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#OurOceanWeath - Employment growth of more than 16% in the marine sector was among the encouraging statistics cited by Marine Minister Michael Creed in his address to the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, which opened at Galway Docks yesterday (Thursday 28 June).

“Ireland has taken important strides in recent years in developing our blue economy. This is being driven at the highest levels of Government and represents a unique and joined up approach to growing Ireland’s blue economy.

“The work of our cross Departmental high level Marine Co-ordination Group (MCG), which I chair, will continue as we seek to build on recent success,” Minister Creed said.

Updated statistics indicate that the direct economic value of Ireland’s ocean economy now stands at €2 billion, or approximately 1% of GDP, which represents a 21% increase on 2015 figures.

“The 2017 estimates suggest that our ‘blue economy’ continues to grow at a faster pace than the general economy,” the minister added. “Growth in 2017 is being driven by strong performances in the aquaculture, sea fisheries, shipping and marine tourism industries as well as continued growth in the emerging ocean industries.

“A really encouraging statistic is the growth in employment for the marine sector which has risen from 27,888 (FTEs) in 2015 to an estimated 32,509 (FTEs) in 2017, an increase of 16.6%.”

Minister Creed also announced the publication of the latest annual Progress Report on Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

“This report which covers inputs from across state departments and agencies, provides a wealth of information, spanning governance, research, education, international co-operation, business development, sustainability, and protection and conservation of marine ecosystems,” he said.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit, now in its fifth year, forms a key part of the Government's integrated plan for Ireland’s marine sector and brings together national and international expert speakers, industry leaders, business development agencies and the Irish business and marine research community. This year’s discussions focused on the overall theme of ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’.

Ahead of the summit, PwC and the Marine Institute released the results of a joint survey of leading voices in Ireland’s maritime industry, which revealed “overwhelming confidence in Ireland’s maritime sector in spite of challenges posed by Brexit”.

Other findings include the potential of offshore wind and ocean energy, which is seen as a key opportunity for the marine sector, while overall, maritime leaders believe further investment in the marine industry is critical.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit is part of a range of industry and innovation events taking place in Galway as part of SeaFest 2018, Ireland's national maritime festival, which opens today (Friday 29 June). A wide range of public events are taking place in Galway Harbour and Docks and the city over the weekend till Sunday 1 July.

Among them will be Life and the Sea, a special civic and military commemorative event to remember all those who have lost their lives at sea, and recognising the heroism of the men and women of our rescue services.

Mayor of Galway City, Niall McNelis, will address the special commemoration which will take place at 6pm on board the LÉ William Butler Yeats in Galway Harbour.

There will be musical performances, while poems will be read by Tony Hiney, community fundraising manager of the Western Region of the RNLI, and Lt Cdr David Fleming, Officer Commanding of the LÉ William Butler Yeats.

Minister of State Seán Kyne, accompanied by Mayor McNelis, and RNLI, Irish Coast Guard, Naval Service and Air Corps representatives will lay a wreath.

A lone piper will play, which will be followed by ship horns and a flyover by the Air Corps.

Published in News Update

From famous ships to flyboarding, seafood and sailing, there is a host of activities on offer at SeaFest 2018, taking place in Galway Harbour from 29th June to 1st July.

Here are just five of the ‘must-sea’ activities and attractions visitors can experience at Ireland’s most spectacular maritime festival.

1. Inspiring talks from Doug Allan

Multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan has filmed in some of the wildest and most remote places on Earth. Working alongside Sir David Attenborough on documentaries such as Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Ocean Giants, Doug has had the chance to get up close to some of the most awe-inspiring mammals found on land and sea. Don’t miss one of the seven talks taking place over the weekend!

2. See world-class Flyboarders perform

Be captivated by stunning performances from Powerfly Products world-class flyboarders. With pump-powered jetpacks, the flyboarders will spin and spiral high into the air performing amazing tricks and flips. With three shows each day, view these breath-taking displays from the edge of Galway Harbour or on-board an ocean-going vessel.

3. Tour Ireland’s newest Naval vessel

One of the latest vessels in the Irish Naval fleet, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be docked in Galway Harbour for the festival weekend. The vessel is deployed for fishery protection, search and rescue and in maritime patrol missions. Speak to our naval personnel and get a close-up look at the equipment on board. At 90 metres in length, the LÉ William Butler Yeats will be a spectacular sight to see.

4. Sample sensational seafood

At the BIM/Bord Bia Seafood Experience, visitors will learn everything there is to know about seafood. View up-close a variety of live fish and shellfish species from Irish waters or take a virtual reality stroll under the sea to meet the creatures of the deep in a thrilling immersive experience. Enjoy live cookery demonstrations from Galway restaurateur JP McMahon, Michael O’Meara of Oscar’s Seafood Bistro in Galway and author of the top-selling Sea Gastronomy and Oliver Dunne, the youngest Irish chef to be awarded a Michelin star. BIM’s Young Fishmongers of the will show you how easy it is to prepare fish and seafood at home. Seafood lovers will also enjoy the range of cookery demonstrations on offer at the Gastronomy Showcase Van, to celebrate Galway as the European Region of Gastronomy 2018.

5. Make fishy faces to take home

Galway City Museum will be hosting Fishy Faces workshops, where kids can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures, under the guidance of Áine Lawless of Macnas. These 30-minute workshops are suitable for children from 5-12 years of age. In addition, five of these workshops will be run in partnership with Galway Autism Partnership and are specifically for children with sensory difficulties, and their siblings. While at the museum, explore the marine world through the interactive ‘Sea Science – The Wild Atlantic’ exhibition and a resident scientist will also perform hands-on experiments for children.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#SeaFest - This year’s SeaFest in Galway is offering activities specifically for children with sensory issues as well as watersports sessions for children and adults with disabilities or impairments.

Irish Sailing and its team of volunteers from sailing clubs across Galway are offering fully inclusive access to Try Sailing sessions over the three days of Ireland’s national maritime festival.

“We want everyone to be able to experience the thrill of being out on the water, and SeaFest offers a fantastic opportunity for children and adults with disabilities or impairments to try sailing or kayaking in a safe and supported environment,” said Ciarán Murphy, Irish Sailing’s national inclusion and children’s officer.

“Sailing offers a sense of freedom like no other sport, and is a great healthy outdoor and social activity. We hope our budding sailors enjoy the experience and will join us again in Galway for the Watersports Inclusion Games at the end of August.”

Galway City Museum will be hosting five workshops specifically for children with sensory difficulties and their siblings.

Led by Áine Lawless of Macnas, children can create colourful fish and other sea-themed creatures to take home. Volunteers from Galway Autism Partnership will provide assistance during each of the workshops.

Aisling Colreavy, co-ordinator at Galway Autism Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be part of SeaFest this year, and have an activity especially for children on the autism spectrum, and their siblings.

“Peer support is invaluable to our members, as these activities are a great opportunity to make connections with families and individuals in similar situations is very important in terms and understanding.”

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a purpose-built marquee dubbed The Atlantic Theatre will showcase talks from multi-award winning cameraman Doug Allan and screenings of the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic and popular Irish animation Song of the Sea. The Atlantic Theatre will be fitted with Loop Hearing to assist the hearing impaired.

SeaFest 2018 will offer a weekend of seafaring fun for all ages, with thrilling performances from world-class flyboarders, live seafood cookery demonstrations, vessel tours, a Defence Forces display and a host of marine-themed workshops for kids.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SeaFest - Businesses across Galway are saying ‘No to Plastic’ in our oceans to support SeaFest, Ireland's national maritime festival, taking place in Galway Harbour from Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July.

This year, the festival aims to highlight the impact of plastics in our oceans, with a particular focus on reducing single-use plastics on the festival site.

The initiative is organised by the Marine Institute, in conjunction with Galway City Council’s European Green Leaf programme.

“A truck load of plastic waste finds its way into the ocean every minute of every day, and it's estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean unless behaviours change,” said Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.

“I applaud the businesses of Galway that are supporting SeaFest, and have committed to reducing single-use plastics by offering alternatives for customers. These small changes can result in big impacts, which will encourage a change in behaviours long after the festival weekend.”

Arlene Finn, European Green Leaf co-ordinator with Galway City Council, added: “We can all find a way to use less ‘single use’ plastic, and I congratulate the SeaFest supporters for taking the initiative.

“CPL Recruitment have provided all staff with re-useable water bottles and water filters to minimise bottled water waste. Celestica are banning disposable cups from the site and giving free travel mugs to employees. Food For Thought and 56 Central have moved away from plastic straws, providing biodegradable options instead. Brazo Coffee Academy have signed up for ReCupán and Refill.ie to support customers who use reusable coffee cups and water bottles.

“We welcome more businesses to come on board with this initiative, and hope they will take inspiration from those already involved.”

Other supporters of this initiative include Galway City Museum, Galway Atlantaquaira, Food For Thought, Honest Kitchen, Irish Greyhound Board, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Temple Café, The Yield Lab Europe, The Heron’s Rest, Tropical Medical Bureau, Glenville Nutrition, Galway Convention Bureau, Bank of Ireland Galway and AMACH! LGBT Galway/Teach Solais Resource Centre.

“AA still from Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea

Meanwhile, a mesmerising cinematic experience will showcase some of the best ocean-inspired films and talks at SeaFest 2018.

The Atlantic Theatre will host free talks from renowned cameraman Doug Allan, as well as screenings of the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic and children’s animation Song of the Sea.

A purpose-built marquee to accommodate 500 people will be erected at Galway Docks to create the Atlantic Theatre.

“We are delighted to be able to host seven talks from the renowned Doug Allan, all completely free to SeaFest visitors,” said Caroline Bocquel, Marine Institute director of corporate services. “His shows have been known to sell-out quickly, and we believe this will be one of the popular attractions at this year's festival.”

Underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan will take visitors on a deep sea journey in search of whales, sharks and cold water coral reefs in the documentary Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, which captured the attention of the entire country last month when the two-part series aired on RTÉ television.

The audio visual attractions continue with the 3D Under the Sea Dome. This engaging interactive experience will take viewers below the ocean surface to view creatures of all sizes – from tiny microscopic organisms to the enormous Humpback Whale. And the film Dynamic Earth, narrated by Liam Neeson, explores the interlocking systems that shape our climate.

In addition to the Atlantic Theatre, SeaFest 2018 will also offer a host of activities on the water such as performances from world champion flyboarders and vessel tours as well as sailing and kayaking sessions. Live seafood cookery demonstrations, a Defence Forces display and kids’ activities are all part of the packed programme of free events.

“MarineMarine Institute CEO Peter Heffernan, PwC partner Yvonne Thompson and BIM chief Jim O’Toole the launch of the 2018 Our Ocean Wealth Summit

Ahead of SeaFest, enormous opportunities for Irish businesses operating in sectors such as engineering, energy, food and technology to expand their offerings to the marine sector will be discussed at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit in association with PwC at Galway Docks on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.

For entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses interested in finding out more, the summit – under the theme ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ – includes conference and panel sessions with thought leaders and innovators, as well as a marine trade showcase with exhibits across drone technology, smart shipping, offshore and onshore communications, marine waste management and financial modelling for the marine sector and more.

There will also be ample networking opportunities to connect with national and international businesses, government representatives and speakers from the USA, Europe, UK and Ireland.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#SeaFest - Volunteers are wanted for Ireland’s largest maritime festival, SeaFest 2018, taking place in Galway Harbour from 29 June to 1 July.

“A wide range of organisations and agencies come together to take part in this festival, including businesses across Galway,” says Johnny Donnelly, managing director of event managers Arcana. “Our festival volunteers also play an incredibly important role in making SeaFest one to remember, and also help us to showcase Galway at its best.

“We encourage those with an interest in the marine or those proud of Galway city, to apply to volunteer for SeaFest 2018. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in one of Ireland's biggest maritime festivals and help raise awareness about the value of our seas.”

SeaFest 2018 offers a packed programme of family-friendly events on and around the water which aim to engage the young and the young at heart in the magic and mystery of the ocean.

Enjoy thrilling performances from world champion flyboarders, boat trips along Galway Bay, as well as the chance to try kayaking and sailing in Galway Harbour.

There will be inspiring talks from award-winning wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, as well as seafood cookery demonstrations, tours of ocean-going vessels, an equipment display from the Defence Forces and interactive activities for the kids.

To become a volunteer for SeaFest 2018, complete the online application form. Applications will close on Friday 8 June.

All volunteers must be aged 18 years or older. Volunteers have the option to volunteer for one, two or the three days of the festival. Volunteers may also be selected for Garda vetting.

For more information on the festival, follow SeaFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

See also: ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ is the theme of the 2018 Our Ocean Wealth Summit taking place before SeaFest.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#SeaFest - The business of SeaFest was discussed at a special meeting in Galway City Hall last Thursday (3 May), which heard that Ireland’s largest maritime festival generated €6.9 million for the local economy in 2017.

“The ploughing championships for marine” is how Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan described the event and its ocean-themed activities set to attract more than 100,000 visitors to Galway form 29 June to 1 July.

“Galway Harbour will be a hub of activity for three days, featuring even more activities for children, aquatic displays, vessel tours, as well as exhibitions and entertainment,” Dr Heffernan added. “We will also be increasing our level of pre-event digital activity engaging with our online community with a range of educational and important stakeholder messages.

“Ireland’s marine infrastructure and resources will be on show, and visitors will also have the opportunity to celebrate our maritime history and discover more about our oceans. SeaFest also raises public awareness of the value of our marine resources and the economic benefits our ocean provides to Galway and all of Ireland’s coastal communities.”

Galway Port Company chair Maurice O’Gorman said he was “delighted to be able to open the port and provide a stage for such a wonderful event.”

Also pleased to take part is Bord Iascaigh Mhara. “This year, we plan to build on our popular BIM Seafood Experience with a range of activities that will give visitors, young and old, the opportunity to experience all elements of our diverse seafood industry and resource,” said BIM chief Jim O’Toole.

“From seafood cookery and fishmongery demonstrations in partnership with Bord Bia to a walk-in virtual reality stroll under the sea; our exhibition this year is more exciting than ever. Sustainability will be a key theme with informative exhibits including how fishermen around the coast are playing their part to reduce marine litter through BIM’s Fishing for Litter initiative.”

An additional attraction to the BIM Seafood Experience will be Joan Mulloy, a professional sailor and daughter of mussel producer Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Mussels who, with the support of BIM, is attempting to sail single handed in the challenging Soltaire du Figaro race in August.

Mulloy will be at SeaFest with her race boat promoting Ireland’s connection with the sea and the seafood producers on BIM’s Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey trail on the Wild Atlantic Way.

The popular Defence Forces display will return to Galway Harbour for SeaFest 2018. Commandant Paddy Sheahan said the Defence Forces are delighted to support the event, as the previous festivals in 2016 and 2017 were such a positive experience.

“SeaFest is a great opportunity for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service to positively engage with members of the public, informing them of the Defence Forces relationship to the ocean, whether we are sailing on the high seas or high above it in our maritime patrol aircraft.”

In addition to these activities, SeaFest 2018 is also supported by Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Port of Galway, Galway Chamber, Irish Sailing, Údarás na Gaeltachta, The Village Salthill and Latin Quarter Galway.

Dr Heffernan said collaboration with event partners is key to the success of the national maritime festival.

“A unique aspect of SeaFest is the number of local, state and national agencies and organisations that come together to plan this event. It is a remarkable citizen-focus collaboration,” he added.

For more information visit SeaFest.ie and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

SeaFest 2018 coincides with the Our Ocean Wealth Summit, which recently confirmed former President Mary Robinson as its keynote speaker.

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#OurOceanWealth - Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has been confirmed as keynote speaker for this year’s Our Ocean Wealth Summit, taking place in Galway on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.

Now in its fifth year, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit forms a key part of the Government’s integrated marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The summit is a key event for the marine sector and related industries, offering a platform for discussion on the future of Ireland’s marine sector.

This year, the summit will extend across two days with a packed programme of presentations as well as panel discussion, interactive sessions and networking events.

Galway Docks will host the event, expected to attract more than 500 national and international delegates from across the marine sector.

The largest gathering of Ireland’s marine and business communities, the Our Ocean Wealth Summit attracts high-profile speakers from across the globe, not only from the marine sector but from a wide-range of disciplines.

This year’s keynote speaker is Mary Robinson, the seventh President of Ireland and the first woman to hold the office. In 2010 she established The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Other key speakers will include former Nasa astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, who was appointed by US President Barack Obama as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Administrator (NOAA). Sullivan has a long career as a distinguished scientist, astronaut and oceanographer.

Producer of BBC’s award-winning Blue Planet II series Orla Doherty is also one of the highlights of the summit programme. With family roots on the Donegal coast, Doherty has had a strong connection to the sea. She is an expert in underwater filming and has filmed scientists at the frontline of ocean discoveries from Indonesia to the Arctic Circle.

This year’s theme is ‘Investing in Marine Ireland’ and the summit will focus on progress towards the Government’s ambitious targets to double the value of the blue economy by 2030.

The diverse programme planned for this year’s Summit reflects strong collaboration between Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Marine Institute and the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, with individual sessions addressing environmental, economic and societal opportunities and challenges to creating a sustainable ocean economy for Ireland.

The Our Ocean World Summit coincides with Ireland’s national maritime festival, SeaFest 2018 in Galway from Friday 29 June till Sunday 1 July.

Published in News Update

Thousands of visitors will flock to Galway this weekend for what is expected to be the “biggest and most spectacular” sea festival ever staged in Ireland. The national maritime festival, SeaFest, returns to Galway, Friday June 30th to Sunday July 2nd with a packed programme of free, family friendly activities and entertainment on offer for all ages.

A relative new comer to the festival scene, SeaFest is only in its third year, but it has already inspired the hearts and minds of many. Having grown from a relatively small event, attracting 10,000 visitors in 2015, it is now one of the biggest family friendly festivals in the country, and is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 to Galway this weekend.

Visitors can enjoy famous ships, flyboarding, seafood, sailing and lots more as Galway Harbour and docks transforms into a giant, interactive “sea world” for the three day festival with the entire waterfront awash with non-stop water based activity. Every inch of the port will be crammed with boats, over 100, of all shapes and sizes, including sailing, scientific and navy ships. Visitors can climb aboard and explore the tall ship The Phoenix, the Irish naval vessel LÉ Ciara, the Commissioners of Irish Lights Granuaile and the Marine Institute’s research vessel the Celtic Explorer. Free sailing and kayaking sessions will get people out on the water and amongst Galway’s ship-filled harbour. The Irish Sailing Association’s ‘Try Sailing’ sessions will also offer disabled access for budding sailors over the weekend.

For the first time ever Galway will see the world’s Ladies Flyboard champion Kristen Smoyer and veteran Mark Baxter in action, powering through the air on swirling jets of seawater and performing breath-taking acrobatics in a number of thrilling performances planned each day over the festival.

BIM and Bord Bia will host a showcase of the finest of Irish seafood and live cookery and fishmongery demonstrations with top chefs Rory O’Connell, Oliver Dunne and Michael O’Meara. LookWest.ie will present a line-up of talks and displays from marine-inspired entrepreneurs. There’ll be traditional boat building demonstrations, a huge display from the Defence Forces and RNLI and Coast Guard air and sea rescue demonstrations. There’s plenty of fun activities for children of all ages in the dedicated Kids Zone including the Seven Seas Art Workshop, the Sea Sanctuary Zone and a touch tank of marine animals to name a few. Roving seafaring entertainment including sword-fighting buccaneers, the colourful and comic ‘Claddagh Clan’, and giant sea-themed puppets exploding onto the streets will all add to the exciting carnival atmosphere.

The festival also features the Wild Atlantic- Sea Science, a new marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, and a unique exhibition on polar explorer Roald Amundsen at NUI Galway. Festivities will also extend across Galway, with activities taking place in the Latin Quarter, Salthill and Rusheen Bay.

Published in Maritime Festivals
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#OurOceanWealth - Maritime Alliance executive director Greg Murphy will provide insights into the success of the US ‘blue tech’ cluster for the Irish marine sector in his keynote address at the Our Ocean Wealth Summit later this month.

Murphy heads a list of speakers announced to coincide with World Oceans Day (Thursday 8 June) for the summit on Friday 30 June at NUI Galway, which will focus on the theme of ‘Rethinking Boundaries and Innovation for a Sustainable Marine Economy’ and where delegates will also receive a progress update on Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan - Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

Terry Garcia, principal at Exploration Ventures LLC and former chief science and exploration officer at National Geographic, will lead discussions on the overwhelming and urgent imperative to innovate arising from our changing oceans.

Bringing Ireland’s blue economy into focus, Dan O'Brien, chief economist for the Institute of International and European Affairs, is addressing a number of topics from the Irish seafood sector, sustainability and economic development in coastal regions to the impact of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal tourism initiative.

Also on the speaker list are representatives from GEOMAR, PwC and Statoil as well as national speakers and panellists including Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy and Fáilte Ireland’s head of the Wild Atlantic Way programme, Fiona Monaghan, among others.

They join previously announced innovation expert Tom Kelley, of award-winning global design and development firm IDEO, who will address the summit on encouraging leaders in Ireland’s marine sector to engage in creative thinking.

Moderated by broadcaster and journalist Olivia O’Leary, this year’s Our Ocean Wealth Summit offers a platform for global and national leaders from across the marine industry and related sectors to convene and collaborate on innovating for our marine future.

“Our ocean is a national asset and supports a diverse economy,” says Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said. “There are many success stories from businesses, from a range of sectors, about how they have responded to the opportunities provided by the ocean.

“To enable our marine potential to be realised, it is essential that we seek new approaches and ways of thinking to harness the boundless opportunities that exist in our marine industry.

“At this year's summit, delegates will be inspired by those leading the way in driving innovation to continue developing a sustainable marine economy for Ireland.”

A number of related marine industry and research events will also be held around the summit on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 June, including the Digital Ocean Conference and the Marine Trade Show.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit sponsored by PwC and related events are held as part of SeaFest 2017, Ireland’s national maritime festival, from 30 June to 2 July in Galway. For the full summit programme and to register visit www.ouroceanwealth.ie/register

Published in News Update

#MarineScience - Marine Minister Michael Creed fficially opened Ireland's first sea science gallery at Galway City Museum yesterday (Thursday 18 May).

‘Sea Science - the Wild Atlantic’ is Ireland’s first marine science exhibition to have audio and visual displays accessible in both English and as Gaeilge.

The interactive exhibition spans a variety of topics including the nature of how tides operate, multi-beam mapping, deep sea exploration and marine life along the seashore, using a combination of digital interactive touch screens, hands-on-exhibits, holograms and high-definition video footage.

“I’m delighted to officially open Ireland’s first marine science gallery at Galway City Museum, an exhibition that both strengthens our maritime identity and raises awareness about our oceans,” said Minister Creed.

“For an island nation like Ireland, the sea has particular importance to our history and culture, as well as supporting a diverse marine economy. Our ocean is a valuable source of food, a gateway for shipping and means of transport, as well as supporting diverse ecosystems. For many of Ireland’s coastal communities, our ocean also offers tourism and leisure opportunities which contribute to our health and wellbeing.

“Our ocean is indeed a vital resource, and it is imperative to cultivate an interest in our oceans from a young age.”

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said, "Ireland has a rich maritime heritage, from a seafaring history to researching and preserving our marine environment. Our ocean is a national asset and a key aspect of Ireland’s marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, is to ensure our marine resource generates social, cultural and economic benefits for all our citizens.

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan added: “To realise Ireland’s marine potential, it’s incredibly important to have an ocean literate society – a population that has a strong understanding of the marine environment and how it impacts our everyday lives.

“To understand the value of our oceans, citizens need to engage with the marine environment from a young age. This exhibition provides a stimulating learning environment for children to discover the mysteries and science of our oceans, and to also inspire our next generation of marine entrepreneurs, explorers and scientists.”

The opening of ‘Sea Science - the Wild Atlantic’ coincides with the launch of SeaFest 2017, Ireland’s national maritime festival, which runs from Friday 30 June to Sunday 2 July.

Volunteers are still wanted for the three-day event, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Marine Science
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