16th July

Clare Island Survey Past & Present

A re-survey of Clare Island currently underway (first conducted by the Royal Irish Academy, 1909-1911) has completed 26 fieldwork studies encompassing five disciplines: archaeology; history and culture; botany; geology and zoology).

The survey is a major Academy venture, bringing together more than 100 experts from all over the island of Ireland and Europe to document changes in all aspects of the island's heritage, environment, and biology.


The Clare survey team who conducted their first survey in 1909. Photo RIA

The survey provides a fresh baseline study using up-to-date methodology, and gives a comprehensive description of the island from its bedrocks to its biotic communities. The survey also traces the history of human occupation and the impact of human activity on Clare Island.

Read more: Clare Island Survey Past & Present

A ‘preserved’ Asgard is unveiled to the public but continues to prompt debate

Tim Magennis

The Chinese, they say, have a way of putting it when they declare, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ There are, I admit, a number of interpretations that may be put on that particular statement.

At the unveiling of Asgard on August 8 in Collins Barracks was a very special guest – and indeed for her, and her distinguished family, these are interesting times.  She was Carainn Childers, grand-daughter of Robert Erskine Childers of Asgard fame and daughter of the late President Erskine Childers.
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Photo: Tim Magennis speaking at the annual Poolbeg Yacht Club regatta

Read more: A ‘preserved’ Asgard is unveiled to the public but continues to prompt debate

Recreating history that goes back over a Millennium

Replica 400ft Viking longboat

Construction of a replica 40ft Viking longboat in Waterford City by 18 FÁS students under the watchful eye of shipwright, Michael Kennedy is almost complete. Final work on rigging the sails, setting reefing pennants and making the oars is underway, along with some minor work on the rudder.  

Waterford has a very strong Viking heritage, dating back as early as 812 when Vikings settled in Woodstown near Mount Congreve. In 914 however they moved to a new settlement, Waterford City, which became a well-defended stronghold that survived and prospered.

The Vikings called it ‘Vedrarfjord’, meaning windy harbour, which over time became ‘Waterford’ – the only city in Ireland to retain its Norse name.

The project secured a longboat drawing from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark.
Begun in June 2010, it is a joint initiative of FÁS, Waterford Museum of Treasures, Waterford City Council and the private sector including the Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

Warships, U-Boats and Liners: A guide to shipwrecks mapped in Irish waters

Tim Magennis

Of the 700 U-boats sunk during WWII it is estimated that approximately 60 were lost in the waters surrounding Ireland. 116 subs that survived the war ended up there too.

One of the many stunning photographs shows the mass of surrendered craft that were herded into Lough Foyle prior to being towed out between November 1945 and February 1946 to the Northern Approaches ̵ 120 miles northwest of the Donegal coast ̵ and put to the bottom. In total, between 30,000 ̵ 40,000 mainly young German submariners gave their lives.8.6Bookreview Warships

By its very nature, the work being done in coastal and ocean surveying in general in Ireland does not lend itself to easy or accurate translation for the understanding of the public at large. It can be technical and not easily translated into readily understood language. This is unfortunate because in its short life – a mere 12 years – it has been acclaimed by people who know what they are talking about [that the project is] the finest of its type currently being undertaken anywhere in the world.

Read more: Warships, U-Boats and Liners: A guide to shipwrecks mapped in Irish waters

Clare Traditional Boat and Currach Study 2008

Darina Tully

In the summer of 2008, an audit of the traditional boats and currachs of Co Clare was undertaken by the author. A steering group of interested parties was set up under the direction of Congella McGuire, Clare Heritage officer and Tomas Mac Conmara, Heritage Project officer. The project produced an inventory of traditional boats and currachs that established a priority list for their future conservation. The study also examined the local variations in traditional boat and currach building, associated customs, usage and typology.

50ft fishing boat at Kilrush boatyard. Photo Darina Tully


50ft fishing boat at Kilrush boatyard. Photo Darina Tully

Vessels over 25 years

The audit was confined to boats deemed to be ‘heritage boats’. In keeping with the definition of heritage under The Heritage Act 1995, heritage boats were defined, for the purposes of this study, as vessels over 25 years old.

The project found that Co Clare has three distinctive areas of water-based transport: the dynamic West Coast, the Shannon Estuary and the relatively calm waters of Lough Derg. Thirty classes of boats were identified in use within the county. Currachs and gandelows make up more than half of the 220 heritage boats now on the inventory.

Read more: Clare Traditional Boat and Currach Study 2008

Spread the News

Scattery Island awarded European Destination of Excellence
Haulbowline Lighthouse centenary commemoration
Inaugural King's Island river race
Ilen journeys closer to open water
Scattery Island awarded European Destination of Excellence

Scattery Island, Co Clare, is among 18 European destinations to receive the EDEN (European Destinati [ ... ]

Haulbowline Lighthouse centenary commemoration

A six-week project that began on July 30 to illuminate Haubowline Lighthouse at the entrance to Carl [ ... ]

Inaugural King's Island river race

Thirty traditional craft from Cork, West Clare and Limerick gathered on O'Callaghan Strand slip for  [ ... ]

Ilen journeys closer to open water

Progress continues on the restoration of Ilen – the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden [ ... ]