The exhibition was launched by the Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Lettie McCarthy. The event was addressed by project partners, Mr Tom Dowling, Chairperson, Board of the Directors, the Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innovation Ireland, and Mr Sean Cullen, Head of the Marine and Coastal Unit, Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. A selection of images from the project have been reproduced and will be on display in Moran Park, providing a back drop for the launch. With thanks also to The Irish Times who sent on a video of the exhibition which you can view here.
In light of the recent IPCC report, outlining the irrefutable evidence that climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying, this is a timely exhibition. It aims to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on the rich cultural heritage of Ireland’s coasts and seas. These impacts include erosion and loss of coastal sites due to wave actions during storms and the acceleration of structural damage to built heritage such as churches and castles through increased rainfall. Hotter, drier summers can produce cropmarks that allow the discovery of new archaeological sites, as was the case in 2019 when Dronehengei was discovered. However, hotter conditions can also lead to the drying out of cliff faces increasing the risk of destabilisation and collapse affecting coastal heritage sites.
CHERISH is a team of archaeologists, geologists and geographers studying the effects of climate change on coastal and maritime heritage in Ireland and Wales. From the skies, at the coast edge, and beneath the waves, we are using the latest technologies including planes, drones and radar to carry out research. We are monitoring recent and long-term change to reveal the past and present impacts of weather and climate on our rich cultural heritage. Our work involves investigating archaeological sites and environments around our coasts including shipwrecks, promontory forts, wetlands and sand dunes.
When Professor John Sweeney, Emeritus Professor of the Department of Geography, Maynooth University, addressed the CHERISH online conference in May this year, he said that “We have to get as much valuable information as we can from these [sites] before they disappear. We need to protect heritage information on where we came from and how we got there, for future generations”.
You can view the exhibition on several panels outside at Moran Park, and on Level 3 in dlr LexIcon during the Library Opening Hours.