17th July

Clean Coasts - Ocean Hero Awards 2015

An Taisce's Clean Coasts programme has launched a call for nominations to its Ocean Hero Awards. The annual initiative recognises the contribution individuals, community groups, businesses and schools make to protect and conserve Ireland's 2,500km coastline.

Clean Coasts Awards

"The Ocean Hero Awards  recognise the remarkable work being carried out by Clean Coasts groups and volunteers all along the Irish coast. This is achieved through award categories that celebrate creative initiatives in coastal conservation and the wide variety of newly established and long-term groups who contribute to the programme," remarked Dr Michael O'Mahony, Director of An Taisce's Environmental Education Unit.

Read more: Clean Coasts - Ocean Hero Awards 2015

Bantry Bay 'blueway' adventure trail

Munster's first 'blueway' will take paddlers on a 2km, 6km or 9km water trail around Bantry Bay in West Cork, starting at Abbey Slipway and taking in Whiddy Island, Reenbeg Point and return, via Railway Pier. Paddlers can choose from three trails - beginners, intermediate and advanced. 

Bantry Blue Way

John Mullins, Chairman Bantry Bay Port Company; Michael Murphy, Deputy Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company; Cllr Joe Carroll, Deputy County Mayor; Dr Vera O'Donovan, FLAG; Capt Paul O’Regan, Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company and Brendan Keating, CEO Bantry Bay Port Company

Blueways are described as water paths or trails for canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers, developed with launch points, camping locations and points of interest  to encourage recreation, ecological education and preservation of wildlife resources.

Read more: Bantry Bay 'blueway' adventure trail

Seafood trail on the Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland's seafood development agency and tourism agency have joined forces to create a dedicated seafood trail on the Wild Atantic Way. Initally focussing on a stretch from Ennis, Co Mayo to Connemara and Galway Bay, Taste the Atlantic - a Seafood Journey, gives visitors a real appreciation of the quality of Irish seafood and a key understanding of how seafood is caught and farmed.

BIM WAW

Mike Kelly, Kelly’s Oysters; Padraic Gannon, Croagh Patrick Seafoods; Tomas McDonagh, McDonagh’s restaurant, Galway; Seamus McCruddin, Padraicins; Alex Goor, Killary Fjord Cruises & Port Finn Lodge; Ronnie Counihan, Renvyle House Hotel; Fergus O’Halloran, The Twelve Hotel; Seamus Commons, Executive Chef, Knockranny House Hotel; Graham Roberts, Connemara Smokehouse; Ian Mannix, BIM; Pascal Marinot, Chef, Delphi Lodge; Mike Burke, Pier Head; Nicolas O’Dowd, O’Dowd’s Restaurant; Richard Donnelly, BIM; Kate O’Connor Kennedy, Killary Fjord Shellish; Catherine Nee, Marty’s Fresh Shellfish; Mick Wade, Delphi Lodge; Sinead Hennessy, Failte Ireland

"Irish seafood enjoys an excellent reputation on our international markets, and the opportunity to link with Failte Ireland to further promote the provenance and quality of our seafood on the WAW is an obvious one," remarked Michael Keatinge, BIM's interim CEO. Irish seafood sales are expected to reach €1.5bn by 2025.

Read more: Seafood trail on the Wild Atlantic Way

Water trail network for greater Cork area

A feasiblity study for a recreational water trail network in the greater Cork area identifies five potenital 'blueways' at Cork City, Lough Mahon, West Passage, East Harbour and Harbour. The Cork Harbour Blueway Feasbility Report was commissioned by South and East Cork Area Development Ltd (SECAD).

Water trail network for Cork region

Pictured at the lauch were William O'Halloran, biodiversity; Minister Simon Coveney and Ryan Howard, CEO SECAD 

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said Cork could benefit "hugely" from the initiative. "It is a wonderful way for people to experience the beauty and heritage that Cork Harbour has to offer."

Read more: Water trail network for greater Cork area

Great Lighthouses of Ireland open their doors to toursim

A ‘new experience to take your breath away’ – that’s the promise from Great Lighthouses of Ireland – an EU-funded tourism initiative featuring twelve lighthouses around the entire coastline of Ireland.

Great Lighthouse of Ireland Loop Head

Loop Head, Co Clare. Photos Stephen Emerson

Launching the project, Pascal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said Ireland's maritime heritage was a great source of pride:

“The Great Lighthouses of Ireland initiative is a unique and exciting collaboration between many people and organisations, each with different and specialist skills who have come together to create something exceptional.”

Read more: Great Lighthouses of Ireland open their doors to toursim

'Islanders' - a forgotten way of life

From Arranmore in Co Donegal, to Whiddy Island in Cork via Inisturk in Co Mayo, a new four-part series produced by TV3 documents a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.

Islanders Arranmore cotta

Arranmore, Co Donegal. Empty and derelict homes underpin a declining population due to an erosion of the inshore fishing industry

The series begins on Inisturk (14/04 TV3, 9pm), 14km off the Mayo coast and home to just 55 residents, including Bríd Heanue and her son Nathan. Bríd's older son Chris lives and schools on the mainland. With no secondary school on Inisturk, Nathan will be leaving the island in September. It is a day Bríd dreads:

"That's a very emotional subject with me...All of our family are going to find that hard." 

Read more: 'Islanders' - a forgotten way of life

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