INFOMAR releases three new high-resolution maps showcasing the Kerry coastline in remarkable detail
See the Kerry Coast, from Tralee Bay to the Skellig Islands, in unprecedented detail thanks to a new series of Maps that have been developed by INFOMAR. From The Blasket Islands to Ballinskelligs Bay, from Tearaght Island to Ventry Harbour & Kenmare Bay, these new high-resolution maps highlight the unique & intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves.
INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) has launched the Blue Scale Map Series; a collection of 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps of Ireland’s coastal waters. Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, the maps highlight the topography of the coast in remarkable detail.
In 2006, the INFOMAR programme was established and is currently one of the world’s largest and leading seabed mapping programmes. Funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, INFOMAR is a joint venture by the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute and aims to map Ireland’s seabed and deliver a comprehensive baseline bathymetry dataset to underpin the future management of Ireland’s marine resource.
Ireland’s coastline is approximately 3,171km in length and boasts some of the most unique & dynamic marine environments in Europe. The Blue Scale Map Series is the culmination of over a decade of work. Each week, INFOMAR will be releasing a new map of a different section of the Irish coastline.
The latest in the series are the Blue Scale bathymetric maps of Tralee Bay, The Iveragh Peninsula & The Dingle Peninsula. The three maps, released on a weekly basis each Friday for the next three weeks, reveal the brilliant marine geology & unique seafloor across the Kerry coastline.
The first of the Kingdom maps is the Bluescale bathymetric Map of Tralee Bay.
Mapping of the region commenced in May 2004 on board the RV Celtic Explorer west of Kerry Head and continued in September of that year where INFOMAR surveyed a total area of 3,500km2. Between 2005 – 2007, the INFOMAR team continued surveying deeper waters to the west of the County.
In 2009, the RV Celtic Voyager conducted the first high-resolution multibeam survey of Dingle Bay, mapping a total area of 867km2 from the Inner Bay to Valenica Island & Ballinkselligs Bay. This also included a high resolution survey of the SS Manchester Merchant shipwreck, a British Cargo Steamship sunk in January 1908 and lies at a depth of 11.3m approximately 4.5km WNW of Rosbehy Point. The wreck has been re-surveyed numerous times since by the RV Keary, revealing incredible detail in the structure of the vessel (inlcuding individual boilers) and makes just one of 506 shipwrecks mapped in Irish waters by INFOMAR. By surveying the wreck multiple times over the years, changes in its condition due to storm damage can be assessed.
Mapping of the Kerry coastline has continued in earnest since then, primarily on INFOMAR’s inshore fleet on board the RV’s Keary, Cosantóir Bradán, Geo, Lir & Mallet. The RV Keary also surveyed the area surround the Skellig Islands in 2021, revealing a stunning submarine landscape beneath the UNESCO world heritage site.
Friday 1st September: The Iveragh Peninsula
The Iveragh Peninsula is the largest peninsula in the south-west of Ireland. Valentia Island lies off the north-western tip of the peninsula & The Skellig Islands lie about 12 kilometres (7.5 statute miles or 6.4 nautical miles) off the west coast and are known for their monastic buildings and bird life.
The Iveragh Peninsula Special Protected Area (SPA) encompasses the high coast and sea cliff sections of the peninsula from just west of Rossbehy in the north, around to the end of the peninsula at Valencia Island and Bolus Head, and as far east as Lamb’s Head in the south. The site includes the sea cliffs, the land adjacent to the cliff edge and also areas of sand dunes at Derrynane and Beginish. The SPA is underlain by Devonian sandstones, siltstones and mudstones. A small area of igneous rocks (dolerite and gabbro) occurs at Beginish and on the adjacent shore.
Extensive sea floor bedrock outcrops south west of The Iveragh Peninsula & surrounds of The Skellig Islands
Friday 8th September: The Dingle Peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the major peninsulas in County Kerry. It ends beyond the town of Dingle at Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of Ireland. Situated on the north side of Dingle Bay, Dingle Harbour is a large natural harbour with a busy fishing port and the principal market town of the Dingle Peninsula. The landlocked inlet is entered between Reenbeg Point and Beenbane Point and, at high water; it presents a magnificent basin, surrounded by lofty hills.
The peninsula exists because of the band of sandstone rock that forms the Slieve Mish mountain range at the neck of the peninsula, in the east, and the Brandon Group of mountains, and the Mountains of the Central Dingle Peninsula further to the west. Ireland's highest mountain outside MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Mount Brandon at 951 m, forms part of a high ridge with views over the peninsula and North Kerry.
A long striped rib of steeply north-dipping sandstones forms a prominent feature along the north coast of the peninsula. The northern edge of these rocks is sharply defined by a trough in the seabed just offshore, which is c. 40km long, 400m wide and 30m deep. The trough is a surface expression of the North Kerry Lineament, a crustal feature detected by geophysics that controlled development of the Dingle Basin. In contrast, the Dingle Bay Lineament to the south does not feature on the bathymetry because of blanketing by recent sediment.
Ireland’s new state of the art multi-purpose research vessel, the RV Tom Crean, (named after the legendary explorer from Annascaul) was commissioned at a special event in Dingle Harbour in October last year.
Preview of high resolution bathymetry data acquired on the southern flanks of The Dingle Peninsula
Since 2006, INFOMAR’s seabed mapping efforts have been instrumental in enhancing our understanding of Ireland's underwater landscape.
The Blue Scale Map series offers a new and unique way not only to showcase the mapping effort to date, but also to visualize and communicate complex scientific information to the wider public. As with all INFOMAR data, these high-resolution maps are available for free to download and have huge potential to communicate with local coastal communities and raise awareness on the importance of maintaining the health & integrity of our marine environment.
INFOMAR is making all 18 maps available for free to the public to download in high resolution JPEG format. Follow the journey each week as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website, and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.
Blue Scale Series release dates:
Friday 11th August: Galway Bay (Galway)
Friday 18th August: Loop Head (Clare)
Friday 25th August: Tralee Bay (Kerry)
Friday 1st September: The Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)
Friday 8th September: The Iveragh Peninsula (Kerry)
Friday 15th September: Bantry Bay (Cork)
Friday 22nd September: Mizen Head (Cork)
Friday 29th September: Roaringwater Bay (Cork)
Friday 6th October: Seven Heads (Cork)
Friday 13th October: Cork Harbour (Cork)
Friday 20th October: Youghal Bay (Cork/Waterford)
Friday 27th October: Tramore Bay (Waterford)
Friday 3rd November: Hook Head (Wexford)
Friday 10th November: Carnsore Point (Wexford)
Friday 17th November: Wicklow Head (Wicklow)
Friday 24th November: Dublin Bay (Dublin)
Friday 1st December: Donegal Bay (Donegal)
Friday 8th December: Aran Islands (Galway)
INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) is a twenty year programme to map the physical, chemical and biological features of Ireland’s seabed. INFOMAR is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), and delivered by joint management partners Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute. The programme has placed Ireland centre-stage as global leaders in marine stewardship, seabed mapping and development of marine resources.
The Marine Institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. It provides government, public agencies and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland's marine resources.
Founded in 1845, Geological Survey Ireland is Ireland's public earth science knowledge center and is a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. We are committed to providing free, open and accurate data and maps on Ireland's subsurface to landowners, the public, industry, and all other stakeholders, within Ireland and internationally. In addition, we act as a project partner in interpreting data and developing models and viewers to allow people to understand underground. We deal with a diverse array of topics including bedrock, groundwater, seabed mapping, natural disasters, and public health risks