2019 Programme

Friday June 14th 2019

Friday night is dedicated to music song and fun.

International RNLI Fundraising Shanty Concert, Church of Ireland 8pm "Across the Sea"

We kick off the night early with an intimate concert “Songs for the lifeboat” at the Church of Ireland Rosses Point. The concert features groups from at home and abroad - Friends of Folk, Buoys of Ballisodare, The Last Watch & Yesterday's Men with Gerry Ffrench. Shanty tonsils will be limbering up for an 8pm start and all proceeds from the tickets (€10) go to the RNLI.

Onwards Shanty Sessions, Village Hostelries, 9pm onwards

From 930pm onwards  the Local Bars have a full programme, where you can see shanties and sea songs from international and local shanty groups. This will be from 930 - 11pm in Harry's Bar, Austies Bar and The Driftwood. Open mic starts in each venue from 11pm till late!

Saturday June 15th

On Saturday, shanties hit the street throughout the village: We host a literary event, specialised workshops and the main festival concert.

The Duck, Rowing, Swim and Boat Races start at the Pier but are viewable from the Village Road.

Sligo Town Centre - 1130am

The Buoys of Ballisodare will liven up the Johnsons Court Shopping Centre from 1130am on.

boys ballisodare

Literary Event - Festival Marquee 1230pm

Things take a literary twist at 1230 in the Marquee with the "Spoken Word". Growing each year in popularity you can join local and other writers for prose and poetry on sea & "The Recitation".

Coney Island Session

Informal sessions, Around Rosses Point from 2-5pm and 9pm on

From 2pm to 5pm there will be music outside Austies/Harrys/The Driftwood and throughout the village weather permitting.

From 9 to 11pm Interntaional and local Shanty and music Groups will sing in Austies, The Driftwood and Harry's. There will also be an opportunity for open mic afterwards in each. Don't miss the craic as the village echoes to the sound of shanties!


Workshop "Singing Shanties" - Festival Marquee, 3pm

At 3pm on Saturday, we are holding a festival workshop on "Singing Shanties" in the festival marquee. Come and learn a little bit about shanties and help us sing a song or two!


Cake Dance - Austies 2pm

This is a traditional Rosses Point festival event which can be traced back to the mid 1800s. It's a free-style dance open competition with a cake as prize. In association with the Cos Cos Dancers.

Channel Cup Swim 515pm from Sligo Yacht Club

Kicking off the water events is the Channel Cup Swim. This swim sees swimmers start at Sligo Yacht Club and swim to January Perch which is located opposite the promenade before Tommy's Island.

Go As You Please Race, after the Channel Cup Swim, c.545pm

This race is truly unique and has something for everyone. It puts a team of a runner and a rower together in an epic race. Firstly, runners will start opposite what was Hackett’s bar on the promenade where they will sprint to the pier to the awaiting boats. There, the rower comes into their own as they row their runner to Oyster Island where the runner will then run around the lighthouse and back. Once onshore again at the pier in Rosses Point, the runner runs right up the pier where at the top they turn left for Beach Road then left on the Beach Road and down onto The Scenic Walk before coming through the finish line back at the pier once more. This year the GAYP Cup is in honour of the McGowan family which makes it an even more coveted event.

Round Oyster Sailing Race, after the Go As You Please, c615pm

This race is held by Sligo Yacht Club which has a proud tradition of harbouring magnificent sailing talent. The race is from the Yacht Club around Oyster Island with a finish back at the Yacht Club. GP14s, Mirror dinghies, Lasers, Picos and other craft will take part in the race which sees young and old on the water enjoying the wonderful pastime of sailing.


Sunday June 16th, and don't forget, it's dress like a pirate day!

Sunday brings us close to the sea with our remembrance and blessing of the boats, lifeboat open day, boat racing and of course more Shanties

The Duck, Rowing, Swim and Boat Races start at the Pier but are viewable from the Village Road.

Waiting on the Shore Commemoration, Pier Area, 1230pm

A simple yet moving wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the memory of those seafarers who lost their lives from Rosses Point.

The Annual Blessing of the Boats, Pier Area, 1245pm

The annual blessing of the boats will take place at the pier to pray for a safe season for those who work afloat, pleasure or in the lifeboat service.

Lifeboat Open Day,
2pm to 5pm

Sligo Bay Lifeboat Station has its open day where you can come and meet the crew see the station and hear of the work of the RNLI. They will also be offering free advice on sea safety.

Session Music - throughout the vallage from 2 to 5pm

From 2 until 5pm there will be a selection of local and international shanty singers playing throughout the village. Come and join the fun!
Shanty Fun

Pirate Pirade, Lifeboat Station from 2pm

Pirate Invasion starts at Lifeboat Station, parades to village, stopping at Austies, Driftwood, Harry's for skirmishes and disruption. Landing at Pirates Den, beside the marquee for fun and games. Dress in costume and join in! Fun for all the family! Click here for flyer

Workshop - "Life on Board a Tall Ship", Lifeboat Station, 230pm

Come and meet Jim Corr to learn about life and work on board a tall ship. Jim is a tall ship sailor of many years experience and talents.

Tall Ship

Childrens Carnival- Games and Novelty Events, 3pm on, after ther Pirate Parade

Games and novelty events will take place in the main festival Marquee. Hunt the Pirate, Fortune Telling, The Stockade, face painting and more, all at the Pirates Den, beside the main Marquee. Come and check it out with your family!


Short Drama - "The Pirates Last Stand", Village Centre Marquee Pirates Den, 3pm on, after the Carnival

There will be a short children's drama taking place in the village centre Marquee which tells the tale of the "Pirates Last Stand" by "Time Travel Theatre" group at the Pirates Den.

Rowing Races,
from 330pm onwards

This race sees two rowers working in tandem from the pier to January Perch and back again as they use teamwork and skill to navigate the channel.


Shanty Rowing Race

Maugherow Cup,
after the Rowing Races, c.4pm

An entertaining motor boat race, the Maugherow Cup is hotly contested each year. The rules are simple – any boat under 10 horse power can take part. Boats are handicapped in accordance with their engine size and speed. The course is from the pier, round January Perch and then the Metal Man twice. There is a sub category for boats that are four horse power and under.
Maugherow Cup Shanty Race

The Great Annual RNLI Duck Race, after the Maugherow Cup, c.445pm

Quack pot fun from the pier to Harry's! This is one for the kids but also something which the adults will enjoy. Buy a duck and see it race down the channel and all for a good cause – the RNLI. Ducks will set off on their journey from the Lifeboat Station at the Rosses Point Pier and finish outside of Harry’s.

Duck Race

Festival Finale and Prizegiving, Harry's,

Well its the prize giving and finish of the official festival. Join us with all the International Groups for a final sing along of shanties to finish in traditional fashion with “Leave Her Johnny”.
As in other years the fun will no doubt continue until late in the night.

Timings of water races may be subject to change, please see seperate leaflet. We will have as much music outside as weather permits.

Thanks to our sponsors and friends of the festival which support the work of the RNLI.


All water events are weather dependent and subject to change. Times noted here are guidelines and more accurate timings can be obtained from the festival committee.

Events run subsequent to one another and much of the action can viewed from the pier, Sligo Yacht Club (swimming race start point) or just along the main village promenade. 


Malin Waters

Malin Waters

MalinWaters is funded by the EU INTERREG IVA cross border programme under the Sail West project. The emergence of the MalinWaters consumer facing brand as part of Sail West was a major milestone in the development and promotion of sailing and maritime tourism in the regions. 

MalinWaters covers the shared maritime waters of North West Ireland including counties Donegal & Sligo, the maritime counties of Northern Ireland and Western Scotland. This region boasts fantastic opportunities for sailing, surfing, diving, kayaking as well as other water based activities. Visit www.malinwaters.com for more information.

The overall objectives of the Sail West Project are:

- To provide a cohesive marine leisure development strategy for the North West, which links Donegal to the maritime regions of Northern Ireland and the West coast of Scotland.

- To provide innovation in the development of new marine tourism products and services.

- To share knowledge and best practice between partners.

- To provide sustainable development, job growth and the rejuvenation of maritime communities.

- To ensure that environmental best practice and the possible effects of global climate change is considered within all new developments.

- To encourage eco tourism.

Shanty Workshops

Pirate Parade

Rosses Point is on the Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way

Rosses Point is a discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way, which is is the longest driving route in the world and leads you through one of the world's most dramatic coastal landscapes. Read below for more information about it.

The Wild Atlantic Way is Irelands new long distance scenic driving route along the entire west coast of Ireland from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south. If you are looking for a holiday itinerary from a few days to several weeks, look no further as the Wild Atlantic Way route has it all. From cliff top views to great hikes and from historic cities to picture perfect coastal villages and some of the best surfing in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way drive caters for tourists of all ages and tastes. Slow down and experience the real Ireland.

You'll drive routes that ring great peninsulas reaching out into the ocean. Tiny roads hug the shoreline then switchback high above the Atlantic swell. Tucked away in little villages and towns that snuggle into the coastline are delightful cafes and restaurants where you can indulge in your passion for good food and great wine.

This breath – taking coastal route will intrigue and remain in your heart and mind long after you have returned home to the everyday world.

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