Have you got plans this June Bank Holiday weekend? The Cork Harbour Festival stretches over the Bank Holiday weekend through to the following weekend. It runs from 3-11 June. It’s filled with lots of activities suitable for everyone in the family. If you’re looking to embrace the maritime spirit, this festival may be the one for you. Head to Cork for lots of fun, free entertainment and great family events.
So, what exactly is on for families at the Cork Harbour Festival during the June Bank Holiday Weekend? Here are 14 events your family will love. Free events are marked with an asterisk (*).
Lots To See
Kids Model Boat Exhibition*
Being held from 27 May to 12 June in Cork City Library, Grand Parade.
View prize-winning model boats created by Cork’s young and talented boat builders! The project encourages primary and secondary school kids to build model boats from recycled materials. The theme for the 2017 festival is “Boats from 100 years ago”, inspired by the 1917 Commemorations. The project has been in collaboration with Cllr. Kieran McCarthy and the Lifetime Lab.
Whitegate RC Coastal Rowing Championship Regatta*
Come and experience the excitement and energy of a Coastal Rowing Championship Regatta, run as part of the Coastal Rowing Association (CRA) 2017 season of Regattas. The Regatta is situated at one of East Cork’s premier and scenic rowing locations in Cork Harbour, hosted by one of the most successful clubs in the country. It’s free to spectators, and runs from 12pm-3pm on Monday 5th June.
The Rebel Plunge is back and taking place as part of Cork Harbour Festival at 7pm, Thursday 8th June. The Swim will start at Port of Cork and travel 3.8km downstream to Blackrock Village.
The Swim is along a spectator friendly course, with views from the Marina to the Finish. So, please come along and cheer the swimmers on!
Registration has closed for participants, so this one is spectators only, but it’s sure to be a fun day out! Grab a coffee in the Natural Food Bakery in Blackrock and wander the beautiful marina while watching, make a day of it!
Lots to Do
Youth Circus Open Day
Learn to climb an aerial rope then tumble like a pirate all in the safety of dry land at the fantastic Youth Circus Open Day. All young sailors and pirates will be taught fundamental circus skills in a fun-filled morning. Workshop includes warm-up and team building games, and takes place from 10.30am-12pm on June 3rd (Saturday).
Book Here: [email protected] to ensure a place.
€10 per child (Age 6 and up only)
Eco Adventures Family Fun Day*
Have a fantastic day out at the water with ECO Adventures on Aghada Pier. Create great family memories while having fun kayaking and water trampolining. It’s free of charge, and has been super popular in the past so book early to avoid disappointment! It promises to be a great day out for all the family. Swim gear required. Suitable for ages 7 yrs+.
Book Here: [email protected] / 087 6971065
RNLI Open Day*
This bank holiday weekend, see behind the scenes of the vital water rescue service. Come down to Crosshaven and explore the work of the RNLI. You’ll learn about the national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, and get to experience the Atlantic 85 lifeboat up close. You will meet some of the crew, and learn about the rescues they have made and the training they undertake. They do incredible work, so if you’ve ever wondered what exactly is involved, it’s well worth checking out.
Where: Lifeboat Station, Crosshaven
When?: June 3 (Saturday), 1pm – 5pm.
Royal Cork Yacht Club Open Day
Take your chance this Cork Harbour Festival to explore the world’s oldest yacht club. Learn the ropes of sailing and pre-book for a free sailing taster aboard a Club 1720 Sports Boat. Staff will be on hand to talk about their various boats, training courses and membership packages. The Club grounds and Clubhouse will be open to visitors for tea, coffee and refreshments.
Book Here for sailing tasters: [email protected] – Limited availability so book quickly!
Boats & Bites*
In Cork City Centre, Come along to the Port of Cork to celebrate the Cork Harbour Festival. At the Bonded Warehouses you’ll find this very special maritime flavoured event. Get your taste buds going at our Seafood Market and sample yummy foods such as sushi, paella, fish & chips, oysters and mussels. Find out about all the brilliant activities on the river and harbour that you can experience. Have a row in a traditional currach, the beautiful 10 rower longboat Fionnbarra, a Chinese dragon boat or one of the many other boats available. Or simply admire the wonderful array of yachts moored at Port of Cork for the event. Families welcome, entry is free of charge.
With Bishopstown Orienteering Club
Try a day of outdoor exploration and adventure and enjoy a walk in the woods. Orienteering involves map reading and navigation and is suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Show up anytime to participate.
Entry: Family €10; Adult €6; Child €3.
4 June, 10:00-13:00: Rostellan (off Whitegate/Midleton Road)
5 June, 10:00-13:00: Currabinny Woods
11 June, 10:00-13:00: Marlogue, East Ferry, Great Island
Head down to Inch Beach, East Cork this Bank Holiday weekend for some adrenaline filled fun. Coasteering is an action packed, adrenaline pumping adventure activity. It takes place around the rocky coastline. It is a combination of adventure swimming, exploring gullies and caves using the movement of the swell and traversing the lower level rocks to jumping sites. You will be jumping from a height suitable to you, swimming through some amazing sea caves and exploring areas of the coast that you would never normally see.
Wetsuits, buoyancy aids and helmets are provided. Minimum age 12 years.
Book Here: [email protected] €25pp (€40pp for coasteering & surf lesson)
Camden Fort Meaghar
Camden Fort Meagher in Crosshaven is internationally recognised as being one of the finest remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort in the world. 65% of the fort is located underground in a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. The fort is also a prime location to watch ships passing through Cork Harbour.
The fort offers a host of special activities for the festival weekend, with exhibitions, music and family activities that everyone can enjoy. It’s open Saturday-Monday over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Animal Magic Wildlife Rescue are here on Sunday 4th June. Their display includes Hawks, Owls and Falcons and birds of prey from other countries including a Golden Eagle. It also includes some different breeds of rabbits for the children to enjoy.
Entry costs €6 per person. You can find out more information about the fort here.
Elizabeth Fort, the early 17th century star fort in Cork City centre, is offering free tours this June Bank Holiday Weekend as part of the Cork Harbour Festival.
Hear about the history of the fort, with particular reference to its connection to all things maritime. This fort has an immense link to the harbour and the maritime history of Cork City. The fort was built to protect the city from attack from the water, and was used as a convict depot for transportation to Australia.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00, Sunday 12:00 – 17:00. Find out more information about Elizabeth Fort here.
Cork Ghost Tour
Cork Ghost Tour aims to fright and delight! Wander the streets of olde Cork, waking the dead, and having the time of your lives! Take in the sights, interweave local ghost stories and Cork’s maritime history. There will be plenty of comedy and boo-scares too! Recommended for families, friends and couples (though perhaps if your little one scares easily and is prone to nightmares, maybe give this one a miss!)
Tour begins at Lapp’s Quay, in front of the Clayton Hotel.
Book Here: Cork Ghost Tour €14pp; €9 Concessions; Family Ticket €32 (2 Adult+2 Teens/Children)
Roches Point Lighthouse
Roche’s Point Lighthouse Open Day is an exciting and unique opportunity to visit this iconic lighthouse which sits at the entrance of Cork Harbour. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first light at Roches point, it’s open to the public on Sunday 3rd June. Visit the U.S. Navy 1917 exhibition and take part in historical talks about the region. Cork Harbour Heritage Alliance includes people from Roche’s Point, Passage West, Midleton, Crosshaven and UCC. Their aim is to promote the heritage of Cork Harbour in conjunction with other groups in Cork Harbour. Tickets are €7 per person and should be booked here, they can’t be purchased on the day.
There will be 3 separate entry slots on the day:
- 10:30 – 12:30
- 12:30 – 14:30
- 14:30 – 16:30
Those are just 14 of the events on as part of the Cork Harbour Festival – as the festival extends until the following weekend, there are many I haven’t included. Check out the other activities which may appeal to you on the Cork Harbour Festival website.
Looking for other family friendly activities in Cork? Check out these 4 Free Things To Do In Cork City With Your Toddler, our guide to a trip to Fota Wildlife Park or the newly updated Baby Friendly Cork City in 2017 which is filled with places I know and love from experience.