Economic resilience through the sustainable development of local resources is essential to the social strength of communities along the Irish western seaboard and the key to the preservation of their language and cultural heritage.language and culture of the Gaeltacht (districts in which Irish language is largely spoken) is dependent on young families being able to earn a living and stay in their communities if they want to.
In the past people in rural, coastal communities have had to rely on local resources for their livelihood. They had to work very closely with the natural environment to support their own physical and cultural survival. In more recent times, locally available resources have been insufficient to sustain communities and swathes of young people have become economic emigrants. Seaweed is an abundant local resource in the Gaeltacht. Developing the knowledge, skills and technology base to add value to the seaweed in situ creates the economic resilience necessary to support local communities in preserving their cultural heritage. The optimum economic development of local resources, for the benefit of local communities, in a way that is deeply respectful of the environment, supports the survival of Irish language and culture.
The north west corner of the Atlantic experiences some extreme weather because of the high and low-pressure systems that develop over the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout history, communities have had to be resourceful and resilient to survive in these conditions. As the global community experiences more extremes in climate, it is more more important than ever to strengthen the economies of vulnerable coastal communities.