The CHERISH project (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) – ‘Climate Change and Coastal Heritage’ was officially launched by Minister of State Seán Kyne on Thursday, 23 March in the Irish Light Headquarters in Dun Laoghaire. The Cherish Project is an exciting new 5.2 million 5 year project funded by the European Union’s Ireland-Wales Programme. The project will support specialist organisations in Wales and Ireland to employ cutting-edge technologies to analyse coastal and island archaeology and heritage sites most affected by climate change, coastal erosion, storminess and rising sea levels. Hydrography, geology, archaeology, built and maritime heritage, remote sensing and environmental science will all be employed in this research.
The Discovery Programme: Centre for archaeology and Innovation Ireland will collaborate with The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (Project Lead), Aberystwyth University: Department of Geography and Earth Sciences and Geological Survey, Ireland on this project as well as communities in counties Meath, Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Kerry. Some of the tourism and heritage sites under study in Ireland are the Saltee Islands (Wexford), Glascarrig Motte (Co. Wexford), Skellig Michael (Co. Kerry) and the Skerries Islands (Co. Dublin).
Traditional survey techniques will be used to record sites at risk, alongside the newest technologies in laser scanning, bathymetry, 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 increase cross-border knowledge and understanding of the impacts (past, present and near-future) of climate change, storminess and extreme weather events on the cultural heritage of reefs, islands and headlands of the Irish Sea. The operation will target data and manage knowledge gaps, employing innovative techniques to discover, assess, map and monitor heritage assets on land and beneath the sea.