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Displaying items by tag: heritage

#CoastalHeritage - First the recent storms exposed the wreck of a century-old schooner in Co Kerry and the remnants of neolithic graves in Connemara.

But now the severe weather has revealed the existence of ancient forests dating back an incredible 7,500 years.

The Irish Times reports on the incredible discovery on the Galway coast west of Spiddal, where the remains of a 'drowned' forest have been uncovered.

What's most remarkable about the find is that the trees' root systems are still intact, untouched since the Holocene times when wolves and bears where in abundance in Ireland's wild.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#NaomhEanna - Campaigners behind the effort to save the heritage ship Naomh Éanna have expressed their disappointment at what they claim is too short a stay of execution for the vessel.

Last Thursday (27 February) the former Galway Bay ferry was granted a one-month reprieve from the scrapheap, following the intervention of the Seanad, to allow interested parties to put together a comprehensive business plan for the vessel.

But Sam Field Corbett, of the SaveOurShip campaign and marine heritage restoration business Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication, said it had been made clear before last week's debates in Leinster House that 16 weeks would be required to prepare such a plan "involving no State funding".

The Naomh Éanna, said to be "one of the last riveted ships built in the world", has spent the best part of three decades in a state of neglect at Grand Canal Dock after her retirement from the Galway-Aran Islands ferry route.

She was destined for the junkyard early last month before the intervention of Seanad members, despite the Department of Heritage rejecting appeals to save her.

Corbett said the four-week window of reprieve rules out the possibility of the Naomh Éanna remaining in the capital, but was happy to report that a berth had been confirmed in her old home of Galway Port.

"Engineers are confident that, after restoration of her hill and machinery, she will sail to Galway under her own steam," he said, noting that "surveyors will continue to quantify the cost of restoration, to be confirmed when the ship is dry-docked."

He also added that designers from his boat restoration business had surveyed the shop and proposed a variety of future uses for the vessel, including a café/bakery and restaurant, a "boutique hostel" and even a microbrewery.

Meanwhile, an online petition has been launched to urge Government to extend the Naomh Éanna's life beyond the present 31 March deadline.

Published in Historic Boats
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#CoastalNotes - Solutions to deal with the erosion of Ireland's coastline to not have to cost "millions", a geography lecturer tells The Irish Times.

The comments by University College Cork's Dr Max Kozachenko follow a less heartening scenario described by fellow UCC academic Prof Robert Devoy, who said last month that erosion rates - exacerbated by increasingly extreme weather - will soon force Ireland's coastal counties to look "very clinically" at what parts are most worth saving via expensive engineering works.

However, Dr Kozachenko says that such a take-it-or-leave-it solution is "simplistic" when a co-ordinated approach involving coastal monitoring and new approaches to managing the effects of wind and wave action could stem the damage to Ireland's coastline for little expense.

He cites the placing of rock fragments in front of protective rock armouring or concrete walls to scatter waves and dissipate their energy as a cheap but effective option, and also notes the success of offshore artificial reefs in Japan that have had the added benefit of assisting in biodiversity.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#NaomhEanna - Campaigners hoping to preserve the heritage ship Naomh Eanna have circulated a letter among Dublin TDs to gather support for their restoration plans.

Earlier this week reported that the vessel, described as the 'last Irish heritage ship', is set to face the scrapheap after spending the last 28 years in a state of neglect at Grand Canal Dock.

Now the Save Naomh Eanna campaign has called on local TDs to put their weight behind a 16-week reprieve for the derelict ship so that a business plan for its restoration can be put together.

Save Naomh Eanna argues that cutting up the ship in the Grand Canal graving dock poses an environmental risk to the waters at the dock as well as a physical risk to the 200-year-old dry dock itself, listed as a protected structure.

The campaign also claims there are "irregularities" in the manner by which Waterways Ireland intends to dispose of the vessel, of which it recently took possession.

Published in Historic Boats

#CoastalHeritage - The recent storms have proven an unexpected boon for archaeologists as the high winds and wave action on Connemara's coast have exposed remains dating back 6,000 years.

According to The Irish Times, parts of a Neolithic bog, along with two medieval burial grounds and traces of dwellings dating back to the 1700s, were among the sites revealed in sand cliffs on the island of Omey off Claddaghduff by the impact of the storms - the same storms that exposed the remains of the shipwreck Sunbeam in Kerry last week.

It's not all good news, however, as archaeologists fear many more priceless treasures were lost by the destruction wrought by the storms - including kitchen middens, preserved waste piles that teach us much about our ancestors' lifestyles.

Meanwhile, as heritage experts look to Ireland's past, residents in the Aran Islands have expressed their concerns about the future - specifically what impact such extreme weather might have on the proposed - and currently postponedGalway Bay organic fish farm. The Irish Times has more on this story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Tagged under

#Canals - Ireland's canals - along with the railways, mines and mills - carried the lifeblood of Ireland's burgeoning industrial age. But has this heritage been forgotten today?

That's the topic of discussion at The Forgotten State of Industry, a two-day international conference that will bring together speakers from Ireland, Europe and beyond to share their experiences of conserving, managing and presenting the remnants of the early industrial age.

The conference takes place from 18-19 October at the Glendalough Hotel in Co Wicklow. Information on ticketing, registration and more is available via the Heritage Council website HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#maritimefestivals – The fascinating story of an ancient agricultural crop and how it played a key role in the maritime industry will be brought to life at Scotland's leading celebration of nautical heritage and culture.

A display and demonstration on flax – described as Britain's forgotten crop - will be one of the main attractions in the craft tent at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival later this month.

Crowds in excess of 16,000 are expected to descend on the village of Portsoy on the Aberdeenshire coast when the festival, now in its 20th year, takes place over the weekend of June 22 and 23.

The demonstration will be led by Flaxland, a group of flax growers and producers who featured in the BBC television show, Wartime Farm. They will be showing members of the public how the fibre was used in a huge variety of maritime products, and will reveal how they have even been able to build a boat made from flax fabric.

Flax growing in the UK is believed to date back to the Bronze Age and grew popular due to the versatility of both the plant's stem and seed. As well as being used in oil and in cooking, flax can be used to create everything from clothing to paint.

Roger Goodyear, chairman of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, says organisers are delighted to welcome Flaxland to the event for the first time this year.

"The festival is one of many events taking place across the country for the Year of Natural Scotland, so it seems entirely fitting that this natural product with such a rich history in the UK should play a key role in this year's celebrations," he says.

"Authentic maritime and craft skills have always been an important part of the festival, and this year we will once again play host to a very diverse range of crafts men and women who represent the very best in traditional skills."

In addition to Flaxland, visitors will be able to learn splicing for beginners thanks to the maritime studies department of Orkney College, try a pottery wheel and watch a basket weaver in action. Younger visitors will also be able to take part in a workshop teaching basic knot-work, and the very popular Living Traditions tent will be making a return appearance.

The festival is a key event in the Year of Natural Scotland – a partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland EventScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage which aims to showcase the country's unique natural environment.

For more information about the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and to buy tickets visit Updates about this year's festival are also available on Facebook and Twitter – search for @STBFestival. An adult day ticket costs £8, children aged five to 18 and concessions are £5. Adult weekend tickets are priced at £12 and children and concessions at £8. There are also family tickets available which allow entry for two adults and three children for £25 for a day ticket and £35 for a weekend. Children under five go free and there is no charge for parking.

Published in Maritime Festivals
Tagged under
14th March 2013

Bronze Age Boat Is Afloat!

#BronzeAgeBoat - After nearly a year of hard work by a team of volunteers in Cornwall, a pioneering heritage project to recreate an ocean-going boat from the Bronze Age finally saw its results take to the water recently.

The 50ft long, five-tonne vessel was crafted out of two giant oak logs using the tools and methods that the first boat builders would have had to hand some 4,000 years ago.

“It has been incredible to see this whole project take shape in the Museum building over the past 11 months," said Andy Wyke of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

Volunteers led by shipwright Brian Cumby worked in collaboration with leading Bronze Age boat expert Prof Robert Van de Noort and his colleagues at the University of Exeter to produce the finished article, which was successfully paddled in Falmouth Harbour much to everyone's delight and relief.

“There have been doubters, professionally, who questioned the feasibility of this vessel crossing the seas," said Prof Van de Noort. "This project has proven that it was possible.”

The boat is now on display at the museum's pontoon in Falmouth.

Published in News Update

#Diving - The Irish Underwater Council (CFT) reports the "huge success" of the 22nd annual Dive Ireland expo in Athlone at the weekend.

The two-day event at the Hodson Bay Hotel welcomed "speakers from near and far as well as photography workshops and a fully loaded international trade fair" - not to mention the CFT National Dive Conference and AGM.

Ahead of the expo, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan commented on the role of SCUBA clubs and diving centres in Ireland's national tourism infrastructure in promoting this country's dive sites.

In the foreword to the recently published Warships, U-boats and Liners, he also wrote of the Government's commitment to developing its archive of wrecks in Irish waters.

“With the support of responsible dive centres and local dive clubs ... these wrecks can be explored now and into the distant future by visitors from home and abroad.”

According to the CFT, local authorities are also starting to recognise the importance of developing aquatic activities to encourage tourism.

One example is Mayo County Council's Blue Ways list of swimming and snorkelling sites along the county's coast, which complements its Green Ways walking trails.

The council also highlighted the importance of heritage among Ireland's diving community, and their role in discoveries such as the Viking-era swords retrieved from the River Shannon near Banagher last autumn, as the Offaly Independent reports.

Published in Diving

#RESCUE - A Donegal-born skipper joined in the dramatic rescue of a fishing trawler crew in Alaska recently, the Donegal Democrat reports.

Seamus Hayden Jr, who captains the fishing vessel Clyde, was berthed in Lazy Bay at the southern end of the Kodiak peninsula when he responded to a call from fellow vessel the Tuxedni to assist the stricken Heritage, which was sinking a mile east of nearby Tanner Head.

“I rousted my crew and fired our main engine to join the Tuxedni in the search," he said. "I did not know at that time if the Heritage crew had abandoned ship.

“I informed everyone onboard my vessel to dress for extreme weather and to use utmost caution and a buddy system at all times around the vessel."

Visibility was low due to ice fog and the darkness of the Alaskan winter nights, and as they got closer to the Heritage's location - where the US Coast Guard was attemping a helicopter rescue - conditions were "horrendous", with ice-cold winds of 60 knots.

I was very worried for the safety of all involved, including our own," said Hayden.

The Donegal Democrat has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue
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