IEHN - News Listings
15 March, 2012, Irish Pollen Database Online
The Irish Pollen Database (IPOL) is a collection of metadata of Irish Quaternary pollen sites. The database currently contains information on 472 sediment-based records. It is organised into a table with particulars on the location, chronology and a publication reference for each site. Site locations can also be viewed in Google Earth. The database is also available for downloading in spreadsheet and Access formats as well as site markers for display in Google Earth. While IPOL does not hold pollen data (these may be available from the European Pollen Database or Neotoma) it represents a significant depositor of vital metadata previosuly widely dispered and often difficult to access. The database thus informs the proper usage of the rich body of pollen analyses available for Ireland. The IPOL grew out of IPAL, the Irish Palaeoecological Data Synthesis and Analysis Project instigated by Professor Fraser Mitchell, Trinity College Dublin and funded through a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship. The postdoctoral fellow, Rob Marchant, collected the initial site records in 2000, whilst the database has since been updated by Dr. Bettina Stefanini, the current curator and webmaster (who may be contacted at email@example.com).
15 May, 2011, New Masters in Public History and Cultural Heritage
The School of Histories and Humanities in Trinity College Dublin are offering a new Masters programme beginning September 2011 in Public History and Cultural Heritage. The programme has been designed to give students a thorough grounding in public history and to provide them with a unique preparation for the management of cultural heritage. ‘Public history’ and ‘cultural heritage’ are broadly defined. The programme will involve the study of cultural memory, its construction, reception and loss, and of the public status of history in modern society. It will examine the political issues surrounding public commemoration and ‘sites of memory’; the role of museums, archives, galleries and the media in shaping public perceptions of the past. And it will survey the more concrete questions involved in the conservation, presentation and communication of the physical heritage of past cultures, particularly where interpretation and meaning are contested. Much of the programme will be team-taught with professionals from partnering cultural institutions. Each student will participate in a practical internship. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 22 June, 2011. For full details on how to apply, click here, or click the programme poster to see a larger image.
28 April, 2011, Botany in Trinity College Celebrates its Tercentenary
This year the Department of Botany is celebrating its Tercentenary. "It all started with Henry Nicholson who was appointed as a lecturer in Botany in 1711. He gave his first lecture to a class of Medical students on 16 August 1711 and botanical teaching and research has remained a core activity within the College since then." To celebrate the Tercentenary, the Department has created a dedicated webpage featuring interesting information on the origins and development of the discipline of Botany in Trinity College, as well as highlighting the relevance and importance of the discipline in confronting the many global challenges facing society today. As part of the celebrations, the Department has also organised a diverse range of events, including concerts, walks, dinners, the opening a Physic (medicinal) Garden (jointly with the Schools of Chemistry and Medicine) and a range of talks and podcasts.
31 March, 2011, News from the National Biodiversity Data Centre
The National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford, has recently launched the first comprehensive inventory of Ireland's biodiversity in a report entitled: State of Knowledge, Ireland’s Biodiversity 2010, with a dedicated website. "Ireland’s biodiversity, our natural capital, is the foundation upon which our agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sector depends and is vital for sustaining the societal services we often take for granted such as clean water, productive soil and clean air. The National Biodiversity Data Centre has a comprehensive data management system which to date has brought together 60 national databases, comprising of 1.6 million records of over 10,000 species, spanning a period of 200 years. Despite these extensive records no full inventory or assessment of the state of knowledge on Ireland’s biodiversity resources has ever been completed."
The Centre has also launched a new Atlas of Irish Mammals Survey which aims to map the distribution of all mammals found in Ireland and its territorial waters between now and 2015. The survey will pull "together data from existing recording initiatives and datasets to provide an overview of the current and historic distribution of Irish mammals. One of the primary aims of the initiative is to encourage recording of the commoner Irish mammals, so that a comprehensive picture of their distribution is achieved". The Survey also has a dedicated website which is well worth visiting. The Centre is an initiative of the Heritage Council of Ireland.
24 February, 2011, EPA Ireland's YouTube Channel
The Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland, has in the past nine months established a YouTube Channel. The site is well worth a visit and makes available many video recordings of the EPA's highly regarded, and ongoing, Climate Change Lecture Series. Featured videos include Professor Hans Joosten's lecture "For Peat's Sake - Bogs and Climate Change" (from October 2009), Mr. Michael Zammit Cutajar's lecture "Gain v Pain - Political and Economic Consequences and Options" (relating to climate change, from March 2008), Professor Wilfried Haelberli's lecture "Glacial Warning - The Climate Change Canary?" (from October 2008), and Mrs. Mary Robinson's lecture "Reshaping the Debate on Climate Change" (from December 2010). The site also features many short documentaries on various topics, including areas of Irish biodiversity importance, including bogs and woodlands. See the site here.
3 February, 2011, Biodiversity.ie - Ireland's Premier Biodiversity Watch Website
A site of potential interest to many members of the IEHN is www.biology.ie. This was founded in August 2005 as an interactive tool for the collection of phenological observations across the island of Ireland. The site and its use of technology has developed considerably through time, now with integrated Google mapping. "The primary aim of Biology.ie is to increase biodiversity awareness by allowing users keep an online map and nature notes... Regular use allows a user to build up an informative wildlife map of their areas of interest" through the excellent My Sightings feature. "One of the keys to the success of Biology.ie is the number of people that Bookmark it and return at regular intervals to 'look in' or add new sightings. The number of users is not dramatically high, but the percentage of return users is over 80%." The site has therefore garnered "a consistent and dedicated user base, something that is of more benefit to the collection of sightings than a high number of new hits." Amongst other projects ongoing on the Biology.ie website is the Road Kill Survey which uses the same mapping technology as the My Sightings feature. The survey is organised in collaboration with the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and contributes to Ireland's conservation responsibilities under National and European law. "Road kill may be a significant cause of mortality for some animals. In certain species (e.g. the Otter) the loss of only a handful of individuals is likely to have a significant impact on local population dynamics... The data collected by the survey will be used to help inform strategies to protect these animals." See also the Biology.ie sister site, www.naturescalendarireland.com.
26 September, 2010, Launch of the Digital Literary Atlas of Ireland, 1929-1949.
The Digital Literary Atlas of Ireland provides literary, historical and cartographic perspectives on Ireland from 1922 to 1949 drawn from the works of fourteen Irish writers, including Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O'Brien, Molly Keane, Kate O'Brien and Samuel Beckett.
The Atlas is hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin, and provides interactive mapping and timeline features for academics and the public at large interested in the intersection of Irish literary culture, history and geography.
The Atlas was developed by Dr. Charles Travis and marks the culmination of his Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Digital Humanities with the Trinity Long Room Hub, and was launched at the Fifth Meeting of the Irish Environmental History Network, 22 September, 2010.
24 September 2010, Opening of the Rachel Carson Center (RCC) for Environment and Society
The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society held its opening 1 July, 2010, in the Residenz München, Germany. The Center's mission is to promote global, interdisciplinary research on environmental studies. Rachel Carson, after whom the Center is named, was an American biologist whose book, Silent Spring, detailed the hazards of DDT. She is often credited with starting the modern environmental movement in the United States. Carson’s work sparked the creation of academic programs in environmental history and environmental studies, and the combination of Carson's prose style with scientific fact had a wide-reaching impact across academic disciplines. The Center's association with the name of Rachel Carson suggests both the Center's origin and the direction it wishes to take in the future. The Rachel Carson Center takes an international approach to research and strives to transcend disciplinary limitations. The diverse research projects at the Center are nonetheless linked by their common recognition of nature as a cultural challenge. Speaking at the launch, Prof. Christof Mauch, Director of the RCC, emphasised that a priority of the work at the RCC is to interact with the broader world, “to make sure our work doesn't just stay on our desks.” Read a full report on the RCC opening.
23 August 2010, Deluge: Weather disasters in Ireland, 2009-2010
We are very happy to give advance notice of a fortcoming publication by IEHN member, Kieran R. Hickey, who lectures in geography at NUI Galway. The book will be published by Four Courts Press in October 2010, and is entitled "Deluge: Weather disasters in Ireland, 2009-2010". A brief description can be found below.
During the twelve-month period from the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2010, Ireland experienced a remarkable sequence of weather disasters not seen for a generation or more. The wet summers of 2007/2008 were followed by a record-breaking wet summer in 2009. The following November was the wettest month in over 200 years in many parts of the country, and torrential rain led to severe flooding, especially in the west. Vast tracts of countryside and numerous villages and towns were inundated, including many new housing estates. In some places, the floods lasted until February 2010. This coincided with one of the most severe and persistent cold spells ever recorded in Ireland, with temperatures dropping below -15°C in certain areas. There were thousands of falls and injuries, and many road-traffic accidents and further domestic flooding caused by burst pipes. Salt and grit ran out, energy-consumption soared and schools were shut down. When the snow and ice melted, it re-flooded areas that had only recently dried out from the previous deluges. This book explains these events, the rarity of the occurrences and their dramatic impacts. Consideration is also given to the role of planning process, the management of waterways and especially the major dams, the role of local authorities, the response of central government and the legal situation regarding clean-up procedures. The book also covers the meteorite fall of early February 2010, the Co. Clare earthquake of 6 May and the Icelandic volcano eruption that caused such extensive travel chaos across much of Europe throughout the spring and summer of 2010.
Kieran's main research interests are climate change, storms, hurricanes, weather disasters and the climate history of Ireland. He is the author of Five minutes to midnight? Ireland and climate change (2008). He is currently preparing a book on the natural and cultural history of wolves in Ireland (2011).
19 August 2010, Where are the big fish? By Poul Holm
We're happy to publish Prof. Poul Holm's short article "Where are the big fish?" as the first of our short Research Highlights. The article appears here for the first time in English, and outlines some of the most striking discoveries of the global History of Marine Animal Populations project, of which Prof. Holm is Chair. The article originally appeared in Chinese, in Chinese Social Sciences Today (April 22, 2010), hosted by the China National Social Sciences Academy, Beijing.
The problem of the ocean is that we don't see what's beneath the surface. On the land we can see environmental change with our own eyes. That is why fishermen's own records deserve attention... The story boils down to one single figure: we have reduced the total abundance of large fish – not just sharks but cod, tuna and all other major commercial species – by 90 per cent in the last 150 years... Skippers' logbooks are a clear indication of the scale of change. In 1874 the British fisheries observer Edmund Holdsworth noted the first indication of change: ‘It has been observed that when any newly-discovered cod-bank is first worked some fish of remarkable size are pretty sure to be caught. … But monster-cod five or six feet in length [152-183 cm], as were at first frequently reported, are now very seldom met with.' Read more.
23 July 2010, Irish Environmental History Network Video
At a meeting held in Trinity College, Dublin, October 2009, to discuss the establishment of the IEHN, the opportunity was taken to make a short film of some of the attendees discussing their views on the potential of the IEHN and the directions it might take in immediate future and longer term. We thank the brave participants who agreed to be filmed: Prof. Poul Holm and Dr. Juliana Adelman of Trinity College, Dublin, Prof. Chris Smout of the University of St. Andrews, and Prof. Richard Oram of the University of Stirling. The film can be viewed below, and also on Youtube, here. Our thanks to Dr. Cecilia Mcallister for her work on filming and production.
22 July 2010, Major Update to National Monuments Database
The National Monuments Database, hosted at www.archaeology.ie, has received a major update with the most recent data sets of the Archaeological Survey of Ireland (see the ASI website here). There are now almost 55,000 summary descriptions available on this site of archaeological sites and other monuments across the Republic of Ireland, and these can can be located with the useful map-based interface (available here, and see image to the right). More updates are on the way in 2010 and 2011.
21 July 2010, A New Social and Cultural History of Irish Fisheries
The most recent book by Dr. Jim Mac Laughlin of University College Cork, Troubled Waters: A Social and Cultural History of Ireland's Sea Fisheries, has been published as of 9 July by Four Courts Press. The book is described as a comprehensive study of the history of sea fishing in Ireland. It charts the evolution of fisheries from the earliest times, and discusses the historical importance of the coastal economy to the country's maritime communities. Troubled Waters demonstrates the significant roles played by inshore and deep-sea fishing in the evolution of modern Irish society. Topics examined include the archaeology of Irish fishing; cultural representations of coastal workers in Irish art and literature; the internationalisation of Irish waters in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; the organisation of fish shambles and markets in coastal Ireland; the social world and working lives of Irish fishing communities; and the ‘crowded shoreline' of nineteenth-century Ireland. More information about the book can be found here.
19 July 2010, Extreme Weather, Climate and Natural Disasters in Ireland
The synthesis report of the "Extreme Weather, Climate and Natural Disasters in Ireland" project, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Research Programme is now available to download in pdf format from the EPA website, here, and has been receiving attention from the media (see here). The aim of the project was to collate historical, proxy and observational records, and analyse the information within these sources to reconstruct and examine the historical incidence of weather extremes and natural disasters, in order to give insight into the variability of the Irish climate and the impact of extremes on society. The study incorporated an exploratory analysis of extremes recorded in the Irish Annals from the fifth to the seventeenth centuries as well as local and regional proxy data (e.g. tree rings and ice-core data).
25 May 2010, Poul Holm speaks about HMAP at IGNITE
Prof. Poul Holm's concise introduction to some of the main implications of the results of the History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) project, presented at the Trinity College Science Gallery, Ignite sessions, April 23, 2010, is available to view below, and also on YouTube at this link. Prof. Holm is Academic Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, and has been involved with the HMAP project from its inception. HMAP is an international, interdisciplinary research programme (website here), the goal of which is to elucidate long-term change in the diversity, distribution and abundance of ocean life. The ultimate intention of the project is to allow a comprehensive understanding of the interaction of humanity and the marine environment through time, and inform us about the current health of the marine environment, providing the insights required to assess the future sustainability of marine animal populations.
25 March 2010, Call for Applications for Funded Ph.D. in Irish Marine Environmental History
Prof. Poul Holm (Academic Director, Trinity Long Room Hub and Professor of Marine Environmental History) and Dr. Mark Hennessy (Dept. of Geography, Trinity College Dublin) are the PIs for a research project on fisheries in medieval and early modern Ireland.
They have made a call for applications for a Ph.D. bursary to carry out the research outlined below.
The bursary is 16,000 euro per year for four years with start-up costs and research support.
For details and a link to the online application form please see here.
Project Title: "Irish fisheries of the medieval and early modern period: scale and causes of decline".
Project Description: This study will be based on two lines of inquiry and inform at least two disciplinary interests, history and geography. A study of the decline of the Irish fishing industry may provide a striking historical illustration of economic path-dependency. Likewise it will inform geographical understanding of population settlement around the Irish coast. It will provide a backdrop to our understanding of marine resources today. The disaster of the hunger years from 1846 showed that the Irish economy was unsustainably based on agricultural produce, mainly the potato. At the same time observers were fully aware of the potential of the sea to provide an additional food source and the fishing industry had been well-developed in the medieval and early-modern period. What locked Ireland into a disastrous economic neglect of the sea? Was this unique to Ireland or was the under-development of the sea fisheries part of a wider European pattern?
2 February 2010, Audit of Research Activity in Irish Environmental History
As part of work towards establishment of the Irish Environmental History Network, an audit of researchers in the major Irish research institutions was conducted, utilising online profiles provided by each institution, in late 2009. Its remit was the identification of researchers with interests in Irish environmental history or related disciplines, whether explicitly stated in their research interests, or clearly implicit in their disciplinary focus or publications record. The audit clearly highlights the diversity of work being undertaken by researchers relating to the concerns of Irish environmental history, and shows the viability and utility of a network in providing a point of contact for those engaged in this work. The results of this audit are now available online here, and can be downloaded in pdf format here.