The Coastal Atlas of Ireland is a celebration of Ireland's coastal and marine spaces. Drawing on written contributions from over 100 authors from across the island of Ireland and beyond, the atlas takes an explicitly all-island approach; though the work has a much wider relevance and potential reader interest.
It is organised into six sections, comprising a total of 33 chapters, that take the reader from the distant geological past, by way of the prehistoric era and a focus on the island's physical environments, through time and the human colonisation of Ireland, to the complex cultural and economic landscapes of the near past and the present day. It concludes with an assessment of the importance of coastal and marine environments in understanding the island's past, appreciating the present, and contemplating future opportunities and challenges.
Although not claiming to be encyclopaedic, when read in its entirety, the atlas will provide readers with a fascinating and comprehensive excursion through time and space along Ireland's coastline. The atlas is equally suited to being read in progression or, if preferred, can be dipped into and navigated according to the specific interests of the reader. Within each chapter, in addition to the core text, a series of featured subjects and case studies provide greater-depth explorations of particular topics or examples related to the central theme. In addition, the maps, photos and other illustrations that accompany the text have been provided with self-contained captions that may also be browsed before a more immersive reading is undertaken.
Ireland has often emerged as a global leader in its many engagements with the sea, including in marine and coastal science, the pursuit of a 'blue' (and green) economy, the championing of conservation goals, and in the development of sustainable marine renewable-energy resources. In the middle of the current "UN Decade for Ocean Science"(UNESCO), The Coastal Atlas of Ireland celebrates these achievements, while pointing the way for future research and explorations that build on these foundations. The complex of physical and human themes developed in this atlas has international relevance for coastal communities worldwide, and especially those located in mid-latitudes. Nowhere else in the world has such an all-embracing and multifaceted exploration of a nation's, or an island's, coast been undertaken.
Robert Devoy is Professor of Geography (emeritus), University College Cork (UCC). Val Cummins is a company director for Simply Blue Energy, working with the oceans, to play a part in the global food, climate and energy crisis. Barry Brunt is a former Head of Department and lecturer in the Department of Geography, UCC. Darius Bartlett is a research associate and retired lecturer in the Department of Geography, UCC. Sarah Kandrot is an expert in the use of geoinformatics technologies for coastal and marine applications.
"The Coastal Atlas of Ireland is the definitive examination of Ireland's unique relationship to the sea. A rare combination of the historical and the natural, the book is as comprehensive as it is beautiful and accessible."
– Graham Norton, writer and broadcaster
"This Atlas is a rare and extraordinary fusion of land and seascapes, scientific inquiry and artistic talent, a view of the Irish coastline as you have never seen it before. It filled this exile with gratitude-for the coast itself and for the makers of this exemplary work."
– Fergal Keane, BBC
"In celebrating Ireland's coastal and maritime spaces, The Coastal Atlas of Ireland also establishes a firm basis for exploring their potential within developing futures. I particularly enjoyed the evidencing of these spaces and the supportive case studies depicting the strength of relationships of its coastal spaces with Ireland's social, economic, and environmental well-being across time and space."
– Roger Street, Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford