The second Portalis cross-border network development summit meeting at Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Ireland 

The summit included a visit to the Waterford Estuary by boat, facilitated by Hook or by Crooke Boat Tours , followed by a guided tour at Passage East by local historian Andrew Doherty   

Portalis hosted its second cross-border network development summit last week in Waterford, Ireland where local stakeholder representatives from key coastal communities came together for what was an important pilot project milestone. The representatives included a local stakeholder group from Ireland and a local stakeholder group from Wales, both created through the Portalis pilot project. 

Portalis explores connections between Ceredigion Bay, Wales and South-East Ireland during the Mesolithic period, or what used to be known as the Middle Stone Age.  It does this by using existing evidence and providing new data to create an exciting new cross-border narrative.  

The project also looks to support sustainably increasing visitor numbers via a new cross-border tourism network that engages and collaborates on common projects together, underpinning new blue and green economic growth. 

The summit, which involved Welsh local stakeholders travelling over to Ireland by ferry, was hosted by lead partner SETU and project partner Waterford Chamber of Commerce, where the group expanded further on ideas and opportunities to develop a cross-border tourism development network and pursue specific projects. 

Donal Nolan, Network Development Lead for Portalis, discussing the development of ideas from the meeting, said “one of the most positive things coming out of our summit event was the willingness of the project partners to find new cooperation ideas that will further build links between the regions”  

Representatives from the cross-border tourism group take a boat tour down the Waterford Estuary with By Hook or by Crooke Boat Tours. The business is a local stakeholder on the Portalis project. 

Following the meeting, the group took a boat tour of the Waterford Estuary with By Hook or by Crooke Boat Tours who gave a great insight into the history of the estuary, the wildlife in the area, and the developments taking place on the estuary. Following the tour, the group were greeted in Passage East by local historian, Andrew Doherty, who guided them around the area and highlighted amongst other stories the Fort at Passage, Spider Light, Geneva Barracks and the Croppy Boy, Woodstown weir, the Giants grave and the building of Dunmore East Pier. 

Joy Rooney, Portalis Senior Responsible Officer, Design Lead and Lecturer and Researcher in Design at South East Technological University (SETU) said, “We explore the earliest connections between Welsh and Irish coastal civilizations. This is mirrored by our citizen led multi-agency cross-border partnership now being forged by our contemporary coastal communities into a distinct cross-border network development group. We draw on shared coastal community resilience now in terms of opportunities – leading to sustainable blue and green economic growth and meeting climate change challenges ahead for our coastal communities”. 

Local historian Andrew Doherty gives a group tour on the Fort at Passage, Spider Light, Geneva Barracks, The Croppy Boy, Woodstown weir, the Giants grave and the building of Dunmore East Pier. 

The cross-border group will look to crystalize potential development projects to pursue as a group and also further strengthen its foundations so it will operate as an entity long after the Portalis project concludes. 

The Portalis project, €1.95m, is supported with €1.5m funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme, The project is led by South East Technological University, (SETU) and is supported by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Ceredigion County Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce.