Updated: 20/07/15 : 08:18:44
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Yeats and Fleadh take to the high seas

Yeats poetry and traditional music was performed on board the 70 Foot classic schooner, the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven' as it sailed in Sligo Bay on Sunday.

To highlight the Yeats Tread Softly Festival (26 July-8 August) and Fleadh Cheoil 2015 (9-16 August) in Sligo, two groups of intrepid seafarers were treated to a morning cruise on Sligo Bay aboard the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven' a magnificent 70 foot schooner. See links below

The yacht, Ireland's only sail training vessel, is visiting Sligo to take on a new crew of Sligo children who set of at 7am this morning, Monday, on a 5-day trip along the western coast to Roundstone, Co Galway.

Six of the children are from an area of inner city Sligo, targetted for regeneration, who would normally never have an opportunity to go sailing. They will be joined by four children from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Malasia and Kenya who have experienced the asylum seeking process in Dublin.

"As well as fun the voyage will foster integration of Ireland's new communities as well as promoting regeneration in Sligo," said Sligo native, First Mate Shauna Gillan.

"When I was eleven, Sligo County Council paid for me to go sailing on a subsidised course, I would have never gone otherwise. This is the idea, we can expand this programme and have more young people introduced to the sport in Ireland."

                 Enjoying the fun aboard the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven'. Photo: SligoToday.ie

Skipper Simon Sweeney, from Blacksod Bay, Co Mayo was having a busman's holiday from his day job captaining a North Sea oil industry supply vessel was delighted with the atmosphere and music on board, "Its new, its exciting. its brilliant with this activity today, its something not normally seen on a yacht."

With the Connacht Final scheduled for the afternoon between Sligo and Mayo Simon was preparing to hoist a Mayo flag but decided to wait until he was safely out of Sligo waters.

He returns to his base in Holland next Monday to report again for his North Sea assignment.

                           First Mate Shauna Gillan was delighted to sail home to Sligo
                                                      Photo: SligoToday.ie

A feast of entertainment was performed on board the yacht to highlight both upcoming festivals with Eva Murray reciting the classic Yeats' poem, 'In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz' and a host of traditional musicians, joined by First Mate Gillan on the tin whistle, provided the perfect mood as the mist lifted from the surrounding hills and mountains.

    Maud Gonne (Maighréad Bussmann) and WB Yeats (Brian F.Devaney) from 'Branching Out' arts
 group aboard the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven' while the mist lifts from Ben Bulben.
Photo: SligoToday.ie

              Eva Murray recites to camera  'In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz'
                                                                 Photo: SligoToday.ie

         Martina Hamilton (Hamilton Gallery/The Cat and the Moon) aboard the RIB craft en route
                                 to the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven'.
Photo: SligoToday.ie

             Skipper Simon Sweeney (l) instructs Senator Susan O'Keeffe in handling the yacht
                                                       Photo: SligoToday.ie

The Yeats and Fleadh flags flying on board while Sligo Today editor, Ciarán McCarthy
                         takes the helm of the 'Spirit of Oysterhaven' in a choppy Sligo Bay

See TreadSoftly.ie
See Fleadh 2015
See spiritofoysterhavensailing.ie