Today boats participating in The Gathering Cruise will rally in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin in advance of their departure on the early tide at 7am on Thursday 18th July heading south for a two week cruising adventure.

The Gathering Cruise is part of The Gathering Ireland, a national tourism initiative to welcome friends and family to cruise Ireland’s beautiful coastline. The Gathering Cruise is organized by the ISA and the IMOA (Irish Marina Operators Association) with support from the Cruising Association of Ireland, the Irish Cruising Club and the Gathering Ireland.

Boats from Hull and Tollesbury on the East Coast of England will travel to Ireland for the event and they will be joined by other UK boats from Shoreham on Sea, Hamble, Portsmouth, Poole, Salcombe and from Northern Ireland. The Tall Ship Astrid from the Netherlands will join the cruise in Kinsale where it is anticipated the full fleet of over 50 boats will rally for a festival night of local Irish cuisine and traditional music. 

Many of the Irish boats joining the cruise have invited friends and family from overseas to sail with them.  Derek Harris from Poolbeg Yacht Club in Dublin Port has invited his sister Joan and her husband Brian Martin from Australia to join the cruise. It is a big family occasion for the Harris family as Derek’s other sister Betty Dunne who always sails with Derek will celebrate her 80th birthday onboard during the cruise. 

Also joining the cruise is Celtic Mist, the 56 foot steel motor cruiser which was donated to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) by the Haughey family in March 2011.  It has been overhauled and refitted with additional bunk space and provision of scientific equipment for whale and dolphin research. IWDG will provide information to the overseas cruisers on Ireland’s marine life and will provide each boat with cetacean sightings cards so they can record sightings. 

When the cruise leaves Dun Laoghaire they will head south and overnight in Greystones, Wicklow, Arklow or Kilmore Quay before heading to Dunmore East for a barbecue on Saturday 20th July. The cruise will rally again in Oysterhaven on Tuesday 23rd July in advance of sailing in company in to Kinsale on the afternoon of 24th July. The fleet will be led by the Spirit of Oysterhaven Ireland’s largest Sail Training vessel and flagship of the Oysterhaven Centre which will provide berths for the overseas media who will also join the cruise. 

The Gathering Cruise Festival Night will be held in Actons Hotel in Kinsale and Norman Kean, Editor of the Irish Cruising Club Sailing directions and Jarlath Cunnane, builder and skipper of Northabout who completed a Polar circumnavigation will be on hand to share their cruising tales with all the visiting sailors. 

After Kinsale there are so many beautiful anchorages for the cruisers to visit including Courtmacsherry, Lough Ine, Union Hall, Baltimore and Schull. However one venue the cruisers will not miss is the Wooden Boat Festival and barbecue in Glandore on Friday 26 July. 

The cruisers have a further week to sail the Cork and Kerry coastlines at leisure before rallying again in Dingle for the farewell gathering evening. 

Commenting on The Gathering Cruise, Gail MacAllister from the ISA stated “The Gathering Cruise has been in planning for over 10 months and has created great awareness internationally for the beautiful cruising waters of Ireland. The wonderful weather we are experiencing at the moment will also generate more interest in Ireland and already further cruises in company are being planned for 2014 and 2015”.

Fáilte Ireland’s Director of Marketing, John Concannon emphasised “The Gathering Cruise is exactly the kind of event Fáilte Ireland imagined when we first came up with the idea for the Gathering – combining spectacle, fun and, through its mobilization of the maritime community, the engagement of ‘people power’. I am particularly encouraged to hear that, like many of this year’s Gathering events, The Gathering Cruise has already generated interest for future years and looks set to leave a longer lasting legacy for Irish tourism”.

For more information see  

Key Dates for the Gathering Cruise
17 July – Briefing by John Leahy, Cruising Association of Ireland and Welcome Reception in Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin 
18 July – Cruise departs at 7.00am
20 July – The Gathering Cruise rallies in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
23 July – Barbecue evening at The Oysterhaven Centre, Co. Cork
24 July – Cruise in company to Kinsale, Co. Cork. All 50 boats gather for The Gathering Cruise Festival Night
26 July – Wooden Boat Festival, Glandore, Co. Cork
29 July – Barbecue, Valentia, Co. Kerry
01 Aug – Farewell Reception, Dingle, Co. Kerry
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