Arklow Seabreeze a summer success


This year’s Arklow Seabreeze Music and Arts Festival surpassed all expectations bringing out huge crowds for the entire festival creating a magical experience, which ended on Sunday night with a spectacular Fire Works Display on the River Bank Arklow. People were high in their praise for the very small committee of eight people who put on a festival to be proud of, with so many visitors, tourists, families and friends travelling home for the event. Not one bed space was available throughout the entire town of Arklow and surrounding areas, with tourists from USA, Germany, Spain and other towns and villages supporting all of the events and activities in a packed programme.


Under the Chairmanship of  Colm Moules,  he thanked everyone for their help and support for this year’s festival, especially the committee of Tina O Sullivan, Mary Burke, Tommy Annesley, Donal Molloy, Dicey O Reilly, Noeleen Davenport, Sharon Whelan, Vinnie Byrne, Jim Hoey and all the volunteers who helped out over the weekend. “A Festival of this magnitude requires a lot of time, planning and execution, which started after last year’s event, and we pulled of a fantastic weekend of Fun, Laughter, Music and Entertainment” Colm said. “With a very small budget, limited resources and support for the local businesses we just about managed to cover the costs of this year’s festival”.  Each year it gets more and more difficult to add something new, raise the bar and give the town something special”


There were many highlights during the festival, with the Swinging Pubs competition attracting large numbers each night in the run up to the main part of the festival weekend. Participants were: The Gin Mill, The Midway Bar, Lounge & Restaurant,  John Joe’s, Sally O Brien’s, The Gallery, The Old Ship, Arklow Bay Hotel and the Bridge Hotel. Congratulations and thanks to everyone for taking part and for all their hard work in the run up to their shows each night. A lot of hard work ensured there was a very high standard each night. Thanks to Diageo who supported the Swinging Pubs Competition this year also.


The winners this year were:  Best M.C.  – Oisin Molloy representing The Gin Mill, Best Comedy/Novelty Act –  Seanna Connolly, Muireann O’Connor, Meadbh O’Connor, with their Riverdance sequence and representing The Gin Mill, Best Male Singer: John and Tommy Breen representing Sally O’Brien’s, Best Female Singer: Sophie McGee representing The Bridge Hotel, with the title of Swinging Pubs Champions for 2017 going to the Bridge Hotel for the second year in succession. Congratulations to Jim, May, Patrick, from the Bridge Hotel, Mary Kirwin and the team from The Bridge Hotel on their success.


Friday night 14th the kicked in real good style with the annual Carnival in the Car Park on Main street, providing a wonderful attraction to the festival as it does in many other leading festivals throughout the country and bringing much need footfall to the Main Street. The park attracted huge crowds for the Trade Winds annual Burger Eating Competition sponsored by Manu from Trade Wins, to whom we say a big thank you once again. Winner of the Burger Eating Competition was: Joe Munnelly, Arklow, with Runner Up Alan Keogh, Ballycoog. Congratulations once again to everyone who took part.  Arklow Community First Responders gave a great demonstration in the Park and “Bare Bones – Rock & Roll Band” provided the large audience with a top class night of music.. Well done guys and thanks for once again supporting this year’s festival.


AGB Festival of Football took place on Saturday morning organised by Mick Healy and Terry Canavan with six teams providing a great festival of football. Teams taking part were: Clonee, Kilanerin, Bunclody, Ashford, Castletown, AGB, Arklow Thanks to all the teams for taking part and everyone for travelling to Pearse Park, Arklow for the day. Also on Saturday Inbhear Mor Performance Ensemble organised their “Summer Sounds” European Marching Bands & Drum Corps Competition in  Arklow Celtic F.C. grounds as part of this year’s festival once again, featuring bands from: Clondalkin Youth Band, Mullingar Town Band – Celtic Crusaders, Viking Drums Corps,  Liberty Drum Corps, Northampton, England and their own group Inbhear Mor Performance Ensemble. Well done to Oisin and all the team on a wonderful day also. Winners were as follows: 1st Mullingar Town Band – Celtic Crusaders and runners up Liberty Drum Corps, Northampton, England.


That evening saw “Drum Corps Rock the Town” as Inbhear Mor Performance Ensemble, Arklow and special guests “Liberty Drum Corps”, Northampton, England who travelled over to Arklow this year, joined forces to give an outstanding performance on the streets of Arklow, an experience not seen for many years. Well done guys and look forward to making this bigger and better next year. Thanks to everyone for giving them a warm Arklow welcome.


Another feature of the festival this year was the Busking competition attracting a number of wonderful musicians and entertainers. Thank you all to all for coming out and creating a great atmosphere on the streets of Arklow throughout the afternoon on Saturday.  Winners were: 1st Place – Siofra Ni Dhubhghaill, 2nd Jasmine Kavanagh Well done to everyone for taking part.


The Dainty Bakery Baby Show is another feature of the Arklow Seabreeze Music and Arts Festival annually with another large number taking part.  Winners were:

0-1year olds  – 1st Lloyd Wolohan, 2nd Kayden Feely and 3rd Phoebe Renwick

1-2 year olds – 1st Olive Kavanagh, 2nd Amelia Glenny, 3rd Ruby Brown

2-3 year olds – 1st Millie Redmond, 2nd Christopher Bracken and 3rd Harper Kavanagh

Overall Winner was: Christopher Bracken

Many thanks to everyone who took part on the day and to the Dainty Bakery for their generous sponsorship once again this year.


There were many other events throughout the day and evening on Saturday including The Great Pint Challenge and street fun and games. Rounding off a great day was a feast of wonderful music on the three stages. Top Stage featured “The Kilkenny’s” who gave a wonderful night entertainment of Traditional and Folk Music and gave a spell binding performance. Congratulations and well done. Down on the Middle Stage: Ray Dolan, nephew of the late Joe Dolan, treated people to a great night of music from show band era  with one hit after another. Bottom Stage featured another top act “Small Town Crisis” who gave another great night of music and rock. All three stages captivated their audiences looking for more. Thank you so much to all of your for your support. It is great to feature such an amazing array of talent from Arklow and the local area.


Sunday saw another action packed day of entertainment early on in the day. New this year was the great ball race which proved a great hit with everyone and  Seabreeze Car which was painted by local schools and showed some great artistic talent. Schools who took part were: St. Joseph’s N.S. Templerainey, St. John’s Senior National School, Gaelscoil an Inbhir Mhoir and Carysfort N.S. with the winners announced as: Gaelscoil an Inbhir Mhoir. Congratulations and well done to all schools who took part, great talent out there. Thanks to all the schools who took part.


With the streets closed from 1pm, the town was transformed into a Carnival of colour, with family entertainment, Artisan Food and Crafts, Wrestling, Pig Derby, Musical Chairs, The Midway Chilli Eating Challenge, Car push sponsored by Leon Recycling and much more it proved a great afternoon for families, visitors and transformed the town into something very positive and uplifting with huge crowds turning out for the day and fantastic weather adding to the atmosphere. The McDonald’s Teddy Bear’s Picnic, sponsored by Mc Donald’s Arklow proved a huge success with all the children, thanks to Wosanta and the team at McDonald’s once again. They also provided balloon making and face painting and goodie bags for over 300 children. Thank you so much guys, something special.


Another feature of the Arklow Seabreeze Festival each year is the Pipe Band contest with a number of pipe bands travelling to Arklow for the occasion, which this year was sponsored by JB Refrigeration

Winners were as follows:


Grade 4B:  1st Youghal Pipe Band, 2nd Killeshin Pipe Band and 3rd Carlow Pipe Band and Best Drums: Killeshin

Grade 4A: Gorey Pipe Band, 2nd St. Lawerence, Howth. Best Drums: St. Lawerence, Howth

Open Grade:  1st Gorey Pipe Band, 2nd St.Lawerence, Howth. Best Drums: Gorey Pipe Band


Thanks to Ray Finn and the team for all their help and support in organising this competition, which is one of the annual highlights of the Arklow Seabreeze Music and Arts Festival. All bands marched down the town following the final adjudication and provided some great much to the huge numbers who turned out.



Overall it was one of the best Seabreeze Festival’s in many years many people remarked.  Closing this year festival on the three stages were:  Top Stage – “The Wise Guys”, who proved to be a huge hit with the huge number of people who turned out. Middle Stage featured local band ”Gravity”, who proved to be another wonderful addition to this year’s festival programme and were a real hit. On the bottom Stage – “Glen Art” – featuring Tommy Breen founder member of Boru and friends who gave a wonderful Performance and went down really well with festival goers all night.


Thank you once again to all the bands who provided top class entertainment and for their continued support. We cannot get over the wealth of talent in Arklow and surrounding areas, Arklow should be really proud and should really be called “the Music Capital of Ireland”.


Rounding of this year’s  Arklow Seabreeze Festival was the Fireworks display on the River Bank, which was outstanding. It was lovely to look back at the bridge and see people lining up every square inch of space across the bridge, makes it really worthwhile, for festival organisers.


Finally thank you to Arklow Municipal Council, Wicklow County Council, The Bridgewater Shopping Centre for their sponsorship of the Seabreeze Festival Princess competition, all the pubs who supported the Swinging Pubs, Mc Donald’s, JB Refrigeration and all the local business for their support and sponsorship. To keep the festival alive for next year, we depend on your continued support and a big go raibh mile maith agaibh to all the volunteers and stewards who helped out over the weekend. Bridgewater Seabreeze Festival Princess Ellen Doyle, had a wonderful weekend and said “ I really enjoyed the experience, and did not know what to really expect” but enjoyed all the events and had great fun.

The committee would also like to thank the people who gave their time and money to help this year’s Festival also. Thank you to the all the press and photographers, and East Coast FM for their support, the emergency services, Order of Malta, the Gardai and anyone who helped in any way who made this year’s Arklow Seabreeze Music and Arts Festival a huge hit, THANK YOU.


Watch our website www.arklowseabreezefestival.ie or visit our Face Book page arklowseabreezefestival2017 for more information. If you have any pictures, videos or comments please let us know. Alternatively, if you would like to be involved in any way organising or supporting next year’s festival send an e-mail to: info@arklowseabreezefestival.ie

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