Following a 12 years survey of the offshore waters and coastal seas around Ireland, carried out by Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute, the Irish government has launched an illustrated book entitled “Warships, U-Boats & Liners - A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters”.
The coffee table book, 12 years in the making, features stunning shots of wrecks on the seabed including the Lusitania off the Cork coast and US army tanks on the seabed 17 miles off Donegal. Many of the 300 shipwrecks featured in the book where not know about before this survey. The book includes details on the background of the vessels, the loss of like alongside the photograph and sonar images.
Earlier this week the publication was launched by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD together with Fergus O'Dowd TD, Minister of State, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
The book is the result of collaboration between Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU), part of the National Monuments Service.
The GSI and Marine Institute INFOMAR project, and its predecessor the Irish National Seabed Survey, make up the largest civilian marine mapping programme worldwide.
According to Minister O'Dowd, the collaboration has "truly made Ireland a leader in this field of Endeavour."
During the same 12 years the UAU have built an extensive database of shipwrecks, Afloat magazine reports.
Minister Deenihan said “The current database holds over 13,000 wrecks and is an essential management tool for the preservation, protection and promotion of Ireland's rich maritime archaeological heritage."
O'Dowd, commented that "as an island nation we instinctively know that our seas are important, but perhaps we are not fully aware of the scale of this natural resource and heritage they hold".
He added that "over 80% of our national territory lies beneath our seas, and that many of the benefits that might be realised for the Country from this resource, are as yet undiscovered."
The ministers congratulated the authors, Karl Brady (UAU), Charise McKeon (GSI), James Lyttleton (UCC) and Ian Lawlor (BIM), of this publication and highlighted the book as an excellent example of two different government departments working together in partnership, bringing together expertise in archaeology and marine mapping to highlight Ireland's leading role in seabed mapping and protection and promotion of marine cultural heritage.