is working with Ballycastle Community Development Group and Rathlin Development and Community Association to bring you this hugely popular celebration, with a packed programme of activities on both dry land and at sea, inspired by the Rathlin Sound – the body of water between Rathlin Island and the mainland in Ballycastle.
Visitors can look forward to live music performances, dance displays, have-a- go activities, crafts, walks, talks, cookery demonstrations and lots of artisan produce at the Naturally North Coast and Glens Market, all of which celebrate the area’s rich local history, culture, music and food.
Wes Forsythe from Ulster University will be presenting the Madill Archive Project, which is focused on traditional boats from around the Ulster Coast and beyond. An archive of line drawings, photographs, interviews and reports donated to the University by Harry Madill, a retired engineer from Portstewart.
There will also be a demonstration of traditional coracle boat building by Valkyrie Crafts, exhibition of Old-Style Rope making by Traditional Rope Makers NI and Songs, Stories and Recitations of the Antrim Coast from Colin Urwin.
In addition, thanks to Causeway Coast Maritime Heritage Group, you’ll get to see traditional fishing boats like drontheims and currachs take to the water, including the Colmcille, one of the largest vessels of its type in Northern Ireland.
In other programme highlights, look out for the blessing of the boats, traditional rope making, maritime themed children’s crafts, colourful kite display, sand sculpture demonstration and a children’s sandcastle competition on Ballycastle Beach.
Looking ahead to the festival, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Ivor Wallace, said:
“Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival is a celebration of Ballycastle and Rathlin Island’s shared nautical heritage and serves as a fantastic showcase of the area’s unrivalled tourism offering.
“This popular festival first began 10 years ago and has become one of highlights of our Borough’s events calendar, being enjoyed by thousands of visitors over the past decade.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the local community volunteers who play a central role in this festival’s ongoing success. I look forward to seeing you all there for some nautical-themed fun!”
The full programme will be published on the festival’s website soon so please visit:
for the latest updates or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre by ringing 028 2076 2024.
Please note, details are subject to change due to tides and weather conditions.