Light installations highlighting Ireland’s rising sea levels launched at Spanish Arch

A series of LED light installations highlighting the rising sea levels in Ireland was launched in Galway yesterday evening. 

The light installations, which comprise of illuminated horizontal lines that represent future sea levels as predicted by international research, are located at the Spanish Arch, Ard Bia at Nimmo’s, and the Claddagh Basin.  

Línte na Farraige (translating to ‘the line of the sea’) is a collaborative project, with the aim of starting conversations about climate change by “connecting the public visibly and tangibly to the risks of rising seas,” according to Dr Zoe Roseby, a postdoctoral researcher at Trinity College Dublin. 

Pop-up Exhibition

The project is supplemented by a pop-up climate change exhibition located in the Galway City Museum, along with online resources and interactive content. 

Maeve Upton, a PhD student at Maynooth University, has been involved with the project since its inception last year.  

“It’s a striking piece and it can be a little bit daunting to see it,” she explained.  

Ms Upton understands that the scientific data that emerges from climate research can often be inaccessible to the public, which is why the visual aspect of the installation is so important.

“I work with statistics of rising sea levels, and it’s very difficult to visualise numbers from national reports or inter-governmental reports,” she elaborated. 

“What we’re hoping to do is demonstrate what could possibly happen if we don’t make changes and highlight that we have time to adapt and lower that line” 

Galway Flooding

In January 2018, Galway city was flooded following Storm Eleanor. This event coincided with a high spring tide, and the water levels rose 90 cm above the base of the Spanish Arch in Galway. The line of light indicated by the Línte na Farraige installation at the Spanish Arch is 1.9 m.  

Galway is the first of four coastal locations in Ireland that will play host to these displays over the coming months, with the stark installations being recreated at Wexford Harbour, the Martello Tower in Blackrock, Dublin and Balbriggan Lighthouse by the end of the year. 

Funded by Creative Ireland, the light installations are the work of Finnish artists Timo Aho and Pekka Niittyvirta; supported by university-based scientists, the Climate Action Regional Office, and Galway City Council. 

The installations at Spanish Arch and Ard Bia will be in place for 6 months, and Claddagh Basin will be in place for 3 more days. 

To learn more about this project, visit 

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