Ports, Past and Present explores five distinct port towns, connecting communities across a shared sea. The project is divided into a series of work packages, each with its own theme, activities and objectives.

Creative Connections

‘Creative Connections’, will facilitate cross-border links between arts organisations, writers and artists on both sides of the Irish sea. Twelve commissions of £5,000 each will allow six writers and six artists to work with community groups on creative projects exploring the history and heritage of the five port towns.  


To promote creative connections between twinned port communities, and to create a network of arts organisations, artists and community organisations.

To use culture in order to raise awareness of the cultural heritage of the ports in the Irish Sea Basin and to make intangible cultural heritage more visible and comprehensible via creative responses to this heritage

To shape a creative response to heritage that will encourage visitor interest while providing cultural sustenance for the coastal communities themselves.

Leaders: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and Wexford County Council  

Documentary Films

‘Documentary films’ draws upon academic and local knowledge about the cultural heritage of the ports and sea crossings to develop documentary films that will help to boost tourism in and around the five ports towns. These films will be targeted at a range of international tourists, including ferry passengers and cruise ship companies and passengers.


To draw on academic and local knowledge about the cultural heritage of the sea crossings between the Irish ports, and the ports themselves, in order to develop documentary films.

To use the Tourism Networks developed by the project to showcase voices, sounds and scenes from the coastal communities

To use moving images to create a new awareness of intangible cultural heritage.

Leader: Aberystwyth University

‘Bringing the Past to Life’ will provide accessible pathways to new interpretations of the maritime past by developing digital visualisations of past sea crossings and the history of the ports. These will be available online and via mobile apps which will give depth and richness to the experience of sea crossings.


To make cultural heritage easily and freely accessible and to increase engagement with the past and to create a new sense of the rich history that lies beneath journeys across the Irish Sea and increase tourism opportunities.

To use artistic engagements with the past to deepen and enhance community and tourist perceptions of the area of the operation and to utilise the new Tourism Networks for increased cooperation.

Leader: University College Cork and Wexford County Council

Community Events and Knowledge Exchange

‘Community Events and Knowledge Exchange’ will enable the sharing of ideas and knowledge within and across the port communities. A series of Discovery Days, two for each port town, will provide opportunities for pooling ideas and suggesting techniques for enriching the tourist experience with high-quality, reliable historical and cultural material.   


To facilitate knowledge exchange between the beneficiaries, community organisations, local museums and local communities.

To build capacity in coastal communities.

Leader: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies

(Image: Courtesy of Anghel Ramos, Unsplash)