The Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme recently introduced up to 300 primary school children from around the country to Ireland's marine heritage through a project called 'Our Ocean – Marine Legends, Fairy Tales and Folklore in Ireland'.
The project involved the use of art, storytelling and poetry to introduce the children to Ireland's rich maritime heritage and history, as well as researching their own local fables.
Leading up to Ireland's largest maritime festival SeaFest and the Our Ocean Wealth Summit Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute, welcomed the Explorers project where students and schools got the opportunity to join the conversation as an island nation of how we can engage with our ocean through local and national stories from the past and present.
"Through unique projects such as this, it has been incredible to see the Explorers Education Programme go from strength to strength over the last thirteen years, from where the Explorers outreach team have been supporting teachers introducing marine themes on the curriculum from science to the arts," said Dr Heffernan.
"Now reaching over 13,000 students around the country this year, the positive feedback from the teachers and their wider communities about student's eagerness to learn about the ocean, reinforces the importance of reaching out to primary schools to help build a stronger engagement with our oceans and marine science," Dr Heffernan further said.
"The stories the children encountered ranged from well-known classics including the Children of Lir, Oisin in Tír na nÓg, as well as local legends such as the story of how Galway got its name. In addition, the history of the Vikings and the lore of mythological creatures such as merrows and selkies were covered," explained Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Marine Institute and the Explorers Programme.
The children from junior infants to sixth class created artworks and poetry based on the stories, which reflected their enthusiasm and inspiration from Ireland's ancient marine tales.
"A common theme throughout the project highlighted how as an island nation, the ocean has a significant influence our lives through tragedy, inspiration, wellbeing and hope," said Ms Dromgool-Regan.
The 'Our Ocean – Marine Legends, Fairy Tales and Folklore in Ireland' art and poetry exhibition will feature a selection of the children's work at the Marine Institute's The Wild Atlantic Expo – What Lies Beneath? at SeaFest in Cork from the 7th to the 9th of June.
More information on the Explorers Programme can be found at www.explorers.ie. #OUROCEANFOLKLORE
For more images of the childrens artworks please click here - http://bit.ly/2ETFrAw