The next edition of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race, the 705-nautical miles premier yacht race in Ireland, is set to take place from Wicklow Harbour Saturday, 18th of June 2022. The classic biennial offshore event will be hosted again by Wicklow Sailing Club and will feature with boats ranging in size from 30 feet to over 70. For this year’s event, there will be a fleet of at least 52 boats, including Pen Duick VI, the largest boat in the race at 73-feet.
The 2022 SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race is Ireland’s premier offshore yacht race. First staged by Wicklow Sailing Club in 1980 and held biennially since, the Round Ireland is the second longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar.
However, the Round Ireland is more than just a race – it is an incredible opportunity for Wicklow Sailing Club and for County Wicklow as a whole, providing significant economic opportunities for the area.
This year’s event is the first to be sponsored by SSE Renewables, Ireland’s leading developer and operator of renewable energy, including offshore wind energy. The association with the Round Ireland is an ideal one as the company is an active member of the community in County Wicklow as it continues to progress its plans for the development of the next stage of Arklow Bank Wind Park.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the SSE Renewables Round Ireland weekend is the opportunity for visitors to Wicklow to take in the spectacle of the fleet of competing boats, all of varying sizes, and their crews assemble in Wicklow Harbour ahead of the official race start at 1pm on Saturday 18th June.
The SSE Renewables Round Ireland 2022 course follows the traditional route first contested in 1980 that states “leave Ireland and its islands to starboard” while starting and finishing at the scenic port of Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. Main berthing facilities for competitors are provided at Wicklow Harbour’s pier and quays close to Wicklow Sailing Club’s base, plus marina options are available at Greystones and Dun Laoghaire to the north for bigger boat entries.
To celebrate this landmark yacht race, Wicklow Sailing Club is hosting a series of festival events that will take place from the 16th to 19th June at the Wicklow Sailing Club and on Black Castle Hill.
Proceedings kick off with a ‘Meet the Sailors’ party on Thursday 16th June at 8pm, followed by the ‘Rock-a-Round Ireland Party’ with a BBQ and live music on Friday 17th June at Wicklow Sailing Club.
On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June, a family fun festival will take place at Black Castle Hill from 12pm-9pm each day, with entertainment, live music, a funfair with children’s Bounceworld, and food stands from local businesses.
For lovers of music and live entertainment, there’s a free, open-air live music stage at the Round Ireland Festival, with gigs at the Black Castle from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June. Brought to you by SSE Renewables and supported by Wicklow County Council and the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage, the line-up includes local and national artists on Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday from lunchtime, with headline performances by Big Love on Saturday night and Leslie Dowdall on Sunday night.
The race will officially conclude on Friday 24th June with a Sailors’ Prize Giving Ceremony, BBQ and live music at Wicklow Sailing Club.
After Covid has set back so many plans, to have a strong fleet of over 50 boats entered is a testament to the appeal of this unique race that will see a sprint to the finish along the east coast to Wicklow with the finishing-line and Wicklow Sailing Club’s legendary hospitality at the end.
Kyran O’Grady, Commodore of Wicklow Sailing Club said: “The anticipation is building at Wicklow Sailing Club with the 2022 SSE Renewables Round Race almost upon us. We cannot wait to welcome all contestants from across the world to this year’s competition.”
Cllr Shay Cullen, Cathaoirleach, Wicklow County Council said: “I am delighted to see the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race fast approaching the start line from Wicklow Harbour on the 18th June. The country’s premier sailing competition being hosted by Wicklow Sailing Club will be an excellent economic and tourism opportunity for County Wicklow as the counties most popular summer event. The economic benefits that the Round Ireland Race brings with it are significant and it is positive to see organisers and sponsors seeing through on this event for the local community.”
SSE Renewables’ partnership with Wicklow Sailing Club on the Round Ireland comes at a time when the company has made headway in the development of the next phase of its Arklow Bank Wind Park offshore wind project. SSE Renewables was recently granted planning permission to develop the onshore grid infrastructure necessary to connect the 800MW Phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park to Ireland’s electricity transmission grid, a historic first for Ireland’s offshore wind sector. SSE Renewables also submitted a Maritime Area Consent Application (MAC) to the Department of Environment, Communications and Climate this week, and the company has also been granted a Foreshore Licence by the Irish Government to enable it to commence key maritime site survey investigations. SSE Renewables is also expanding its offshore wind portfolio with projects off the coasts of Louth and Waterford before the end of the decade.
Cllr Gail Dunne, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District said: “It is great to see SSE Renewables partnering with Wicklow Sailing Club to host the 2022 Round Ireland event and there is huge excitement building in Wicklow ahead of race day. This event really shines a positive light on Wicklow and we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors to the town on June 18.”
Barry Kilcline, Director of Offshore, SSE Renewables said: “SSE Renewables is delighted to partner with Wicklow Sailing Club to deliver an eagerly anticipated event which we hope will offer the domestic and international sailing community an exciting competition, a significant economic benefit to Wicklow and environs, and of course a superb family experience for the local community and visitors to Wicklow Town. The SSE Renewables Round Ireland 2022 reflects the potential that Irish waters offer and we look forward to seeing competitors sail past our proposed offshore wind energy development sites for Arklow Bank Wind Park Phase 2 in Wicklow, Braymore Wind Park off Louth and Celtic Sea Array off Waterford.”
SSE Renewables Round Ireland Festival – At a glance
Thursday June 16th
‘Meet the Sailors’ Party, 8pm at Wicklow Sailing Club (WSC)
Live music by ‘The Sessions’
Friday June 17th
Festival at the Black Castle, 5-8pm with free live music
‘Rock-a-Round Ireland Party’ at WSC, 9pm
BBQ & Live music by ‘New Dimension’
Saturday June 18th
Race Day – Race Start at 1pm
Festival at the Black Castle, 12 noon-9pm with free live music
Music Stage headliner: Big Love, 8.30pm
Sunday June 19th
Festival at the Black Castle 12 noon-9pm with free live music
Music Stage headliner: Leslie Dowdall, 7.30pm
Friday June 24th
Sailors’ Prize Giving Ceremony, 6pm at WSC
BBQ and Live Music by ‘The Man in the Kilt’