Smart islands through exchange and collaboration

  SMART ISLANDS THROUGH EXCHANGE AND COLLABORATION  

As part of the LEADER funded Preparatory project “ Smart islands through exchange and collaboration, islanders from the Small isles of Eigg and Canna in Scotland’s Highland region travelled to County Mayo to meet with islanders from Clare Island and Inish Turk, 2 islands of similar size in  on the West coast of Ireland. The exchange took place from 9 to 12 September, and included workshops and site visits, to establish a way to explore what makes a SMART ISLAND.

 WHAT IS A SMART ISLAND?

10 islanders – 4 from Scotland and 6 from Ireland gathered in the library of the Clare Community Centre which also houses the Cliara Development Company office, the Clare island community hall and Community bar, to share their thoughts on the Smart island concept. Here is what they concluded:

A SMART ISLAND IS AN ISLAND THAT HAS:

  • Autonomy of decision 
  • Good governance
  • Its own development plan
  • Its own development budget
  • Sustainable employment 
  • sustainable tourism 

1. The 10 Key areas of Smart Island synergy

The discussion followed the steps highlighted in the 2016 Smart Islands Declaration:

  • Take action to mitigate and adapt to climate change and build resilience at local level
  • Trigger the uptake of smart technologies to ensure the optimal management and use of our resources and infrastructures
  •  Move away from fossil fuels by tapping our significant renewables and energy efficiency potential
  • Introduce sustainable island mobility including electric mobility
  • Reduce water scarcity by applying non-conventional and smart water resources management
  •  Become zero-waste territories by moving to a circular economy
  • Preserve our distinctive natural and cultural capital
  • Diversify our economies by exploiting the intrinsic characteristics of our islands to create new and innovative jobs locally
  • Strengthen social inclusion, education and citizens’ empowerment
  • Encourage the shift towards alternative, yearlong, sustainable and responsible tourism, inland, coastal and maritime
1.1 Resilience to Climate change
  • Islands are most affected: water level rising, increased storms, ferry disruption, gulf stream disruption, weather changes
  • There is a need to recognise and understand the effects of Climate change
    • What does this mean for farming and food production?
      • Move away form arable farming
      • Growing things in poly-tunnels
      • the need for self sufficiency
    • What does it mean for fishing?
      • Vulnerability: lobster potting is threatened
    • Water shortages
  • Need for information and dissemination
    • recognition of inter-dependency
    • share islands Climate Emergency Declaration
    • Lobby Local Authorities
    • New means of Food production
    • New technologies appropriate to the changing conditions
  • Change in behaviours
    • Tapping into the new knowledge across the islands.
    • Getting away from dependency from outside
    • Turning away form Convenience
    • Adaptability has to be taught and explained to make it easier for the islands to understand
1.2 Smart technology Uptake: ICT with improved digital services and participatory decision making
  • need to use technology that make our islands more resilient
  • Need to make most of digital (see example of Aranmore)

How?

  • technology needs to be scaled down for our islands
    • appropriate technologies for the smaller islands/ and at individual household level – must be easily fixable!
    • Technology adapted to the developing world is what we need
    • Using recycled material
    • Use of “Build Yourself kits” to target islanders’ creativity
  • skilling up
    • Harness new skills
    • bank of skills
    • Sharing skills
    • Skills need to be local
    • Practical skills to combat high/ prohibitive cost of professional services
    • Use access to the net to reach for Knowledge!
  • Funding
    • Grants at the moment are geared towards BIG projects
    • The “Small is beautiful” concept should inform island funding strategy

1.3 Energy with a particular emphasis on renewables and energy efficiency.

Both Eigg and Canna are off grid islands and now have their own renewable powered grid systems. Inish Turk is powered by diesel generators and Clare island is powered from the mainland grid.

  • Fossil fuel free islands: a long way to go
  • Ireland is a worst case for fossil fuel reduction
  • Time is adequate: too much monopoly from the Big Energy providers
  • Need a Feed in Tariff policy to incentivise communities to earn money from community schemes
  • Tackle the issue of conservation areas
  • Need incentives
  • ie energy efficiency measures grant for individuals
  • an approach on a community basis.
  • Make it simpler, make it rural appropriate.
  • Learn from the Scottish islands example
  • Engage with Clean Energy  for EU island programme
1.4 Transport and Sustainable mobility

Scotland and Ireland have very different ferry regimes. Scottish Islands are served by Caledonian MacBrayne, operating as a life-line service ( cargo cars and passengers) under RET regime and mainland based. In some cases, there is also a private ferry operating in the summer months at a higher cost. The Small Isles are unique in Scotland in that they require a permit to take cars onto the islands.

Ireland’s islands are served by a variety of private ferries. Clare island and Inish Turk are both served by small passenger and cargo vessels which are island based: The Clare island Ferry company is run by the O’Grady family, the Clare Island fast ferry by the O’Malley family who also provide a daily service to Inish Turk and a cargo service twice a week to the 2 islands. 

Sustainable mobility

Present situation:

    • difficulty in accessing fuel for the islands
    • high costs, legal issue, messy, expensive although easy to do by internet ( Ireland)
  • no good connection for public transport
  • assumption that people will drive
  • convenience of having own car in a rural setting

What can we do?

  • the main issues for change are cost of EVs and mindset
  • question about EVs and the salt environment needs adressing
  • Remove the barriers to EV by providing information and incentives
  • Recommended CaB efficiency would be more easily met by use of EV
  • Car-share
  • Developing second hand market for EVs
  • Lease EV buses for community use
  • Make it a fun challenge: competing for the zero cost cars
  • Share information throughout the islands
  • Push for public transport integrated strategy and use it to promote other forms of transport
1.5 Water

 Water in the Small Isles is provided by private supplies or small reservoirs in the shape of containers fed by small burns. There can also be shortages of water in Clare island and Inish Turk.

  • Shortage of catchment
  • There is a demand in terms of energy for water purification: difficult in small isolated places such as the Canna Campsite.
  • People need to learn to use water responsibly
  • Sharing good examples Iles du Ponant’s information sheet for accommodation providers a good model)

 1.6 Waste with the aim of becoming zero waste territories

Ireland and Scotland have very different waste disposal schemes. In Scotland the LA is responsible for waste collection, which is paid for through local taxes. There is a waste operator employed locally on Eigg, whilst the islanders of Canna have to deal with waste themselves, both islands using the glass, paper, plastic and tins skips provided by the council and picked regularly for mainland recycling. There is no scheme to deal with marine plastic separately.

In Ireland, there has been historically little regulatory framework, and by the mid 1990’s recycling rates were the lowest in Europe. Much has improved since then, but Irish LAs still have a different approach, with the country divided in 3 waste regions. In County Mayo alone, there are 5 private companies awarded Waste permits by the National Waste Permit Office. The charge is set by the provider and in theory, competition ensures that prices are kept down. On Clare island, the collector charges the household by the bag (black for landfill, blue for recycling) which can be purchased in the local shop. Marine plastic tends to be send out as part of the recyclate.

To date the smaller islands in Scotland and Ireland still struggle to engage with new policies promoting the circular economy. Food waste is still accepted by the LA in Highland, despite issues with vermin at the skip. Despite various schemes, Zero Waste is still a far away aspiration. 

  • Keep the island clean: what is happening now
  • Campaign keep the island clean: islanders in general work very hard to keep their island clean
  • 70% will do it voluntarily, 30% will do it through peer pressure
  • Use the “pride of place” to galvanise the community
  • Environment day / Community cleaning day
  • Use the school kids and green flag to educate parents and community
  • Get Drastic with plastic campaign (Canna, Eigg)
  • Plastic recycling board and bin (Clare)

Swop shop for unwanted items ( mostly clothing), which are then sent to charity on a yearly basis (Eigg)

Keep the island clean: what can we do

  • Compost bin usage:
  • Right bin system to make it easy for people or they will continue burning
  • Communication issue : there is a disconnect between recycling ideals and daily life.
  • Need to close the loop between food waste and food production
  • Exchange of best practice through ESIN would be very useful : eg the Iles du Ponant scheme with hens supplied, compost bins supplied in Scotland
  • No joined up thinking as yet between LAs and island communities.
  • Need a long term plan
  • Need capital investment
  • Funding and programmes need to be appropriate for the smaller situation
1.7 Preserving the islands’ distinctive natural and cultural capital

Time run out to explore this step in detail. However through  visits and more informal discussions, the following points  came out:

  • Each island has a distinctive and unique natural environment
  • It is fragile and needs careful consideration when looking at development (eg concerns about giant fish farm pollution on Eigg)
  • The islands’ outstanding  geology is often under-utilised as a theme.
  • Each island also has a distinctive cultural capital
  • However islands cannot remain as museums of the past.
  • Important to recognise the value of what we have and use it appropriately
  • Value the “old house” as opposed to its current association with the image of the ill – educated, poor islander (example of good practice:  Eigg’s restored croft house as museum of crofting life) ,
  • Encourage and educate people to donate items for heritage facilities (too easily discarded): Clare Heritage centre, Canna ‘s Old Dairy.
  • Authenticity of the culture has huge  attraction for the visitor and also helps preserving social cohesion and intergenerational solidarity.
  • capitalise on indigenous Gaelic traditions and myths ( bardic summer school, the Feisean nan Gaidheal and Comhaltas  movement).
 1.8 Economy (diversification, cooperative working and entrepreneurship )

Jobs

  • Not everyone can be an entrepreneur
  • islanders also want waged jobs
  • Not always easy to add value to primary production
  • Housing comes first, jobs comes second!
  • Cooperative working is a tradition that can be built on

Housing

  • Evidencing need is a necessary skill
  • Partnership with other (specialist) organisations
  • Need top-up funding for island projects to counteract the island uplift.
  • Control of housing plots
  • Partnership with innovation providers and national organisations
    • Carbon neutral houses
    • Use of renewables
  • Partnership with academia to promote decarbonisation

1.9  Governance including community empowerment and capacity building

  • The issue is how to balance self interest and shared interest
  • Can’t make assumptions
  • Take as long as it takes to achieve a consensus
  • Use the dissenter in the community: they can dish the dirt are not part of a clique
  • Use the 6 hats technique to discuss issues in a constructive way looking at all angles, including the negative (black hat) one.
  • The trick is how to engage people when people are not coming to meeting
  • Apathy grows and is easily affected by negativity
  • Engagement depends on the issue
  • People are not always confident to speak because of family connections
  • Genuine development is not about filling forms

Way forward:

  • engage emotionally
  • Find where the self interest is
  • Promote individual connection by using text, phone as one to one communication, use surveys to guarantee anonymity
  • Think outside the box,
  • Change the space, use different media of communication
  • Don’t be driven by grant funding
  • ensure you have people on the ground to do jobs.
1.10 Sustainable, community-led tourism.

Tourism is now the mainstay of all the islands’ economy. All four islands are depending on tourism and are often competing for the same market. However they all aim at a smaller, quality, greener market to ensure tourism remain sustainable.

New destination strategies on all four islands are being developed in the fields of culture, sport and well being which are helping to attract new visitor markets. (See Case studies)

Nonetheless, cruise ships in particular are becoming a big problem for the Isle of Canna. Both the LA and the landlord (National Trust for Scotland) want to encourage it as the landing fee are £25 per head for the island, which all goes to NTS, but do not see the environmental problem it causes for an island without the necessary infrastructure ( public toilets,) to cope with large numbers.

Threats

  • Big environmental problem with Cruise ship: how can this type of tourism benefit the islanders?
  • There needs a balance: there is a risk of exploiting and devaluing the islands
  • Islands need to be in the driving/ negotiating seat
  • There is a risk of corruption and exploitation, which changes the relationship between the islanders and the tourists.
  • Lack of skill retention
  • Conflict and resistance to agri-environmental schemes
  • Organic salmon from Clare: all goes to Donegal and you can’t buy it locally
  • Roonagh pier – embarcation port for Inish Turk and Clare is an area for competition not collaboration
  • Cliara Dev Co officer spends too much time lobbying the LA without any results.

Opportunities

  • Need to find ways and opportunities to get people to spend their money
  • Offering them an authentic island experience.
  • Make it possible for tourism to keep on a level that does not intrude on islanders’ lives by keeping it small scale
  • Keeping it affordable, boutique, exclusive, small number
  • Diversify the accommodation: bothies and Camping pods,  invest in the Glamping market as in the Small Isles, good quality hostel an asset
  • Clare Lighthouse, Inishmaan; examples of expensive high quality accommodation for small numbers which works

Recommendations

  • Work on branding the islands and their products
  • Spell out the islands’ values
  • promote the islands as Green destination, the green way of life
  • identify how add value to local produce eg smoke the salmon, make it into different product attractive to the visitors.
  • Have a sustainable tourism strategy
  • Cooperative working

2. EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICE

2.1: the Irish Community Employment Programme

The Community Employment (CE) programme provides long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people with training and work experience through part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities. How a person qualifies to participate in a CE scheme will depend on age and personal situation.

The Community Employment programme is administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). The DEASP gives financial support in the form of allowances and funding to assist with the Community Employment programme, for example participant wages, supervisor grants, materials grants and specific skills training grants.

The support consists of 20 euros on top of the general allowance of 180 euros per week in exchange for 19.5 hours on a Community Employment scheme. The support is for 3 years, renewable for another 3 on islands (until pension age for people aged 60), and only a year on mainland areas.

Additionally, there is a budget for materials at 15 euros per week ( 6K a year)   insurance is also paid for as well as pension stamp, and there is a mobile phone for the supervisor.

The Community Employment sponsors are the voluntary organisations or public bodies that manage CE schemes at a local level and decide on the types of work that is required.

On Clare island, the scheme provides services that are not available in the community such as

o   preschool child-care and elderly care

o   Grass cutting and maintenance of public areas including flower growing for flower beds in front of the tourist information and community facilities.

o   Maintenance of the island camping site

Eight people out of a population of 130 are currently benefiting.

Advantages of the programme:

o   A way of supplementing income for the family

o   A way of accessing training and up-skilling

o   Combat isolation

o   Increase confidence and self-esteem

o   Provision of services where there is no funding to provide them 


2.2 Clare island community action plan

http://www.clareisland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Clare-Island-Community-Futures-Action-Plan-2014-2019.pdf

The Clare Island Community Futures Action plan is a result of extensive community engagement carried out over many months. It will act as a community-led blueprint for future development projects on Clare Island.

The consultation format leading to the plan ensured everyone on the island has had an input. “It started with a form filled at home for greater privacy, inviting the islanders to list what they liked and did not like about island life. The issues were then summarised, and the islanders were invited over a lengthy period to prioritise without a strict hierarchy. The resulting participation was really good and the process was felt to be very successful,” explains Cora Keating, our host, from the Cliara Developemnt company. The action plan will then be reviewed regularly to monitor progress.

However, with the current trend for budget cuts, there is a question mark over the continued financial support for the Cliara Development company’s office with 2 jobs it provides on the island. This support will be absolutely necessary for the implementation and continual development of the plan.

3. Short case studies

3.1 Wild Atlantic Way and Clare Island

The Wild Atlantic Way (Irish: Slí an Atlantaigh Fhiáin) is a tourism trail on the west coast, and on parts of the north and south coasts, of Ireland. Officially launched in 2014, the 2,500 km (1,553 mile) driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces stretching from Donegal to Cork following the Celtic Sea coast.

The route is broken down into several sections with 157 discovery points, 1,000 attractions and more than 2,500 activities. Both Clare Island (Oileán Chliara)  and Inish Turk (Inis Toirc) at the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo are part of the “Bay coast” advertised through the Wild Atlantic Way.

https://www.wildatlanticway.com

What the Wild Atlantic Way says about Clare island

Clare Island lies off the Mayo coast at the entrance to Clew Bay. Its spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking.

The largest of the Mayo offshore islands, the Island’s complex history can be read through its landscape: from archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze age, to rare medieval wall paintings in the 14th century abbey. One can view the castle and burial place of the famous ‘pirate queen’ Grace O’Malley’s (Grainneuaile).

The island population is now around 130, yet everywhere there are traces of past generations, most significantly the 19th century population explosion and subsequent famine when the island’s population of 1600 was reduced by half. Old potato ridges, or ‘lazy beds’ are everywhere: the evening sun reveals them jutting out from the land like the rib cages of some dying beast.

Clare Island’s scenic beauty, pristine beaches, rare flora and gentle peak of Knockmore (461m) make it an ideal destination for walkers. Offshore, the clear waters surrounding the island are known for their exceptional dive sites.

Clare is also known for its lively night life, live music and regular summer festivals.

Many of the facilities and venues on the island are now branded with the Wild Atlantic Way logo, which is also prominent at Roonagh the embarkation port. From the islanders’ point of view, the promotion through the Wild Atlantic Way has been on the whole very beneficial, but they cautioned against exploitation of the brand by businesses outwith the local areas: tour operators are now sourcing sandwiches made in Dublin rather than using local outlets, thereby negating the economic benefits to local businesses!

3.2 Macalla Farm and the well-being strand: developing niche markets

Macalla farm is a small family run retreat centre and working organic farm on Clare island. It offers yoga – including teacher training – mindfulness and horsemanship, food and food courses such as seasonal vegetarian cooking  courses and mindful eating retreats. Ciara, the owner of the farm explained how they wanted to capitalise on the island’s “ abundance of space and quiet and the “special sense that comes from being on an island” and how this has been largely successful through word of mouth rather than actively advertising.

Seeing an opportunity to cater for the visitor, not just the retreat participant, Macalla farm also opened the Stone Barn café this year, offering organic wholefood, which has proved very popular. It is run in the summer time by the family’s children as part of their education, and staffed by workaway volunteers also helping the farm growing its organic food.

The meal at the Stone Barn Café provided an opportunity for Larraine from Eigg and Isebail from Canna to share their experience of well-being activities as yoga is a popular activity on both islands. Running retreats and events however seems to have been the most successful sporting events on the islands. On Eigg the running retreat was aimed at women and on Canna, the island race was open to everyone. Both events occurred in the early summer.

Clare Island also offers an annual 10 K event in support of cancer charities. Participants register for the 10K at the community centre after filling a simple online form and receive a warm welcome from the inhabitants of Clare Island, who give their time and home baking voluntarily to the event. The race starts at 1pm and refreshments are provided again after the race for all registered participants and supporters.

3.3 Clare Island Adventures

Another innovative event on Clare Island is the Singles Adventure Week-End, which is run twice a year in May and September. This is no match-making festival as elsewhere in Ireland, “simply an event that brings like-minded people together and provide them with a fun environment to make new friends – single friends.“

This successful venture is part of a menu of activities from Clare Island Adventures which are both land-based and water-based, such as kayaking, raft building, beach challenge, orienteering or hillwalking.

Also on offer is a team building day designed with leadership, communication, problem-solving and time-management skills in mind. It includes the Clare Island Challenge, a 7km orienteering course incorporating four team-based activities designed to identify natural leaders, build relationships, and improve communication skills.

Other day-trip activities are aimed at primary and secondary schools, with overnight options and adventure aimed at transition year students.

The island’s first class football pitch also allows Clare Island adventures to target sport training and clubs.

Seniors, hen and stag party weekends or overnight stays are also available, and now Clare Island Adventures is developing winter activities to utilise the down time when the Go explore hostel is closed to the public.

The Clare Island Adventures is a joint venture between Adventure West, the Go Explore Hostel / Sailor’s Bar & Restaurant and the Clare Island Ferry Company, who have all teamed up to provide a high quality experience to those interested in exploring adventure activities on the island.

3.3 Ballytoughey Loom and Craft development

Ballytoughey Loom is a well established cottage industry working in the textile arts on Clare Island. Located on the north side of the island, last stop to the Lighthouse, professional weaver Beth Moran offers a treasure trove of textiles which are unique, beautifully crafted, colourful, and textural.

She also offers weaving, spinning and natural dying courses from May to September both week-long and weekend. These classes are limited to four people so they afford a great opportunity for individual attention. Beth also has apprentices she trains over a period of weeks or months, depending on their level and interest.

She explained where she gets her inspiration: “living on the island means I am influenced by its landscape and this is reflected in my work. I find constant inspiration in the ever changing ever moving sea and I also love to work with the element of space and patterns intrigue me.”

Over 20 years, Beth has built an international reputation and now sells all over the world, now concentrating on large sculptural pieces. 

Beth learnt her craft from a traditional weaver in Mayo, and is a brilliant example of the way a traditional craft can be successfully passed on through the generations.

Another example of a traditional craft passed on down the generations on the island is that of currach building: for the first time in many years, one of these very traditional island and west coast boats was built through a course aimed at the islanders themselves through the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI). 

3.4 The Clare Lighthouse: a good example of niche market development

Clare Island Lighthouse is sited on the most northerly point of the island, high on the cliffs. Built in 1806, and renovated in 1818 with the addition of a keeper cottage, the lighthouse is unique in that it is the only two-towered lighthouse in Ireland. Decommissioned in 1965 after 159 years of service, it was bought by the current owner in 2008 & has been sensitively and expertly renovated into a fully catered luxury accommodation, complete with chef and sauna.

The Lighthouse is only open in the summer season and closes in the winter. It is part of the Ireland’s Blue Book association of historic hotels and fine restaurants (www.irelandsbluebook.com) and can be booked through the association’s website. It won the ‘Best Coastal boutique in Europe’ award in 2016.

The Clare lighthouse vision: “We see Clare Island Lighthouse as a ‘great escape’ – a restorative haven, where even the busiest mind is soon stilled by the unhurried island pace. Our interiors, in keeping with the ethos of the lighthouse and its location, are uncluttered & sleek but exceedingly comfortable. Where possible we have let the landscape do the talking! Clare Island Lighthouse is a retreat like no other, a special place where guests are free to while away their time in solitude or to enjoy mingling and socialising in the welcoming warmth of the kitchen, drawing room or library. There are no televisions at The Lighthouse but Wi-Fi is available so guests can use their own portable devices. Reading material, games, sustenance & piano provided – conversation is up to the guests!”

Clare Island has a good selection of accommodation from campsite and hostel to a variety of Bed and Breakfast and guesthouses. Although it is only aimed at the top section of the market, this luxury development is welcome as it contributes to making the island a special and unique destination.

One particular feature of the décor is the use of woven rugs and other objects from the nearby Ballytoughey loom, therefore encouraging the visitor to visit and make a purchase! 

3.5 ClareIsland culture 

Clare Island has a rich island heritage, both tangible and intangible. ClareIsland is the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile). It provides a backdrop of megalithic tombs, holy wells and a 12th century Cistercian Abbey.

Heritage centre  

Clare Island  has a small privately run heritage centre, which depends on donations to keep it going. It is a very useful resource for the visitor as it offers a huge quantity of information about many aspects of the island’s heritage. Many of the artefacts on view have been donated by the islanders to ensure their island heritage is properly preserved.

Bard summer school

Every July, Bard Summer School explores the Irish myths and goes on a unique journey of discovery for their contemporary relevance. All of these myths have lasted thousands of years and have been handed down through Ireland’s oral tradition. There is a place for everyone on the school and Bard has welcomed participants from all over the world. The Summer School is three and a half days in duration and concludes with the annual Bard Féasta, a Celtic feast.

Island music  

The Clare I sland Feile Ceol – similar to our Gaelic Feis – is run by the local Comhaltas group, Granuaile Comhaltas on the last week-end of June. The Feile Ceol festival combines local talents of song and dance with a number of guest singers and musicians from all over Ireland. Live concerts are on the Friday and Saturday night in the Community Centre, followed by seisúin in the bar. Anyone is welcome to join in as the night goes on. There are also music, Sean Nos and dance workshops with well-known tutors. The Feile Ceol is advertised through facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clare.comhaltas.

Every Tuesday night in July and August at the Community Centre, the Comhaltas Seisiún nights offer audiences a unique experience of “ceol agus craic” with the best of traditional Irish music, song, dance and storytelling. This event is very popular with visitors and there has been a trend for Tuesdays to be very busy on the island throughout the summer months.

Thursday nights throughout the summer are also the Sailor’s bar song writing nights for a more intimate gig culminating in a very special Sailor’s bar night with invited guests on the last weekend of August.

An archive of poems, songs, stories, and music from Clare Island was also recently compiled entitled ‘Clare Island: Out on the Ocean’ and can be viewed in the island’s library. A selection from the archive has now been published and is also available as a book/CD pack. “Live recordings capturing the rich traditions and talent of the islanders will ensure that the spirit of the island is never lost.”

Island Film

Clare Island has also launched into a new venture to showcase contemporary Irish Films. The festival celebrates Irish short film as well as classic Irish documentaries such as the Man of Aran, which was shown this year with a new score by contemporary musicians. Each year the volume and quality of submissions is increasing. All film events are shown in the small but comfortable setting of the Sailor Bar’s Bard room, an adjacent multi-purpose film room, and are all free thanks to the festival being sponsored every year by a local business. Clare island is fast becoming Ireland’s most intimate film festival for film lovers.

Our visit to Clare Island actually coincided with the last days of filming for a docu-fiction film about the famous Clareisland pirate queen by a young Irish film maker. “The Queens of Clew Bay” might very well be shown at the next Clare Island film festival! 

4.CONCLUSION

This preparatory exchange provided an excellent opportunity to explore how islands can discuss issues in common and learn from each other.

The Smart Islands 10 key areas provided a useful framework to compare experiences and discuss the way forward for each island, bringing to the fore ideas and suggestions for further collaboration particularly on dissemination of information about Climate change, sustainable transport, waste minimisation. Time run out to go deeper into each of the key areas, but sharing information and learning for capacity building throughout our islands was seen as key to progress. 

We parted company energised and determined to ensure that we can contribute to building a platform where our experiences and best practices can be shared with other islands.

Looking to the future, we are looking forward to continue working with our European and Irish counterparts to ensure that the Smart Islands Initiative is used to help build our island communities into the thriving, low carbon, sustainable societies we know they have the potential to become.

To start with, S.I.F will be running a workshop on Smart islands at the ESIN AGM in Ven, Sweden on 24 September and a workshop on Smart islands and Smart Villages at the European Rural Parliament 2019 in Candas, Asturias, on 8 November 2019.