The CHERISH project was officially launched yesterday morning by Minister of State Seán Kyne in the Commissioners of Irish Lights Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire.
The intriguing new 5-year project is funded by the European Union’s Ireland-Wales Programme with the CHERISH name derived from the focus of this joint effort – climate, heritage and environments of reefs, islands and headlands.
With so much of our significant coastal areas unexplored and inadequately mapped, climate change is creating an imperative to better understand these places and what we learn from this project will improve our understanding of the past and could very well help us prepare for the future.
The project will support a number of specialist organisations in Ireland and Wales to employ cutting-edge technologies to analyse coastal and island archaeology and heritage sites most affected by climate change, coastal erosion and rising sea levels.
The project will focus on a number of important coastal heritages sites around Ireland and Wales. Among some of the tourism and heritage sites included in Ireland are the Saltee Islands and Glascarrig Motte in Wexford, Skellig Michael and the Skerries Islands, Dublin.
A big emphasis is set to be placed on community involvement. The research teams will work with the communities around these significant areas to care and monitor their condition.
Traditional survey techniques will be used to record sites at risk, alongside the newest technologies in laser scanning, marine mapping, drone and geophysics to record at-risk sites for the duration of the project.
Monitoring surveys will be undertaken on shipwrecks, built heritage and eroding coastline. Archaeological excavations will be undertaken on known or newly discovered sites and environmental studies will give us a better understanding of these sites.
CHERISH will also support future strategies for climate change by providing a deeper understanding of longer-term changes to Wales and Ireland’s heritage and coastal environments which attract thousands of visitors each year.
“This project is an excellent example of how new technologies can be used to address emerging issues such as climate change and its impact on our shared heritage and marine environment”, Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.”
With our understanding of climate change increasing all the time, this is going to be a fascinating project to follow over the next five years.