Thursday 19 October 2017

Surf's up: seaside festival makes waves

Lorna Walsh, Alana Power and Valerie Brett on Tramore Beach for Ladies Surf Weekend
Lorna Walsh, Alana Power and Valerie Brett on Tramore Beach for Ladies Surf Weekend

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

GIRLS on surfboards and women made of seaweed helped create waves at a free festival.

The annual Tramore Oceanic Surf and Sea Festival was an eco-friendly event that attracted hundreds of families to the Co Waterford coastline.

An old tradition of carrying seaweed dolls along the promenade and then throwing them into the sea was revived last night at the festival's closing ceremony. A 10ft doll was tossed into the sea to mirror the activities of seaside ancestors almost 100 years ago.

Children enjoyed a seafood foraging tour of the beach on Saturday, where they packed "incredible edibles" into their baskets.

Top 'green' campaigner Karin Dubsky also gave a talk on protecting our coastal zones. The head of Coastwatch Europe offered tips on protecting and sustaining the environment.

A free eco-walk, originally compiled by well-known botanist and entomologist Eanna Ni Lamhna for Oceanics, added to the surf school's marine educational programme yesterday.

Children explored Tramore beach, where they were given a guided rock pool tour with Oceanics environmental interpreter Alan Walshe.

A seaweed workshop hosted by Grace O'Sullivan, a surfer and field ecologist with the Irish Wildlife Trust, pointed out how the beach plant had health benefits and could be cooked.

Champion

Ms O'Sullivan -- who was Ireland's first ever female champion surfer -- was also on hand to advise women during Ladies Surf Weekend.

She was the first female on record to have won the National Irish Surf Championships in 1981 at Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal.

She said she was "delighted" to be involved in this year's event and in hosting the seaweed workshop.

She added: "It is a brilliant opportunity to highlight the many uses of seaweed and the huge health benefits it can offer -- all for free on our shoreline."

Irish Independent

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