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Marine Environment, Science, wildlife, weather & Ocean energy
The Marine Institute’s Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2023
Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD officially launched the Marine Institute’s Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2023 on Thursday, May 5th. The 2023 report provides important and timely updates on national observations and recommendations previously presented by the Marine Institute.…
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD with Aoife O’Mahony, Fair Seas Campaign Manager
Fair Seas has been named a champion in Ireland’s efforts to become a world leader in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The coalition of leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks is one of 26 organisations appointed by…
A total of 142 individual grants were approved by Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien through the Community Water Development Fund
Local communities involved in improving water quality in coastal areas, lakes, rivers and streams have been awarded grant aid amounting to €523,000. A total of 142 individual grants were approved by Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien through…
Scott Sutherland and Thomas Gellert, Co-Project Directors of Codling Wind Park, pictured at a recent public consultation event at the Glenview Hotel in Delgany, County Wicklow
Codling Wind Park is establishing a dedicated €500,000 Fisheries Fund to benefit the fishing industry operating within and around the Codling Bank area of the Irish Sea. The €500,000 fund will have a €100,000 annual budget to support different initiatives…
Seven first-phase offshore wind projects – six in the Irish Sea and one in Galway Bay – were granted marine area consents late last year
Concerns about fast-tracking development of near-shore wind turbines have been expressed in several coastal communities, including Connemara and the Celtic Sea. As The Irish Times Climate and Science Editor Kevin O’Sullivan reports, residents have expressed fears about the lack of…
An artist's impression of a floating wind turbine
North Channel Wind which has Headquarters in Belfast, is a co-development agreement between SBM Offshore, based in the Netherlands, and Irish-based developer NMK Renewables, for a pair of floating wind farms in the North Channel. Although North Channel Wind has…
The Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant is adjacent to the Poolbeg power station
Europe’s largest phosphorus extraction reactor has been installed at the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant in Dublin, as RTÉ News reports. Úisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water) says the reactor — which is extracting phosphorous to be turned into agricultural fertiliser —…
The Marine Institute's Newport Facility in Co Mayo
Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Digital Transformation, Dara Calleary T.D., today visited the Marine Institute's Newport Facility in Co Mayo. Welcoming Minister Calleary, Dr John Killeen, Chair Marine Institute, said: "We are delighted to welcome Minister Calleary to…
A photo of Inis Mhic Oileáin by Maria Simonds-Gooding
“There are two places in the world that create a sort of a spark within one that is so unique…and one of those is Inis Mhic Oileáin..” That’s how award-winning artist Maria Simonds-Gooding feels about the Kerry island, one of…
Baltimore RNLI lifeboat- The seven volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat for the medical evacuation from Cape Clear were Coxswain Pat Collins, Mechanic Jerry Smith and crew members Eoin Ryan, Paul Synott, Emma Lupton, Emma Geary and Kieran Collins
Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation yesterday evening (Tuesday 25 April) from Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork. Last week the crew performed a Medvac from Sherkin Island, as Afloat reported. The volunteer…
Aran island fort of Dún Aonghasa
The Aran island fort of Dún Aonghasa was sixth most visited national monument in Ireland in 2022, while Kerry’s Blasket island visitor centre has recorded a significant increase. Coastal locations remained highly popular last year among over 800 historic sites…
Eoin Warner sails his Galway hooker around the islands of the Atlantic coast for Ireland’s Wild Islands
Three years in the making, Ireland’s Wild Islands is a spectacular three-part TV series that features the marine wildlife wonders of Ireland’s Atlantic islands. Shot in cinema-quality 4K, the series is hosted by Corkman Eoin Warner who sails a 140-year-old…
Hornsea One offshore wind farm in the north Sea comprising of 174 7 MW turbines and a total capacity of 1,2 GW giving it the title of  the world's largest offshore wind farm
Ireland is among a group of eight European countries aiming to quadruple wind energy generation and develop “islands” linking offshore energy infrastructure. As the Irish Times reports, the plans was outlined at a summit on Monday in the coastal Belgian…
Larne Lough in Co Antrim
Some 30 swimmers took to the waters of Larne Lough on Saturday (22 April) in protest over plans to store half a billion cubic metres of natural gas under its bed, according to BBC News. As previously reported on,…
ORCA Ireland logo
The Ocean Research Conservation Association of Ireland (ORCA Ireland) intends to deploy a data buoy as an aid to navigation off the South Coast of Ireland this weekend. The deployment will take place on Saturday 22 April, subject to weather…
Conditions in Baltimore harbour during the RNLI call out were choppy with a south easterly force 4-5 wind
Baltimore RNLI was called out to provide a medical evacuation yesterday evening (Thursday, 20 April) from Sherkin Island off Baltimore, West Cork. The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 8.20 pm, following a request from the Irish Coast…

For all you need on the Marine Environment - covering the latest news and updates on marine science and wildlife, weather and climate, power from the sea and Ireland's coastal regions and communities - the place to be is

Coastal Notes

The Coastal Notes category covers a broad range of stories, events and developments that have an impact on Ireland's coastal regions and communities, whose lives and livelihoods are directly linked with the sea and Ireland's coastal waters.

Topics covered in Coastal Notes can be as varied as the rare finding of sea-life creatures, an historic shipwreck with secrets to tell, or even a trawler's net caught hauling much more than just fish.

Other angles focusing the attention of Coastal Notes are Ireland's maritime museums, which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of our nautical heritage, and those who harvest the sea using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety pose an issue, plying their trade along the rugged wild western seaboard.

Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied as the environment they come from, and which shape people's interaction with the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

Marine Wildlife

One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with Marine Wildlife. It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. And as boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify, even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat. Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse, it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to our location in the North Atlantic, there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe. From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals, the Marine Wildlife category documents the most interesting accounts around our shores. And we're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and video clips, too!

Also valuable is the unique perspective of all those who go afloat, from coastal sailing to sea angling to inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing, as what they encounter can be of great importance to organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Thanks to their work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. But as impressive as the list is, the experts believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves, keep a sharp look out!


As an island in the North Atlantic, Ireland's fate is decided by Weather more so than many other European countries. When storm-force winds race across the Irish Sea, ferry and shipping services are cut off, disrupting our economy. When swollen waves crash on our shores, communities are flooded and fishermen brace for impact - both to their vessels and to their livelihoods.

Keeping abreast of the weather, therefore, is as important to leisure cruisers and fishing crews alike - for whom a small craft warning can mean the difference between life and death - as it is to the communities lining the coast, where timely weather alerts can help protect homes and lives.

Weather affects us all, and will keep you informed on the hows and the whys.

Marine Science

Perhaps it's the work of the Irish research vessels RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of Marine Science for the future growth of Ireland's emerging 'blue economy'.

From marine research to development and sustainable management, Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. Whether it's Wavebob ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration, the Marine Science category documents the work of Irish marine scientists and researchers and how they have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

Power From The Sea

The message from the experts is clear: offshore wind and wave energy is the future. And as Ireland looks towards the potential of the renewable energy sector, generating Power From The Sea will become a greater priority in the State's 'blue growth' strategy.

Developments and activities in existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector, and those of the energy exploration industry, point to the future of energy requirements for the whole world, not just in Ireland. And that's not to mention the supplementary industries that sea power projects can support in coastal communities.

Irish ports are already in a good position to capitalise on investments in offshore renewable energy services. And Power From The Sea can even be good for marine wildlife if done properly.

Aside from the green sector, our coastal waters also hold a wealth of oil and gas resources that numerous prospectors are hoping to exploit, even if people in coastal and island areas are as yet unsure of the potential benefits or pitfalls for their communities.

Changing Ocean Climate

Our ocean and climate are inextricably linked - the ocean plays a crucial role in the global climate system in a number of ways. These include absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere and absorbing 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity. But our marine ecosystems are coming under increasing pressure due to climate change.

The Marine Institute, with its national and international partners, works to observe and understand how our ocean is changing and analyses, models and projects the impacts of our changing oceans. Advice and forecasting projections of our changing oceans and climate are essential to create effective policies and management decisions to safeguard our ocean.

Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute, said, “Our ocean is fundamental to life on earth and affects so many facets of our everyday activities. One of the greatest challenges we face as a society is that of our changing climate. The strong international collaborations that the Marine Institute has built up over decades facilitates a shared focusing on our changing ocean climate and developing new and enhanced ways of monitoring it and tracking changes over time.

“Our knowledge and services help us to observe these patterns of change and identify the steps to safeguard our marine ecosystems for future generations.”

The Marine Institute’s annual ocean climate research survey, which has been running since 2004, facilitates long term monitoring of the deep water environment to the west of Ireland. This repeat survey, which takes place on board RV Celtic Explorer, enables scientists to establish baseline oceanic conditions in Irish waters that can be used as a benchmark for future changes.

Scientists collect data on temperature, salinity, water currents, oxygen and carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean. This high quality oceanographic data contributes to the Atlantic Ocean Observing System. Physical oceanographic data from the survey is submitted to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and, in addition, the survey contributes to national research such as the VOCAB ocean acidification and biogeochemistry project, the ‘Clean Atlantic’ project on marine litter and the A4 marine climate change project.

Dr Caroline Cusack, who co-ordinates scientific activities on board the RV Celtic Explorer for the annual survey, said, “The generation of long-term series to monitor ocean climate is vital to allow us understand the likely impact of future changes in ocean climate on ecosystems and other marine resources.”

Other activities during the survey in 2019 included the deployment of oceanographic gliders, two Argo floats (Ireland’s contribution to EuroArgo) and four surface drifters (Interreg Atlantic Area Clean Atlantic project). The new Argo floats have the capacity to measure dissolved ocean and biogeochemical parameters from the ocean surface down to a depth of 2,000 metres continuously for up to four years, providing important information as to the health of our oceans.

During the 2019 survey, the RV Celtic Explorer retrieved a string of oceanographic sensors from the deep ocean at an adjacent subsurface moored station and deployed a replacement M6 weather buoy, as part of the Irish Marine Data Buoy Observation Network (IMDBON).

Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IMDBON is managed by the Marine Institute in collaboration with Met Éireann and is designed to improve weather forecasts and safety at sea around Ireland. The data buoys have instruments which collect weather and ocean data including wind speed and direction, pressure, air and sea surface temperature and wave statistics. This data provides vital information for weather forecasts, shipping bulletins, gale and swell warnings as well as data for general public information and research.

“It is only in the last 20 years, meteorologists and climatologists have really began to understood the pivotal role the ocean plays in determining our climate and weather,” said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann. “The real-time information provided by the Irish data buoy network is particularly important for our mariners and rescue services. The M6 data buoy in the Atlantic provides vital information on swell waves generated by Atlantic storms. Even though the weather and winds may be calm around our shores, there could be some very high swells coming in from Atlantic storms.”