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Funded by the Marine Institute [Ireland], Coastal Landscape and Inclusive Planning (CLIP) is a PhD research project that investigates local community and tourist perceptions and attitudes to the coastal landscapes and seascapes. The overall aim of the project is to understand how landscape changes driven by Blue Growth (BG) can create conflicts between coastal communities, marine users and BG developers and how such conflicts can be addressed through sustainable and inclusive planning.

The BG strategy aims to increase the value of the maritime economy by promoting the rapid development of five sectors: biotechnology; renewable energy; aquaculture; mineral resources; and coastal and marine tourism. Ireland has adopted policies for BG which will intensify the use of coastal and marine areas. The west coast of Ireland has been a key focus of coastal tourism intensification strategies, such as the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) project. The WAW has been successful in terms of increasing revenue and international recognition but it has also brought intensive tourism to the west coast. The success of the WAW intensifies local landscape and resource pressures, while the country’s commitment to BG frames the west coast as a site for development to expand Ireland’s portfolio of available blue assets. These sectoral policies potentially contradict each other and may lead to conflict between BG developers and coastal communities reliant on the quality of the coastal landscape for tourism. To address such conflicts and guide the use of marine space in a sustainable manner, Ireland has recently produced the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF, 2019). The findings from CLIP aim to inform the NMPF and a range of relevant policies with an impact on coastal and marine areas.

CLIP studies the coast of Connemara (Co. Galway) as a case area. With the biggest Gaeltacht (Irish language speaking community) on the island today, Connemara is a geographic region which has historically featured as a wild landscape with a distinctive history and culture and strong links to the Irish diaspora. Coastal Connemara also faces increasing demands for BG, such as proposed aquaculture and energy developments. Two coastal settlements were selected as case studies on the coast of Connemara due to their contested nature which highlights the inherent contradictions of BG: An Spidéal (Spiddal, in English) and Leenane.


For more information on CLIP, please contact Maria Pafi -

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