Photo Credit: Keith Currams

Réalt na Mara National School takes part with Coastwatch Europe in citizen led transfer of knowledge 

Portalis recently held our first citizen science workshop for the project to date at Booley Bay in County Wexford, a key coastal visitor destination heritage and biodiversity site. School children from Réalt na Mara National School, Dunmore East joined Coastwatch Europe and Trinity College Dublin students where they were treated to an active day learning about how to protect their natural and cultural coastal heritage and its natural habitats and wildlife. 

Comeragh Coaches facilitated transport to the venue where they were introduced by the Portalis Film  Supervisor Dr. Moira Sweeney to our Coastwatch experts. Coastwatch facilitated a guided workshop about  the unique biodiversity features of the Waterford Estuary and particularly the Honeycomb Reef features at Booley Bay.  

Exploring local sea life 

Classes divided into two to survey the outgoing tide and returned afterwards with their findings. Following lunch, the two groups set out to explore the local sea life and seashells present in the area, and learned about stream quality and freshwater ecology. 

All groups gathered for the final activity of the day to investigate the best honeycomb outcrops and to carry out some more detailed reef exploration and measure work around low tide. This completed the day, with the school returning to Dunmore East while Coastwatch and the Portalis film crew, working with Nemeton TV, filming the event, continued onto Hook Head lighthouse to capture some unique footage of this spectacular heritage site to include in the Portalis film documentary and film archive. 

The workshop series is a key part of Portalis’ core project aim of working with local communities to protect their natural and cultural coastal heritage by facilitating citizen led transfer of knowledge on heritage conservation. 

It is essential that our natural and cultural coastal heritage sites are protected, Portalis supports this through engagement with our local communities working together through a unique citizen led transfer of knowledge”, said Joy Rooney, Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for the Portalis project, and Researcher and Lecturer in Design, (SETU). 

Portalis would like to thank Cllr. Donal Barry and Cllr. Jody Power for supporting this event, along with Cllr. Jim Griffin, Cllr. Pat Fitzgerald, and Cllr. Eddie Mulligan for their efforts on the wider project.   

Seeking solutions to shared challenges 

The overall aims of the Portalis project are to protect cultural and natural coastal heritage, promote understanding of climate change adaptation, grow cross-border community networks, and support a sustainable increase in visitors to coastal communities. 

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