Ministers Deenihan and O'Dowd launch book on Irelands rich shipwreck heritage
“Warships, U-boats & Liners – A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters”
Dublin, Wednesday 14th November 2012
In Dublin's Custom House today a stunning new book that showcases some of the more spectacular and important shipwrecks in Irish waters was unveiled. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD together with Fergus O’Dowd TD, Minister of State, Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, officially launched the beautifully illustrated “Warships, U-Boats & Liners - A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters.”
For the past 12 years Ireland’s offshore waters and coastal seas have been subject to one of the largest seabed surveys in the world in a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute. Photographic and sonar images of over 300 shipwrecks have been compiled during the survey in co-operation with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU), part of the National Monuments Service.
The collaboration between the State Bodies has led to the production of the new book which traces the fascinating history of 60 of the most historic shipwrecks around the Irish coast. The narrative combines archaeology, history and marine mapping and includes never before seen graphic imagery of how these shipwrecks lie on the seafloor today. It also provides in-depth historical background to each ship’s construction, history and ultimate fate.
The joint GSI and Marine Institute INFOMAR project, and its predecessor the Irish National Seabed Survey, make up the largest civilian marine mapping programme worldwide and, according to Minister O’Dowd, have “truly made Ireland a leader in this field of endeavour.” Over a similar period the UAU has built up an extensive database of shipwrecks (The Shipwreck Inventory of Ireland). “The current database holds over 13,000 wrecks”, said Minister Deenihan, “and is an essential management tool for the preservation, protection and promotion of Ireland’s rich maritime archaeological heritage.”
Minister O’Dowd, commented that “as an island nation we instinctively know that our seas are important, but perhaps we are not fully aware of the scale of this natural resource and heritage they hold”. He pointed out that “over 80% of our national territory lies beneath our seas, and that many of the benefits that might be realised for the Country from this resource, are as yet undiscovered.”
Minister Deenihan remarked that many of the shipwrecks contained in the book “are important links to major events in our past that need to be monitored to ensure they are protected and preserved.” The Minister said that there was “a huge maritime dimension to the shaping of our history in the years leading up to the foundation of the State” and that he was “very much aware of the importance of many of these wrecks to our history.“
Pointing out that the publication reflected his Department’s commitment to creating an awareness and appreciation of archaeology, Minister Deenihan said that it was also “a showcase of some of the best dive sites in the world which will undoubtedly attract many visitors from near and far”
Both Ministers congratulated the authors, Karl Brady (UAU), Charise McKeon (GSI), James Lyttleton (UCC) and Ian Lawler (BIM), of this publication and highlighted the book as an excellent example of two different government departments working together in partnership, bringing together expertise in archaeology and marine mapping to highlight Ireland’s leading role in seabed mapping and protection and promotion of marine cultural heritage.
Notes to Editors
Warships, U-Boats & Liners - A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters is available from the Government Stationery Office, major booksellers and GSI’s online shop GSI Shop priced at €25.
INFOMAR: The INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) programme is a joint venture between GSI and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey. INFOMAR is producing integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed. The surveys are carried using a range of platforms, including the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, GSI’s inshore launches RV Keary and RV Geo and Airborne LIDAR. The programme uses ship-mounted acoustic multibeam sonar and geophysical technology to provide vital information on water depth for safe shipping, as well as to analyse the properties of the seabed for information that can guide fishing, ocean renewable development, environmental protection, and marine archaeology. See http://www.infomar.ie/ and http://www.gsi.ie/
The Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) is an integral part of the National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and is responsible for the management, protection and recording of underwater archaeological sites and wrecks in Ireland’s inland and coastal waters. Since its establishment in 1997 the UAU has created an extensive archive of shipwrecks, with over 13,000 documented to date. The UAU’s brief includes the quantification of the underwater cultural resource, licensing of dives on protected sites, dealing with threats to underwater archaeology and mitigating development impacts. The UAU has also undertaken surveys and excavations at previously known and newly discovered sites, adding a new layer to our existing knowledge of our island’s history. The work of the UAU in this regard is helping to ensure that the evidence for past connections to the sea and inland waterways is recognised and protected for the enjoyment and benefit of all.
The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), founded in 1845, is the National Earth Science Agency and a division of the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources. The GSI is responsible for creating a broad range of products, including maps, reports and databases, and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology.
The National Monuments Service (NMS) is part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and plays a key role in the protection of our heritage. The NMS has a responsibility for archaeological issues arising at National Monuments in State care. The conservation and management (including visitor services) of National Monuments is the responsibility of the Office of Public Works. The NMS carries out surveys of known sites and where sites are thought to be located and compiles inventories of sites and monuments. It regulates archaeological excavations, the use of metal detection devices for archaeological purposes and diving on historic wrecks and underwater archaeological sites. It implements the legislation in relation to the protection of monuments and sites, and provides advice to planning authorities. The NMS provides advice to planning authorities on development proposals (development plans, heritage plans, and individual planning applications) that may have implications for the archaeological heritage. It provides advice to individuals and local groups on archaeological issues.
Minister O’Dowd announces 20 new high-end Marine Research jobs at BT Young Scientist Exhibition
Geological Survey showcases flagship projects – INFOMAR (Marine Research) and Tellus Border (Environment) - to the RDS thousands, who can also attempt gold panning and a 3D flying experience!
Dublin, Thursday 12th January 2012
Students from across Ireland will find out that Geology Rocks at the Geological Survey of Ireland’s fully interactive “Geological Sciences” stand at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. A team of professional geologists – but ready for fun! - will be on hand in Dublin’s RDS from 12th-14th January hosting a range of interactive activities revealing the extraordinary formation of our precious rocks, minerals and landscape.
Visiting the GSI stand at the BTYSE today, Minister for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, announced a programme of applied research that will support more than 20 high end jobs in 2012. The research is part of INFOMAR, the national marine mapping programme, being conducted by the Geological Survey and Marine Institute and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The Minister stated, “I am particularly pleased to be able to announce the successful programme, while visiting the Young scientists Exhibition, which showcases the scientific talent being developed in Ireland. The 23 projects being funded under INFOMAR range from evaluations of tidal energy sites, to studies of Dublin bay and development of an online marine resources game. All the projects build on the vast mount of data being gathered under our national marine mapping programme, and represent the real world projects that can contribute to the economy and employ our young scientists in the future.”
From marvellous minerals to fabulous fossils, wondrous water resources and extraordinary earthquakes, visitors to the stand will get an in-depth look at the geology of Ireland and the earth all around us. They can also experience an amazing geo-visionary flying experience and try their hand at gold panning! In addition, marine scientists from INFOMAR will be on hand to explain how most of Ireland is actually under the sea! And to really help visitors get to grips with ‘Understanding Underground’, the team from the EU-funded Tellus Border Project - a ground-breaking geological mapping project of the border region of Ireland – will be revealing how the project will help us get to grips with our landscapes.
The Geological Sciences stand is located in the Eco Zone (stand 12) at the Exhibition. It contains exhibitions from the Tellus Border, INFOMAR and Groundwater Protection projects and exhibitions from Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and the Natural History Museum of Ireland.
Notes to the Editors
The INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) programme is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). INFOMAR project will produce integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed. The surveys are carried using a range of platforms, including the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, inshore launches and Airborne LIDAR. The programme uses ship-mounted acoustic multibeam sonar and geophysical technology to provide vital information on water depth for safe shipping, as well as analyse the properties of the seabed for information that can guide fishing, ocean renewable development, environmental protection, and marine archaeology. See www.infomar.ie and www.gsi.ie
New Research Jobs supported by INFOMAR
These jobs announced by Minister O’Dowd originate from the latest round of funded research under INFOMAR and follow on from previous programmes that have covered topics from 3D visualisation to Cold water coral studies. In each case the projects will run for up to a year, and may lead to commercial development at their conclusion. Nine of the projects are being led by SMEs with 14 led by Research Groups and almost all involve multi-partner collaborations.
Among the projects selected for funding are:
- A popular online marine resource game, by REAL SIM Ltd of Galway.
This project will develop an online game, based on the popularity of games such as Farmville, where participants can build up a fishing fleet, fish farms and other enterprises offshore. However the game will include real world data such as the maps from the INFOMAR Project and real world figures such as Fish Stock numbers from the Marine institute. Thus players can have fun and also learn about the implications of over-fishing, sustainable development and the complexity of Ireland’s offshore.
REAL SIM are an Irish SME based in Galway , who provide highly realistic interactive and passive 3D simulations of the world around us, for a wide range of clients and applications, which include urban planning, marine simulation, historical environment re-construction, industrial process and medical device simulation. They were winners of the ITAG Emerging ICT Company of the Year, 2011. Other partners include NUIG and the University of Tromso in Norway. See www.realsim.ie
- Coastal Seabed Observatory Platform (COSOP), by Techworks, Dun Laoghaire
This project will develop a robust and low cost self-powered mobile seabed lander device, essentially a movable platform for sensing data in the sea. Such a device is vital for gathering information for not just scientific purposes but to support environmental monitoring and development such as renewable energy, fish farms and outfalls. TechWorks Marine provide clients with world-class solutions to monitor the marine environment. They provide products and services to a range of sectors including offshore renewable energy, coastal engineering, ports and harbours, oil and gas, aquaculture, water and utilities, academia, research and statutory monitoring. See www.techworks.ie
- Development of online webGIS educational portal about Ireland’s Coastal and Marine Geology, University College Cork
This project will develop short video clips on Ireland’s most interesting coastal geology, explained in simple terms by Ireland’s leading geological experts. These clips will then be made available online, with relevant maps, for both students of geology and the general public to enhance learning and tourism. Ireland contains an almost unique diversity of geology for such a small island and this project complements ongoing initiatives in Landscape Tourism to develop it as a location for field trips by overseas universities and colleges. See www.gsi.ie/Education/Landscape+Tourism.htm
· Launched in July 2011, the EU-funded Tellus Border Project involves an air survey and a ground survey and will run until 2013. Led by world class scientists the information collected by the low flying aircraft, equipped with the latest geological technology, and the team of ‘on the ground’ soil samplers will help us better understand the make-up of our natural resources and plan effectively for their future
· The Tellus Border project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), Dundalk Institute of Technology and Queen’s University Belfast and builds on the award-winning Tellus Project which has already successfully mapped Northern Ireland. Data collected during both surveys will be integrated with the existing data to give a cross border geological baseline.
· ‘Tellus’ was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater.
· The Tellus Border Project is the largest of the latest awards under the Environment theme of INTERREG IVA and is part funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment.
• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.
• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It supports strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.
• For more information on the SEUPB please visit www.seupb.eu
Sunken Guinness Ship Revealed
HIGH RESOLUTION images of a merchant ship which was sunk ninety-four years ago today (October 12th) off the coast of Dublin have been revealed by the INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resource) Programme. The images were obtained during a mission on the national research vessel the RV Celtic Voyager earlier this year which surveyed the wreck of the first Guinness merchant vessel, the W.M. Barkley.
The detailed seabed images, which include deck features and complex sand wave structures, were recorded by towed sidescan sonar provided by the Moore Marine Group, and give a visual insight into the defensively armed ship that was sunk by a German torpedo in 1917, seven miles east of the Kish Bank off Dublin.
(Left to right: Koen Verbruggen (GSI) Minister Pat Rabbitte, Dr. Peter Heffernan (Marine Institute), Eibhlin Roche (Guinness Archivist, Guinness Storehouse) and David Smith (Country Director, Diageo Ireland) Photos: Jason Clarke Photography)
In May 2010, during a large scale mapping survey in the Irish Sea by INFOMAR, a national marine study run by the Marine Institute and the Geological Survey of Ireland, identified a seabed feature which, to the trained eye, was discernable as a potential shipwreck lying in the same position recorded on the Admiralty Chart, the EU wreck site and UK Hydrographic Office wreck site directories, as well as a survey conducted in the 1980s as the last known position of the W.M.Barkley.
Viewing the spectacular imagery of the shipwreck Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, said “I am delighted to note the continued excellence of the valuable work being carried out under the INFOMAR project. These images from the deep reveal a unique view of part of Ireland’s marine heritage and I am delighted to announce details of INFOMAR’’s annual seminar to be held in Galway on November 16 and 17th.”
Ninety four years ago on the dark night of October 12th 1917 the W.M.Barkley was torpedoed without warning by the German submarine UC-75. Within minutes the ship, which was owned and operated by the Guinness Company of Dublin, broke in two and sank, taking with her to the bottom four men including her Captain and leaving the rest of her crew to face the sea in an open lifeboat. Now, the darkness where the ship has lain in pieces has been disturbed, probed by fingers of sound that are mapping the seabed in incredible details and bringing to light the position of this famous Irish shipwreck.
“As the first Guinness owned ship, the W.M. Barkley played an important role in the story of the transportation of GUINNESS beer overseas,” said Eibhlin Roche, Guinness Archivist. The events of the night of 12th October 1917 are very much part of the history of Guinness that is recorded in the Guinness Archive. It is exciting to finally know the exact resting place of the W.M. Barkley.”
A scale model of the W.M. Barkley is on display in the Transport Gallery of Guinness Storehouse remembering the lives of the Guinness men who both perished and survived the events of 12th October 1917. These are stories of tragedy and bravery portraying Irish traditional values, and how they were brought to light with the application of cutting-edge technology.
These INFOMAR photos show topographic seafloor images in 3D, showing the partially buried wreck of the W M Barkley lying at a water depth of 56 metres, with deeper scouring around it down to 72 metres (darker colours indicate greater depths).
The images were created from sonar data acquired onboard the Marine Institute’s research vessel RV Celtic Voyager, during INFOMAR Programme mapping in 2010 and 2011 with data processed by INFOMAR's Fabio Sachetti (University of Ulster) and Charise McKeon (Geological Survey of Ireland).
Notes to Editor
On the 12th October 1917, Guinness’s merchant vessel W. M. Barkley set sail from Dublin bound for Liverpool with a cargo of “hogshead” barrels of the company’s world-famous stout. The ship had been originally built for the John Kelly coal company in 1898 by the Scottish shipbuilding company Ailsa Shipping of Troon, but had been sold to Guinness in 1913. She had a displacement of some 569 Gross Registered tons unladen and was the first Irish merchant ship to be ‘defensively armed’ with guns against attack by the German Navy.
Unfortunately for the W.M. Barkley, however, the deadly attack that sank her came from below the waves in the form of a torpedo from the German submarine UC-75. The small minelaying submarine was equipped with 18 mines, seven torpedoes and a deck gun and had been built at the Vulcan ship yard in Hamburg. Like the W.M. Barkley it displaced 545 tons in total.
The impact from the torpedo broke the ship’s back, breaking her sides and leaving her to sink within minutes. Survivors took to the lifeboats and rowed away from the sinking hull to avoid getting dragged down by the suction of the sinking ship.
As survivor Thomas McGlue described, “Then we saw the U-boat lying astern. I thought she was a collier, she looked so big. There were seven Germans in the conning tower, all looking down at us through binoculars. We hailed the captain and asked him to pick us up. He called us alongside and then he asked us the name of our boat, the cargo she was carrying, who the owners were and where she was registered. He spoke better English that we did. . . . He said we could go . . . Then he pointed out the shore lights and told us to steer for them.”
With the survivors left alone in the darkness, surrounded by barrels of stout, they put out a sea anchor after a failed attempt to row for the Kish lightship. They were finally rescued by the crew of the passing collier Donnet Head, on course for Dublin, who took them on board and tied their lifeboat alongside. They arrived back in port at 5.00 a.m. where they were warmed by a fire and given dry clothes and brandy by the Guinness superintendent.
For almost a century, the W.M. Barkley remained alone in the darkness of the sea. Local fishermen may have noted the wreck on their charts as a trawl snag to avoid, but full details of the wreck and how it lay on the seabed only came to light recently, firstly through an intrepid expedition by local amateur divers. The development of special ‘Tri-Mix’ mixed-gas diving equipment for the sports market means even wrecks as deep as the W.M. Barkley, which lies below 57 metres of water, have become accessible.
A sports diver who visited the wreck in 2003 described how the starboard side of the ship was gone but that the stern seemed in good condition. A large sand wave had also built up around the wreck, running from east to west. These discoveries were followed up in the form of research by INFORMAR, Ireland’s most extensive and accurate inshore seabed mapping exercise.
Mapping by INFOMAR
The INFOMAR programme is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). Covering some 125,000 square kilometres of underwater territory, the INFOMAR project will produce integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed.
The surveys are carried using a range of platforms, including the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer and RV Celtic Voyager, inshore launches and Airborne LIDAR. The programme uses ship-mounted acoustic multibeam sonar and geophysical technology to provide vital information on water depth for safe shipping, as well as analyse the properties of the seabed for information that can guide fishing, ocean renewable development, environmental protection, and marine archaeology.
As the INFOMAR imagery data collected during the large scale mapping survey in May 2010 was analysed and reprocessed the shape of a broken vessel on the seabed became clear, in the same position as the last known recording of the W.M.Barkley. It lay from East North East to West South West on the sandy bottom, which had been scoured around the wreck by the strong prevailing currents into large hollows and ridges. Following on from this, two members of the INFOMAR team paid a visit to the Guinness Storehouse exhibition where a model of the W.M.Barkley is on display and noted the similarity of her shape to the detailed seabed images.
An opportunity arose a year later to visit the wreck site again as the R.V. Celtic Voyager was passing by on another mission. A towed sidescan sonar was provided by the Moore Marine Group and deployed by their archaeological expert to add a new layer of discovery to this historic wreck and war grave. This device, towed behind the vessel close to the seabed, provided higher resolution imagery showing deck features and complex sand wave structures around the ship until bad weather put a halt to proceedings.
The next step for INFOMAR, and Guinness, is to co-ordinate an opportunity where enough data can be acquired to build up the full picture of the state of the W.M.Barkley. The vision is to deploy a miniature robot submarine with an onboard camera to bring back high-resolution pictures of the famous stout company’s long-lost sunken ship.
The INFOMAR Annual Seminar will take place at the Marine Institute in Galway on November 16 & 17, see INFOMAR.ie home page for details.
RV Celtic Voyager
The Celtic Voyager is a 31.4m multi-purpose research vessel. The vessel is based in Galway, which is ideally located as the gateway to the Atlantic and geographically close to the main working areas. The vessel has wet, dry and chemical laboratories, which are permanently fitted with standard scientific equipment and can accommodate 6 - 8 scientists with a maximum endurance of 14 days. The vessel is manned by a very experienced crew who are highly skilled with the handling and deployment of scientific equipment.
The Celtic Voyager facilitates the collection of fisheries, geophysical, oceanographic and environmental data and provides practical training for the next generation of marine scientists. This research is of crucial national importance, to ensure the development of Ireland's vast natural resource in a sustainable manner.
Side-scan sonar is a category of sonar system that is used to efficiently create an image of large areas of the sea floor. It is often used to conduct surveys for maritime archaeology, and in conjunction with seafloor samples it is able to provide an understanding of the differences in material and texture type of the seabed.
Side scan uses a sonar device that emits conical or fan-shaped pulses down toward the seafloor across a wide angle perpendicular to the path of the sensor through the water. This may be towed from a surface vessel or submarine, or mounted on the ship's hull.
The intensity of the acoustic reflections from the seafloor of this fan-shaped beam is recorded in a series of cross-track slices. When combined together along the direction of motion, these pieces form an image of the sea floor within the swath (coverage width) of the beam. The sound frequencies used in side-scan sonar usually range from 100 to 500 kHz; higher frequencies yield better resolution but less range.
Moore Marine Group
Moore Marine is a fully integrated marine archaeological, geophysical and oceanographic service provider. They specialise in the provision of services, technical expertise and advice to Private Industry, Institutions and State bodes regarding the impact on and protection of our maritime heritage and environment.
Their technical expertise leads them to undertake a wide variety of projects suited to Environmental Impact Assessments and Pre and Post Developmental Appraisal of Marine Projects such as:
Pier and Harbour developments
Major Infrastructural Schemes
Moore Marine is a Health and Safety Authority (HAS) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) registered environmental and archaeological diving contractor. As such we ensure that all dives are undertaken in accordance with diving operations at work regulations and approved Codes of Practice.
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Media Coverage of INFOMAR
INFOMAR recently featured on national tv highlighting the work of the programme. TG4's Fórsaí Fo-Thuinn (Underwater Forces) is part of a series called Céad Seans and featured INFOMAR's Eoin MacCraith who provided an overview of INFOMAR's survey operations and the data acquired.
Nationwide featured INFOMAR's recent collaboration with the Department of Arts, Heriatge and the Gaeltacht's underwater archaeology unit exploring a possible Spanish Armada shipwreck off the coast of Burtonport, Co Donegal.
View these programmes using the links below.
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INFOMAR provide dive platform to underwater archaeologists exploring a wreck off the Donegal coast.
INFOMAR supplied one of its research vessels, the RV Keary, as the main dive vessel to the the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s underwater archaeology unit exploring a possible Spanish Armada ship off Donegal. Read more about the dive in the national media.
Work continues at historic ship wreck
Donegal wreck may have Spanish Armada link
Sunken Armada vessel discovered off coast
'Spanish Armada' wreck discovered
Spanish Armada vessel found off Donegal
Spanish Armada ship found off Donegal Coast
Armada wreck discovered off Donegal
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Media Coverage of The VENTuRE Cruise: Researching and Recovering information from the deep.
Marine geologist Maria Judge based at the Geological Survey of Ireland was a member of the team aboard the national research vessel RV Celtic Explorer which discovered hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Read more about the cruise in the national media. Read about her trip on the INFOMAR Blog
Riches of the deep
Irish scientists find new life in Atlantic’s depths
Strange creatures lurking on floor of Atlantic may hold clues to origin of life
Volcanic vent system found in Atlantic
Major Scientific Discovery on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Major Scientific Discovery on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Irish marine expedition to map new ecosystem
What lies beneath?
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Following on from the success of the Geoscience 2010 conference and the launch of the new "Atlas of the Deep-Water Seabed: Ireland" authored by Boris Dorschel and Andy Wheeler of University College Cork (UCC) and Xavier Monteys and Koen Verbruggen of the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), there has been lots of coverage of Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS) and INFOMAR datasets in the national media.... Read More
Views of Ireland you won't have seen before
Enter the depths of the abyss in 3D
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Request for Tender (RFT) for the provision of hydrographic services in connection with the seabed mapping of Ireland’s offshore. The GSI (or its partners and agents as the GSI may specify) invites tenders to supply the GSI with a Hydrographic Service to collect bathymetric data. The objective of the survey is to produce bathymetric data for Mannin Bay, Co Galway and Achill, Co. Mayo and Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo and Lough Swilly, Co. Donegal, and Broadhaven Bay, Co Mayo, and Lower Lough Foyle, Co. Donegal and Shannon Estuary, Co. Limerick, and Inner Dingle Bay, Co. Kerry....Download .pdf
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The full extent of Ireland's maritime resources was revealed this week, a seabed area which is the biggest of any nation in the European Union, ten times bigger than the land area of the Ireland on which we live. With the potential for hydrocarbon discoveries, marine biotechnological developments, fish resources, fish farming, our seabed resources and the quality of the marine research by Irish scientists is a good reason why Ireland should be dictating maritime policy to Europe..... Read More.
Listen to the programme
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State’s Seabed Mapping Programme to generate benefits valued at €275m
Delegates at an international conference of marine scientists, SEABED 10, in Dublin next week will hear how an independent study has valued the benefits of the state’s marine mapping programme at €275 million. This is more than four times what will be spent completing the “INFOMAR” programme. This is one of the largest science projects ever undertaken in Ireland and, in an excellent example of co-operation between state bodies, it is being jointly managed by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute (MI).
In announcing the conference, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Conor Lenihan, TD., commented “Ireland leads the way in global marine science and seabed mapping and this conference will showcase our achievements to date. At a time of financial difficulties it is crucial that such projects can be demonstrated to have a significant fiscal benefit to the state and I welcome the findings of a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on INFOMAR showing a return of over four times the cost." The benefits accrue across a range of sectors from fishing, tourism and energy, to compliance with international legislation and the research sector. The study, as well as tangible examples of real benefits to the state, will be presented at the conference.
The state’s latest research vessel the RV KEARY, a dedicated inshore mapping launch, will also be named during the conference. The vessel is a 15 metre aluminium catamaran, purpose-built for inshore mapping with state of the art technology. Amongst her best attributes is her ability to deliver exceptional depth accuracy, vital for safe transport and offshore development and protection. She is named after the late Raymond Keary, distinguished Irish marine geologist who had the vision of a national marine mapping project. According to Minister Lenihan, “in commissioning the new vessel, KEARY, we will also see cost effective mapping of our shallowest waters and a valuable addition to our national research capacity.”
One project based on seabed mapping results has just returned from deepwater filming of coral reefs on parts of the Rockall Bank for the very first time. The survey partners - GSI, MI and the National Parks and Wildlife Service - employed the Marine Institute vessel, the Celtic Explorer and her new remotely operated vehicle, the ROV Holland. This study will assist the process of designation of new offshore Special Areas of Conservation.
The Conference takes place at Liberty Hall in Dublin on October 5th and 6th, with the vessel-naming at Poolbeg Marina on Tuesday evening at 5.45. Interested parties can register at http://www.infomar.ie/.
INFOMAR stands for Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Irelands Marine Resource. The INFOMAR website is http://www.infomar.ie/.
The INFOMAR project is an ambitious joint venture to map Ireland’s most productive and commercially valuable inshore waters and is being undertaken by Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute, funded by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources. Covering some 125,000 square kilometres of underwater territory, the INFOMAR project is producing integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed.
INFOMAR follows on from the Irish National Seabed Survey, which mapped all of Ireland’s deeper waters between 1999-2005, and taken together they represent one of the largest such projects undertaken anywhere in the world.
Use of the data obtained under the project include:
- the development of offshore energy, with the mapping key to identifying suitable sites and cable routes for wind, wave and tidal generators.
- safer offshore navigation due to updated charts
- supports work being carried out under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, whereby Ireland has been successful in extended continental shelf submissions
- simulation of tides which is useful for the aquaculture and costal protection engineers
- production of maps on the nature of the seabed (whether mud, sand, rock or gravel) which is used in both environmental protection and more efficient fishing practices.
- provision of updates for the national shipwrecks database maintained by National Monuments Service and used by sport fishermen and divers.
Raymond Keary 1937-2003 RIP
Ray Keary was a respected and important employee of the Geological Survey of Ireland for over two decades, where he founded the Marine Geology programme having worked with NUIG for fifteen years prior to that. His influence in his chosen field of Marine Science was huge and his outstanding legacy is Ireland’s seabed mapping programme that he tirelessly lobbied for.
The Research Vessel KEARY
The RV Keary is a purpose built, aluminium catamaran designed for the survey of shallow waters, with a draft of only 1.7m. The 15 metre fully-equipped and state of the art hydrographic/geophysical launch will deliver survey data that will meet all required international specifications. Equipment includes a multi-beam echo sounder for imaging the seabed at cm scale resolution, GPS navigation, side-scan sonar for shipwreck identification, seabed profiler and Automatic Identification System. The vessel was delivered under contract by Irish company, IMAR Survey of Galway.
First ever imagery of newly discovered reefs on Rockall Bank, from a National Parks & Wildlife Service survey, collaborating with GSI & MI, and investigating features identified from the national mapping programme. Pictures taken from RV Celtic Explorer.
Further information and images available from:
Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
Or Koen Verbruggen, GSI Tel 087 2042974
For Seabed10 Conference details see http://www.infomar.ie/
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Page Type: Web page
Minister of State at the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Seán Power, today set out detail of upcoming projects in the National Marine Mapping Programme (INFOMAR), and pledged Government commitment to the continuation of "the most valuable resource for marine research in Ireland and beyond."
Published: 30 Dec 2008
Page Type: Press Release
A survey of Galway Bay’s seabed onboard the RV Celtic Voyager this summer has revealed, for the first time, the detailed seafloor and geology of the bay.
Published: 13 Sep 2007
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The INFOMAR marine survey partnership between the Marine Institute and the Geological Survey of Ireland charts Galway Bay.
Published: 10 Jul 2007
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New discoveries on the latest leg of the INFOMAR seafloor survey by Geological Survey of Ireland and Marine Institute include a major glacial moraine and a large trench just 300-400 metres off the Dingle coast.
Published: 11 Jun 2007
Page Type: Press Release
John Browne, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, and 75 local primary school children visited the RV Celtic Explorer during an INFOMAR port call today (27/04/07) in Rosslare. Speaking onboard the RV Celtic Explorer, the Minister stressed the need for accurate information on Ireland’s largest natural resource and the added value that such information could bring to planning, navigation, and sustainable resource management.
Published: 27 Apr 2007
Page Type: Press Release