World Ocean Day
In 1897, John Millington Synge we are told, visited the Aran Islands because of encouragement by William Butler Yeats. Synge spent a number of summers there between 1898 and 1903. Many years ago I had a small role in a play by Synge, Riders to the Sea, which was inspired by a story that he heard of a man from Inishmaan, being washed up on a Donegal shore. It’s an incredibly sad story – and depicted so in the play, but Synge’s amazing use of language gives it such a richness.
Riders to the Sea, by J.M.Synge, 1904
MAURYA: Where is he itself?
NORA: He went down to see would there be another boat sailing in the week, and I’m thinking it won’t be long till he’s here now, for the tide’s turning at the green head, and the hooker’s tacking from the east.
This day we remember our oceans and their importance. Just as we in Ireland are negotiating for our fishing quotas, we see that this livelihood has the same importance today and it did over 100 years ago. Critically of course we must remember to protect this amazing resource. We have the opportunity for discovery of the next generation materials and pharmaceuticals from the incredible biodiversity in the oceans, the potential for leisure, ocean energy, food, underwater discoveries and lots more.
On World Ocean Day let’s celebrate the shared opportunity – remembering the important inspiration that has been and that it remains for many.