What a wonderful way of spending a weekend in town! Despite the weather which from time to time was getting from bad to worse but as one can hear, did' nt ruin the mood. It is said, more than one million people visited the festival! Among those one million you could see families, couples, friends...Or mischievous young girls all dressed up in fashion that lets an onlooker experience the ageless performance of sailors and ... well, girls walking on the quays when a ship has arrived at the port.
From Thursday, 23rd of August, a huge area on the banks of River Liffey was occupied by tens (if not hundreds) of tents where one could buy anything from a sailors hat and clothing pieces to fairy or pirate face paintings, not to mention the catering. Food kiosks offered a good variety of Irish, French, German, Italian, Asian and many more cuisines (if you can call festival food that) and it all could be enjoyed with a nice cool drink from the many Bulmers tents.
Visitors could go onboard most of the vessels and the queues showed a good example of high interest. We'd say the most popular would have been the Mexican tall ship The Cuauhtemoc which also won the races this year. Although every last one of the boats and yachts were a great experience. To see the everyday life of seamen (and women) while at sea, to hear their stories about the beautiful days and also the terrible storms... Great!
All of that with merry music on the backround, with crazy street performers frolicing in the crowds, kids screaming out of thrill in the amusement park and the most tempting smell of festival food... I must say, compared to others I've been to, this one was the first time for me that I felt I'm at a Festival in Dublin. It was so well organised without a chance of feeling boredom, any sort of danger, lost or unsecure; it really made you feel like you're part of this huge thing, this Where Were You When... moment.
On Sunday though, it all had to come to an end but not without another chance to see the tall ships in action. The quays were absolutely packed with people waving their goodbyes! It all happened so fast and, what seemed like too soon, we could hear the announcer saying: The last tall ship has now left Dublin port, The Tall Ship Festival is now over.. The sun that blessed us all the way to see the ships leave Dublin, left right after the last one was gone. We were back in our grey weather with this chiming joy in our hearts that gave out a powerful promise: Never again will I miss this festival!