Marine Institute attends Cuan Beo event reconnecting the land and sea

Students looking at crustacean larva on the screen at the Marine Institutes exhibit held at CuanBeo event in Clarenbridge. Photo courtesy of Andrew Downes, Xposure.Cuan Beo, a local community based organisation engaged with up to 500 students from 13 schools in the South East Galway Bay Catchment recently (Friday 5th October) to learn about their local environment, connecting the land and sea, as part of Clarinbridge Oyster Festival 2018.

"The success of the event helped raise awareness amongst our local communities highlighting the importance of protecting our aquatic resource, of how the link exists between land and sea communities and how together we can protect our environment, communities, heritage and economy for existing and future generations,' explained Chairman of Cuan Beo, Mr Diarmuid Kelly, Clarinbridge.

The interactive event included Local fishing and shellfish communities, Coastwatch and Friends, Galway Atlantaquaria and the Water & Communities Office where activities with the children showed the movement of water from the river source to sea. The Marine Institute and the Explorers Education Programme, also provided interactive displays on the marine environment and the INFOMAR team demonstrated the seabed mapping of Galway Bay.

Oonagh O'Dwyer from the Wild Kitchen presented seaweed cooking demonstrations and tastings using local produce throughout the day. To highlight the importance of related skills, local boat builder and fisherman, James Linnane constructed an Oyster Flat Boat on site.

'The Cuan Beo event is a great example of how we can engage with our local schools and communities to highlight the importance of our coastal environment and the marine economy. This event makes it local ensuring the coastal environment and economy remain a priority for future development and protection,' said Mr Joe Silke, Manager, Marine Environment and Food Safety Services, Marine Institute,

'The Marine Institute were delighted to be part of this event and look forward to supporting Cuan Beo activities in the future.' Mr Silke added.

Over a catchment area that covers approximately 1,267 km2 from east Galway and extends into North Clare, the children were invited to sign a 'charter to the environment' promising to take five steps that will help protect the local aquatic environment and resources. Amongst these some great ideas were generated which included bringing up to three pieces of rubbish home from the beach each time they visit, monitoring the local river quality using online at, reducing water waste when brushing their teeth and refusing to accept straws in at restaurants and encouraging their parents to bring reusable bags when shopping

Oyster Festival Committee Chairman Mr John Killeen said this is a truly great event and we are delighted to be associated with it. It has brought a new dynamic to our festival and we look forward to developing our relationship with Cuan Beo into the future'

The Interactive Environmental Exhibition for Primary Schools event was organised by Cuan Beo, winners of the Galway Cathaoirleach Environment Award 2018, and sponsored by FLAG West, The Marine Institute, Galway County Council, European Region of Gastronomy, Failte Ireland and the Heritage Council of Ireland. More information available on