Friday June 21st 2024

Friday night is dedicated to music song and fun.

International RNLI Fundraising Shanty Concert, Church of Ireland 8pm

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. They will be limbering up for an 8pm start and all proceeds from the tickets (€10) go to the RNLI.

Go As You Please Race, 6pm

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.

Onwards Shanty Sessions, Village Hostelries, 9pm onwards

From 9.30pm onwards  the Local Bars have a full programme, where you can see shanties and sea songs from international and local shanty groups in Harry’s Bar, Austies Bar and The Driftwood. Open mic starts in each venue from 11pm till late!

Saturday June 22nd

On Saturday, shanties hit the street throughout the village.

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

Informal sessions on Coney Island and Around Rosses Point from 3-5pm and 9pm

From 3pm to 5pm there will be music at MJ Wards on Coney Island and outside Austies/Harrys/The Driftwood and throughout the village weather permitting.

From 9 to 11pm International 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 with Tom Lewis” – Marquee, 2-3pm

Come and learn a little bit about shanties and help us sing a song or two. Fun for all the family.

Maugherow Cup, 6pm

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.

Round Oyster Challenge, 6pm

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 23rd, 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 Rowing Race starts at the Pier and the Duck Race starts from Harry’s but they are viewable from the Promenade and the Village Road.

Sailors’ Mass 11.00am, Roman Catholic Church, Rosses Point

This mass is dedicated to all deceased seafarers, especially those lost at sea and those who lost their lives tragically in Sligo Bay. Various Shanty Groups will take part in the music.

Waiting on the Shore Commemoration, Pier Area, 12.30pm

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

Blessing of the Boats

The Blessing of the Boats, and all who sail in them, is another time honoured tradition that takes place annually at the Festival.

This ceremony, carried out by local clergy, takes place at the RNLI Station and Pier area after the Waiting on the Shore Commemoration.

Session Music – throughout the village 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

Pirate Parade, 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 the Pirates Den on the village green beside Harry’s for fun and games. Dress in costume and join in! Fun for all the family!

The Great Annual RNLI Duck Race, 4pm

Quack pot fun from Harry’s to the Pier! 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 January Perch outside Harry’s to the pier at the Lifeboat Station.

Rowing Races, 3.30pm

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.

Festival Finale and Prizegiving, Harry’s, 6.30pm

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.


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.

Much of the action can viewed from the pier or just along the main village promenade.

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.

In association with Sligo County Council and Failte Ireland and supported by: