€4m in EU funds has been secured to help safeguard heritage and coastal tourism sites in Wales and Ireland from risks of climate change and to provide a stimulus for marine-based economic growth in Wales and Ireland.

Funded by the EU’s Ireland-Wales programme, the CHERISH project (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) will support specialist organsations to employ the latest technologies to analyse coastal and island archaeology and maritime heritage sites affected by climate change, coastal eroson and rising sea levels.

Dalkey Sound

One of the survey locations, Dalkey Island, 300m off the south Dublin coast, has evidence of a Viking settlement. Photo Gillian Mills

The project will fund new excavations, environmental studies, marine mapping and landscape modelling. It will also support future strategies for climate change, by providing a deeper understanding of longer-term changes to Wales and Ireland’s heritage and coastal enviroments.

The Pembrokeshire islands and the Llyn Peninsula in Wales, and islands off the east and south coasts of Ireland, are the focus of the research.

“This project brings Wales and Ireland together to tackle some of our shares challenges around climate and environmental changes to our coastl regions. 

“It is very important that sites and assets under threat from climate change are protected, and I’m pleased this investment will also support new opportunities for the tourism sectors in both nations,” remarked Mark Drakeford, Welsh Government Finance Secretary.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said the project was an “excellent example” of how new technologies can be used to address emerging issues such as climate change.

“It also underscores the importance of cross-border cooperation and support from the EU for such cooperation.”

The five-year project will be led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the Discovery Programme: Centre for Archaeology and Innnovation Ireland and Geological Survey, Ireland.