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Illuminated Light Display Showing Sea Level Rise Opens in Galway

29th September 2022
Línte na Farraige aims to provoke a dialogue around rising sea levels - the installations comprise illuminated horizontal lines, based on predictions of future sea level rise from international benchmarks that represent future sea level and storm surges
Línte na Farraige aims to provoke a dialogue around rising sea levels - the installations comprise illuminated horizontal lines, based on predictions of future sea level rise from international benchmarks that represent future sea level and storm surges

Lines of light showing projected sea level rise in Galway city is part of a collaborative project involving scientists and artists which will extend across a number of Irish coastal areas this year.

Línte na Farraige aims to provoke a dialogue around rising sea levels and the need to adapt societal behaviour to tackle climate change.

The installations comprise illuminated horizontal lines, based on predictions of future sea level rise from international benchmarks that represent future sea level and storm surges.

Galway City Museum has created a pop up “climate change gallery”, which features the Línte na Farraige exhibition and provides a viewing point for “lines of light” showing how the Atlantic may rise in the Spanish Arch area on the banks of the river Corrib.

The set of visual light installations has been created by Finnish artists Timo Aho and Pekka Niittyvirta who worked on similar projects in their home country of Finland, in Florida, USA, and in Scotland.

The scenarios draw on research published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report and Irish tide gauge data.

As the IPCC reports have pointed out, sea level rise is driven by global greenhouse gas emissions.

It is estimated that sea level may rise by between 0.37 metres in a low emissions scenario, and by 1.88 metres in a high emissions scenario, by the year 2150 .

Línte na Farraige involves scientists, based at Trinity College Dublin, Maynooth University and University College Cork, the Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) and local authorities.

The Native Events sustainable event management company is also involved to ensure the installations have minimal environmental impact, while partners Algorithm are developing an interactive website.

The LED light installations will be located at the Spanish Arch and Ard Bia in Galway for six months, and at the Claddagh Basin for four days.

The project has been funded by Creative Ireland.

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

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