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The Irish Sea: History, Culture, Environment

The Irish Sea Symposium took place in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland in September 2014. The Humanities Institute was one of the sponsors of the event along with the UCD Earth Institute and the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium. 6 podcasts were recorded at the symposium and these are available below, on Soundcloud and on iTunes. The podcasts include Richard Nairn's keynote lecture, 3 panels featuring 10 lectures in total and the outcomes of 3 workshop sessions.

About: What does the Irish Sea contribute to the lives of the people who inhabit its shores? How does the sea benefit those communities economically and socially? What role does the Irish Sea play in defining our communities politically and culturally? How do the people who live on its coastlines use, exploit, and imagine the Irish Sea? How do we engage with the Irish Sea as a living ecosystem, or as a means of transportation, or as a distinctive sea-space with its own histories and its own nature? How can we do so without damaging the ability of future generations to live safely and fruitfully on its shores?

The Irish Sea: History, Culture, Environment was organised by University College Dublin and the National Maritime Museum of Ireland to address these questions about the sea which Ireland shares with Wales, the Isle of Man, England, and Scotland. The symposium brought together a range of academics and independent researchers from the sciences and the humanities to present the findings of their research, and to discuss with scholars and a public audience the values, meanings, and histories of the Irish Sea. The symposium concluded with a workshop about the possibilities and opportunities for future interdisciplinary research on the Irish Sea.

Organisers: Professor John Brannigan (UCD School of English, Drama and Film); Dr Tasman Crowe (UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science); Richard McCormick (National Maritime Museum Library and Archive).

The symposium was sponsored by the UCD Earth Institute, UCD Humanities Institute, and the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Consortium, and the event was hosted by the National Maritime Museum of Ireland. The podcasts were recorded by Real Smart Media for the UCD Humanities Institute. Sound was by Dara Traynor.

Keynote lecture: Richard Nairn (Natura Consultants) - Nature of the Irish Sea Coast.

Introduction to the Irish Sea Symposium by Dr Tasman Crowe (UCD) and Professor John Brannigan (UCD).

Panel 1: The Material Uses and Histories of the Irish Sea.

  • Jim MacLaughlin 'The Irish Sea and the Atlantic Seaboard in Historical Context: a tale of two seas'.
  • Joe Varley read a paper by Maighread Ni Mhurchadha entitled 'The Irish Revenue Boatmen, 1684-1765'
  • Michael Keatinge (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) 'The Economic Value of Fisheries in the Irish Sea'.
  • The panel was chaired by Richard McCormick (National Maritime Museum Library and Archive).

Panel 2: The Natures and Histories of the Irish Sea.

  • Andrew Gibson (Royal Holloway, University of London) 'History and Geology in Norman Nicholson's Poetry of the Cumbrian Coast, 1948-1954'.
  • Jan Hiddink (Bangor University) 'The Effect of Fisheries and other Stressors on the Sea-bed Ecosystem in the Irish Sea'
  • David Brett 'The Irish Sea: History without Nations'
  • Ian Lawler (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) 'The Irish Sea Through Commerce and War - A window on History and Technology'.
  • The panel was chaired by Dr Tasman Crowe (UCD).

Panel 3: The Cultural Meanings and Values of the Irish Sea.

  • John Mack (University of East Anglia) ''Frogs around a Pond'? The Irish Sea as Local and as Global'.
  • Cormac Lowth 'Maritime Art from the Pre-Photographic Era'
  • Marcus Collier (UCD) 'Marine Cultural Ecosystem Services'.
  • The panel was chaired by Professor John Brannigan (UCD).

Outcomes and closing remarks.