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Delving deeper into the fascinating wild Atlantic coast of West Cork

Wednesday, 9th May, 2018 3:54pm
Delving deeper into the fascinating wild Atlantic coast of West Cork

The Deep Maps West Cork team in Castletownshend, from left: Prof Claire Connolly, Tom Somerville, Orla-Peach Power, Breda Moriarty, Dr Michael Waldron, Dr Rachel Murphy, Robert Salter-Townshend.

UCC scientists have spent three years working with coastal communities around West Cork to create a ‘living map’ of the region which is now online and requiring public input

BY Brian Moore

THE Deep Maps West Cork project website is now live and and needs your help.

Deep Maps West Cork is a UCC research project, designed to examine the links and relationships between the people, the culture and the environment along West Cork’s coastline.

The team from UCC, led by Professor of Modern English Celtic Studies and Social Sciences Claire Connolly and Dr Rob McAllen of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, have spent the last three years working with coastal communities.

They have worked with locals from Timoleague to Bantry looking at the history, the literature, the art and the marine environment in order to create a living map of life along West Cork’s spectacular coastline.

‘The project brings together the sciences and the arts as a way of looking at the local environment and the places that have shaped local literature and art,’ Professor Conneolly told The Southern Star

‘From environmental history to the present challenges faced by those living along the coastline, to those writing about their travels in West Cork back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Deep Maps West Cork aims to enhance our understanding of the cultural richness of the West Cork coastline, as a way of more fully appreciating the environmental challenges facing the region today.’

Dr Rachel Murphy, who developed the Deep Maps website, explained: ‘With the website you can connect with everything from pollution back in the 19th century, or the lack of funding from the government to the fishing communities and you can connect these same issues with the communities living in these areas today.’ 

The team also carried out surveys and workshops with local communities and groups in West Cork. ‘We looked at policy and the policymakers who are often at loggerheads with local priorities,’ researcher Breda Moriarty said. 

‘One of the key messages that came through was the opinion that there are inconsistencies when it comes to the management of the coast.’

The team showcased the Deep Maps West Cork website at the Uillinn in Skibbereen last weekend.

‘People can access the website at deepmapscork.ie, on their PC, laptops, tablets and phones and tell us what they think,’ Professor Connolly said. 

‘You can check out the interactive map, which highlights areas and communities right along the coastline and maybe learn something new about your community, its history and environment.’