Irish Inspiration (Ireland, Europe)
In a Nutshell
The Irish are known for their bravery and fearless spirit. From the ancient Irish clans and the Vikings to the Boston Tea Party, up until Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, human rights and climate justice champion and Ernest Shackleton, the famous polar explorer, when the Irish see a cause worth fighting for, they will not let anything stop them.
And boy, is there a good cause here: Ireland’s biodiversity is under threat. Like elsewhere in the world, biodiversity decline is depriving future generations of its value. If you are a planet guardian at heart, there couldn’t be a better inspiration than the experts that we will meet during this adventure. As to the battlefield for the fight for the planet we leave our children, well, it has never been so beautiful. The journey along the Wild Atlantic Way offers breathtaking landscapes which attract visitors from around the globe to Ireland, who seek connection with this beautiful, natural environment. As to what lies beneath the crashing waves, surging tides and tranquil coves- the unique and rich waters of southwest Ireland attract a diverse variety of marine life, introducing visitors from more tropical waters, who arrive via the Gulf Stream, Arctic visitors and the resident North Atlantic species.
Our goal on this adventure is as crystal clear as the waters of Skellig Coast- to increase awareness and knowledge of these pristine but threatened maritime ecosystems in order to secure their future. We will contribute to the valuable work being done by the local marine experts in their activity center. We will participate in their valuable research work, which is building a better understanding of the unique biodiversity in Irish waters. We will discover hands-on,this world renowned region of southwest County Kerry through the eyes of our guides and marine biologists. This area is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Skellig Michael- a crucial habitat for many migratory and indigenous bird species.
*This program does not require any prior qualifications or experience. Your attention and care are all that is needed.
Day 1, Sunday: Arrival Day: We will be picked up from Cork airport (ORK) or Cork city center and check into a beautiful, boutique hotel. After a nice rest from our trip we will take an early evening stroll around Cork, Ireland’s second largest city, which was founded in the seventh century. Today it is a bustling, lively city with a wealth of cultural life and a festive atmosphere.After our walk, a welcome dinner awaits us.
Day 2, Monday: The world famous Ring of Kerry is considered by many to be the most scenic area in Ireland. After a delicious Irish breakfast, a private motor coach will take us to Waterville. Our route takes us via the Ring of Kerry with spectacular views over Dingle Bay. Expect a fantastic contrast of sea ravaged coastline, sandy beaches, mountains and valleys along this jaw-droppingly scenic route. Upon arrival in Waterville, The group will be welcomed to Kerry with an introductory talk by our guide. On the knowledge- acquiring itinerary is: A Short-Ocean-Connections talk that will help us situate ourselves by connecting to us to the place. Next is a local biodiversity and heritage interactive talk and then the introduction of our week-ahead plan.
Day 3, Tuesday: Let the contributional work begin! After an introduction to Day research survey methods, we will discover the area firsthand with our guide, who will outline the primary objectives of the week: biodiversity research and exploring solutions to the ocean plastic crisis. Our first task will be to conduct a research survey on shoreline biodiversity. Results will be reported to the Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) . After that, we will head to a local inn for some tea & talk, followed by a beach walk. What’s for lunch? A sampling of Skellig Coast’s renowned seafood . A beach clean up and research survey on marine litter is next on today’s agenda. We will participate in the national marine litter project – whose aim is to understand and reduce the amount of local marine plastic waste,specifically related to the fishing industry. Open to the Atlantic, Dingle bay is a natural catchment for the copious, plastic waste that lands on these shores. We will join locals for the weekly community beach clean, which collects and records the ocean litter. The end game – to find circular economy solutions to ocean plastic. In the evening we will conduct a reflection and reporting session on the day’s findings.
Day 4, Wednesday: In the morning we will tour the Skellig Coast. We will conduct a beach clean and marine plastics survey at St. Finians Bay – which offers an iconic representation of life in the West. The group will learn about the impacts of ocean micro-plastic. We’ll be rewarded for our good work today with a visit to the local chocolate factory. Our next activity is a tour of a colourful Portmagee fishing village to learn about local fishing communities. Up next are our reflections and discussion about the challenges and solutions of the fishing industry. After lunch in Portmagee, we will embark on a guided, coastal walk and help build the database of marine mammals. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy a moderate walk to headland. We’ll wrap up the day’s work with data entry & reporting to NBDC & Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Traditional music in Waterville will help us close an awarding day.
Day 5, Thursday: We will start the day with some sea exploration – discovering the Upper Lakes region. We will assist the experts to monitor the watershed catchment of the Cummeragh river, with kick sampling techniques and macro-invertebrate research surveys. In the afternoon, the group will continue our journey to the ocean by kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP)along the Currane River. Later,we will conduct a research survey of the local grey and common seal populations, using telescope and binoculars from a nearby haul out site. We will learn about these animals from the guide and the seals’ behaviour in the area.
Day 6, Friday: All aboard! A two-three hour boat trip around the Bull Rock or Skelligs Islands will jump start our morning. We will help conduct a research survey for whales & dolphins. We will observe the environmental impacts of fishing litter on marine life and head to harbor to enjoy our packed lunch in Derrynane or Portmagee. After lunch, we’ll join the community group for our final beach clean. We will observe a different type of beach and the local effects of plastic pollution in the broader context of the national research project. ,In the afternoon, our team of experts will summarize the group’s research contribution to the existing biodiversity database. We will complete the week with a group presentation about our experience and new awareness of ocean plastic problems and possible solutions. An evening farewell dinner will conclude this part of the adventure.
Day 7, Saturday: Ring of Kerry, Killarney and Ennis: We will depart Waterville for Ennis, which is in County Clare. We will then complete the Ring of Kerry, traveling through Caherdaniel, Sneem and via Molls Gap into Killarney. Here we will visit Muckross House – a 19th century mansion which stands close to the shore of Muckross Lake and offers stunning views of Killarney National Park. We’ll end the tour at Ennis and check in to our boutique hotel.
Day 8, Sunday: Today we visit the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, which rise like a cathedral into the sky, some 214 meters over the wild Atlantic ocean. The Cliffs of Moher are a symbol of Ireland and are world-renowned for their beauty. The views from the Cliffs stretch as far as Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. The Burren is a desolate, starkly beautiful area of limestone rocks and hills, stretching 300 square kilometers south towards Galway Bay. in size. It is a place of unique interest to botanists, archaeologists and ecologists alike. We will then return to the hotel, enjoy some free time and dinner with traditional music in Ennis’ lively pubs.
Day 9, Monday: Goodbye Ennis, Hello Galway and Dublin. Come morning we will depart Ennis for Dublin making a stop en route in the city of Galway. We will have some free time to explore and eat lunch. Galway, with its narrow, medieval streets, historic buildings, buskers, colourful shop fronts and vibrant festivals, has a bohemian feel. Located on the west coast of Ireland, along the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is considered the cultural capital of Ireland. It is a UNESCO City of Film and was recently selected as 2020’s European Capital of Culture. After a short bus ride, we’ll arrive in Dublin and check into our lovely hotel.
Day 10, Tuesday: Last Day- Dublin Day! We will start with a tour of Dublin’s Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Current undergraduates of historic Trinity College will join us on this walking tour. Trinity College builds on its 400-year-old tradition of scholarship to solidify its position as one of the great universities of the world. It is the alma mater of many of Ireland’s great writers, including Swift andWilde. We will visit its library which houses 200,000 texts, marble busts of scholars and the oldest surviving harp in Ireland. The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels,created by Irish monks around the year 800 AC is a featured highlight. We will then continue to the National Museum of Ireland to see the most important prehistoric gold collection in Europe and the fascinating Bog Bodies, human remains from prehistory, preserved by the unique habitat of the Irish bogs*. A festive farewell dinner with Irish music and dance will mark the end of this inspirational adventure.
Day 11, Wednesday: Departure from Dublin International airport (DUB).
*Some free time to enjoy Dublin is also a valid option
- Location of the Project: Skellig Coast, Waterville, Ennis, Dublin(multiple locations)
- Project length: 11 days
- Arrival and departure Airport: Dublin International Airport (DUB) or Cork (ORK)*
- Number of Participants: This adventure requires a minimum of six participants.
- Family Option: This project accepts families with children as young as 9 years old.
- Contributional Work: Become a citizen scientist and make a positive impact on the environment! Learn from expert marine biologists and local educational guides, with a combined outdoor teaching experience of over 30 years. A mixture of land-based and marine research and education techniques will be used, inclusive of biodiversity surveys, marine mammal watches and coastal litter surveys. Discover meaningful ways of getting involved in local research that contribute to global science initiatives. Connect with the local community as you work alongside them, caring for this extraordinarily beautiful habitat.
- Accommodation: A comfortable, en-suite room in all locations.
- Food: See below in the “what’s included” section below
- Transportation: All inland travel, including airport transfers on arrival and departure days is included.
- Note: the Group’s pick up upon arrival will be in Cork city center/airport. Transfer is from there to the hotel. Upon return, transfer is from the hotel in Dublin to the Dublin’s international airport.
- Orientation: Participants will receive an orientation of the region upon arrival and an introduction to their chosen adventure in the second day.
- Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 emergency hotline, experienced local field team.
What else is Included
Breakfast each day, nine lunches, eight dinners, overland transfer from Dublin Airport to Cork, one night hotel accommodation in Cork, five nights hotel accommodation in Waterville, two nights hotel accommodation in Ennis and two nights hotel accommodation in Dublin, five-day outdoor service learning course with local experts, boat trips, water activities, heritage tours, a sustainable souvenir (weird to include this), seaweed discovery walk, certificate of participation. entrance fees as per program of activities and a fully-trained group leader to accompany the group throughout the adventure.
What’s Not Included
International travel, single supplement (price quoted is for twin share accommodations), alcoholic and/or soft drinks, meals not stated above, additional activities, and travel health insurance.
Adventure Departure Dates
- September 28th, 2019
Adventure Cost : $4,200 USD