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The Irish Sea
Sea
(Irish: Muir Éireann / An Mhuir Mheann,[1] Manx: Y Keayn Yernagh,[2] Scots: Erse Sea, Scottish Gaelic: Muir Èireann,[3] Ulster-Scots: Airish Sea, Welsh: Môr Iwerddon) separates the islands of Ireland
Ireland
and Great Britain; linked to the Celtic Sea
Sea
in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland[4] in the north by the Straits of Moyle. Anglesey, Wales, is the largest island in the Irish Sea. The second in size is the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
and the sea may occasionally, but rarely, be referred to as the Manx Sea
Sea
(Irish: Muir Meann,[5] Manx: Mooir Vannin, Scottish Gaelic: Muir Mhanainn).[6][7][8] The Irish Sea
Sea
is of significant economic importance to regional trade, shipping and transport, fishing, and power generation in the form of wind power and nuclear power plants. Annual traffic between Great Britain
Great Britain
and Ireland amounts to over 12 million passengers and 17 million tonnes (17,000,000 long tons; 19,000,000 short tons) of traded goods.

Contents

1 Topography 2 Shipping 3 Oil and gas exploration

3.1 Caernarfon Bay
Caernarfon Bay
Basin 3.2 Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
Basin 3.3 Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay 3.4 East Irish Sea
Sea
Basin 3.5 Dalkey Island
Island
Exploration Prospect

4 Cities and towns 5 Islands 6 Environment 7 Radioactivity 8 Proposed tunnel projects 9 Wind power 10 In popular culture 11 See also 12 References

12.1 Bibliography

13 Further reading 14 External links

Topography[edit] The Irish Sea
Sea
is connected to the North Atlantic
North Atlantic
at both its northern and southern ends. To the north, the connection is through the North Channel between Scotland
Scotland
and Northern Ireland
Ireland
and the Malin Sea. The southern end is linked to the Atlantic through the St George's Channel between Ireland
Ireland
and Pembrokeshire, and the Celtic Sea. It is composed of a deeper channel about 190 miles (310 km) long and 20–30 miles (32–48 km) wide on its western side and shallower bays to the east. The western channel's depth ranges from 80 metres (260 ft) up to 275 m (902 ft) in the Beaufort's Dyke
Beaufort's Dyke
in the North Channel. Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
in the south, and the waters to the east of the Isle of Man, are less than 50 m (160 ft) deep. With a total water volume of 2,430 km3 (580 cu mi) and a surface area of 47,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi), 80% is to the west of the Isle of Man. The largest sandbanks are the Bahama and King William Banks to the east and north of the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
and the Kish Bank, Codling Bank, Arklow
Arklow
Bank and Blackwater Bank near the coast of Ireland. The Irish Sea, at its greatest width, is 120 miles (190 km) and narrows to 47 miles (76 km).[9] The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the Irish Sea
Sea
(with St George's Channel) as follows,

On the North. The Southern limit of the Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland, defined as a line joining the South extreme of the Mull of Galloway (54°38'N) in Scotland
Scotland
and Ballyquintin Point (54°20'N) in Ireland. On the South. A line joining St. David's Head in Wales
Wales
(51°54′N 5°19′W / 51.900°N 5.317°W / 51.900; -5.317) to Carnsore Point in Ireland
Ireland
(52°10′N 6°22′W / 52.167°N 6.367°W / 52.167; -6.367).[4]

The Irish Sea
Sea
has undergone a series of dramatic changes over the last 20,000 years as the last glacial period ended and was replaced by warmer conditions. At the height of the glaciation, the central part of the modern sea was probably a long freshwater lake. As the ice retreated 10,000 years ago, the lake reconnected to the sea. Shipping[edit] Ireland
Ireland
has no tunnel or bridge connection to Great Britain; the vast majority of heavy goods trade is done by sea. Northern Ireland
Ireland
ports handle 10 million tonnes (9,800,000 long tons; 11,000,000 short tons) of goods trade with the rest of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
annually; the ports in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
handle 7.6 million tonnes (7,500,000 long tons; 8,400,000 short tons), representing 50% and 40% respectively of total trade by weight. The Port of Liverpool
Port of Liverpool
handles 32 million tonnes (31,000,000 long tons; 35,000,000 short tons) of cargo and 734 thousand passengers a year.[10] Holyhead
Holyhead
port handles most of the passenger traffic from Dublin
Dublin
and Dún Laoghaire
Dún Laoghaire
ports, as well as 3.3 million tonnes (3,200,000 long tons; 3,600,000 short tons) of freight.[11] Ports in the Republic handle 3,600,000 travellers crossing the sea each year, amounting to 92% of all Irish Sea
Sea
travel.[12] This has been steadily dropping for a number of years (20% since 1999), probably as a result of low cost airlines.[citation needed] Ferry connections from Wales
Wales
to Ireland
Ireland
across the Irish Sea
Sea
include Fishguard
Fishguard
and Pembroke to Rosslare, Holyhead
Holyhead
to Dún Laoghaire
Dún Laoghaire
and Holyhead
Holyhead
to Dublin. From Scotland, Cairnryan
Cairnryan
connects with both Belfast
Belfast
and Larne. There is also a connection between Liverpool
Liverpool
and Belfast
Belfast
via the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
or direct from Birkenhead. The world's largest car ferry, Ulysses, is operated by Irish Ferries
Irish Ferries
on the Dublin Port– Holyhead
Holyhead
route; Stena Line
Stena Line
also operates between Britain and Ireland. "Irish Sea" is also the name of one of the BBC's Shipping Forecast areas defined by the coordinates:

54°50′N 05°05′W / 54.833°N 5.083°W / 54.833; -5.083 54°45′N 05°45′W / 54.750°N 5.750°W / 54.750; -5.750 52°30′N 06°15′W / 52.500°N 6.250°W / 52.500; -6.250 52°00′N 05°05′W / 52.000°N 5.083°W / 52.000; -5.083

Arriva Trains Wales, Iarnród Éireann, Irish Ferries, Stena Line, Northern Ireland
Ireland
Railways, Stena Line
Stena Line
and Abellio ScotRail
Abellio ScotRail
promote SailRail with through rail tickets for the train and the ferry.[13]

Oil and gas exploration[edit] Caernarfon Bay
Caernarfon Bay
Basin[edit]

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Caernarfon Bay

The Caernarfon Bay
Caernarfon Bay
basin contains up to 7 cubic kilometres (1.7 cu mi) of Permian
Permian
and Triassic
Triassic
syn-rift sediments in an asymmetrical graben that is bounded to the north and south by Lower Paleozoic
Paleozoic
massifs. Only two exploration wells have been drilled so far, and there remain numerous undrilled targets in tilted fault block plays. As in the East Irish Sea
Sea
Basin, the principal target reservoir is the Lower Triassic, Sherwood Sandstone, top-sealed by younger Triassic
Triassic
mudstones and evaporites. Wells in the Irish Sector to the west have demonstrated that pre-rift, Westphalian coal measures are excellent hydrocarbon source rocks, and are at peak maturity for gas generation (Maddox et al., 1995). Seismic profiles clearly image these strata continuing beneath a basal Permian
Permian
unconformity into at least the western part of the Caernarfon Bay
Caernarfon Bay
Basin. The timing of gas generation presents the greatest exploration risk. Maximum burial of, and primary gas migration from, the source rocks could have terminated as early as the Jurassic, whereas many of the tilted fault blocks were reactivated or created during Paleogene inversion of the basin. However, it is also possible that a secondary gas charge occurred during regional heating associated with intrusion of Paleogene dykes, such as those that crop out nearby on the coastline of north Wales. (Floodpage et al., 1999) have invoked this second phase of Paleogene hydrocarbon generation as an important factor in the charging of the East Irish Sea
Sea
Basin's oil and gas fields. It is not clear as yet whether aeromagnetic anomalies in the southeast of Caernarfon Bay
Caernarfon Bay
are imaging a continuation of the dyke swarm into this area too, or whether they are instead associated with deeply buried Permian
Permian
syn-rift volcanics. Alternatively, the fault block traps could have been recharged by exsolution of methane from formation brines as a direct result of the Tertiary uplift (cf. Doré and Jensen, 1996). Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
Basin[edit]

Cardigan Bay

The Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
Basin forms a continuation into British waters of Ireland's North Celtic Sea
Sea
Basin, which has two producing gas fields. The basin comprises a south-easterly deepening half-graben near the Welsh coastline, although its internal structure becomes increasingly complex towards the southwest. Permian
Permian
to Triassic, syn-rift sediments within the basin are less than 3 km (1.9 mi) thick and are overlain by up to 4 km (2.5 mi) of Jurassic
Jurassic
strata, and locally also by up to 2 km (1.2 mi) of Paleogene fluvio-deltaic sediments. The basin has a proven petroleum system, with potentially producible gas reserves at the Dragon discovery near the UK/ROI median line, and oil shows in a further three wells. The Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
Basin contains multiple reservoir targets, which include the Lower Triassic
Triassic
(Sherwood Sandstone), Middle Jurassic
Jurassic
shallow marine sandstones and limestone (Great Oolite), and Upper Jurassic fluvial sandstone, the reservoir for the Dragon discovery. The most likely hydrocarbon source rocks are Early Jurassic
Jurassic
marine mudstones. These are fully mature for oil generation in the west of the British sector, and are mature for gas generation nearby in the Irish sector. Gas-prone, Westphalian pre-rift coal measures may also be present at depth locally. The Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay
Basin was subjected to two Tertiary phases of compressive uplift, whereas maximum burial that terminated primary hydrocarbon generation was probably around the end of the Cretaceous, or earlier if Cretaceous
Cretaceous
strata, now missing, were never deposited in the basin. Despite the Tertiary structuration, the Dragon discovery has proved that potentially commercial volumes of hydrocarbons were retained at least locally in Cardigan Bay. In addition to undrilled structural traps, the basin contains untested potential for stratigraphic entrapment of hydrocarbons near synsedimentary faults, especially in the Middle Jurassic section.[14][15] Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay[edit] The Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay Development is BHP Billiton Petroleum's largest operated asset. It comprises the integrated development of five offshore oil and gas fields in the Irish Sea:

Douglas oil field Hamilton gas field Hamilton North gas field Hamilton East gas field Lennox oil and gas field

Oil is produced from the Lennox and Douglas fields. It is then treated at the Douglas Complex
Douglas Complex
and piped 17 km (11 mi) to an oil storage barge ready for export by tankers. Gas is produced from the Hamilton, Hamilton North and Hamilton East reservoirs. After initial processing at the Douglas Complex
Douglas Complex
the gas is piped by subsea pipeline to the Point of Ayr
Point of Ayr
gas terminal for further processing. The gas is then sent by onshore pipeline to PowerGen's combined cycle gas turbine power station at Connah's Quay. PowerGen
PowerGen
is the sole purchaser of gas from the Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay development. The Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay development comprises four offshore platforms. Offshore storage and loading facilities. The onshore gas processing terminal at Point of Ayr. Production first started at each filed as follows: Hamilton North in 1995, Hamilton in 1996, Douglas in 1996, Lennox (oil only) in 1996 and Hamilton East 2001. The first contract gas sales were in 1996. The quality of the water in Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay was historically contaminated by dumping of sewage sludge at sea[16] but this practice became illegal in December 1988 and no further sludge was deposited after that date.[17] East Irish Sea
Sea
Basin[edit]

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With 210 billion cubic metres (7.5 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas and 176 million barrels (28,000,000 m3) of petroleum estimated by the field operators as initially recoverable hydrocarbon reserves from eight producing fields (DTI, 2001), the East Irish Sea
Sea
Basin is at a mature exploration phase. Early Namurian basinal mudstones are the source rocks for these hydrocarbons. Production from all fields is from fault-bounded traps of the Lower Triassic
Triassic
formation, principally the aeolian Sherwood Sandstone reservoir, top-sealed by younger Triassic
Triassic
continental mudstones and evaporites. Future mineral exploration will initially concentrate on extending this play, but there remains largely untested potential also for gas and oil within widespread Carboniferous
Carboniferous
fluvial sandstone reservoirs. This play requires intraformational mudstone seal units to be present, as there is no top-seal for reservoirs subcropping the regional base Permian
Permian
unconformity in the east of the basin, and Carboniferous
Carboniferous
strata crop out at the sea bed in the west. Dalkey Island
Island
Exploration Prospect[edit] Previous exploration drilling in the Kish Bank
Kish Bank
Basin has confirmed the potential for petroleum generation with oil shows seen in a number of wells together with natural hydrocarbon seeps recorded from airborne surveys. New analysis of vintage 2-D seismic data has revealed the presence of a large undrilled structural closure at Lower Triassic level situated about 10 kilometres (6 mi) offshore Dublin. This feature, known as the Dalkey Island
Island
exploration prospect, may be prospective for oil, as there are prolific oil productive Lower Triassic
Triassic
reservoirs nearby in the eastern Irish Sea
Sea
offshore Liverpool. Whilst the Dalkey Island
Island
exploration prospect could contain about 870 million barrels (140,000,000 m3) of oil in place, this undrilled prospect still has significant risk and the partners are currently advancing a focused work programme in order to better understand and hopefully mitigate these risks. However, given its location in shallow water and close proximity to shore, the prospect is of great interest as exploration drilling, together with any future development costs, are likely to be low.[citation needed] Cities and towns[edit] Below is a list of cities and towns around the Irish Sea
Sea
coasts in order of size:

Rank City/town County Region/province Population Country

1 Dublin County Dublin Leinster 1,173,179 Republic of Ireland

2 Liverpool Merseyside North West 864,122 England

3 Belfast County Antrim Ulster 847,153 Northern Ireland

4 Blackpool Lancashire North West 142,065 England

5 Southport Merseyside North West 90,381 England

6 Birkenhead Merseyside North West 88,818 England

7 Bangor County Down Ulster 61,011 Northern Ireland

8 Wallasey Merseyside North West 60,284 England

9 Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria North West 56,745 England

10 Crosby Merseyside North West 51,789 England

11 Lytham St Annes Lancashire North West 42,954 England

12 Drogheda County Louth Leinster 40,956 Republic of Ireland

13 Dundalk County Louth Leinster 39,004 Republic of Ireland

14 Morecambe Lancashire North West 34,768 England

15 Bray County Wicklow Leinster 32,600 Republic of Ireland

16 Colwyn Bay Conwy Clwyd 31,353 Wales

17 Thornton-Cleveleys Lancashire North West 31,157 England

18 Douglas - Isle of Man 27,938 Isle of Man

19 Carrickfergus County Antrim Ulster 27,903 Northern Ireland

20 Dún Laoghaire Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown Leinster 26,525 Republic of Ireland

21 Fleetwood Lancashire North West 25,939 England

22 Workington Cumbria North West 25,207 England

23 Rhyl Denbighshire Clwyd 25,149 Wales

24 Whitehaven Cumbria North West 23,986 England

25 Llandudno Conwy Clwyd 20,701 Wales

26 Wexford County Wexford Leinster 20,188 Republic of Ireland

27 Larne County Antrim Ulster 18,775 Northern Ireland

28 Arklow County Wicklow Leinster 14,353 Republic of Ireland

29 Aberystwyth Ceredigion Dyfed 13,040 Wales

30 Holyhead Holy Island Isle of Anglesey 11,431 Wales

Islands[edit]

Listed are the islands in the Irish Sea
Sea
which are either at least one square kilometer in area, or which have a permanent population. Anglesey
Anglesey
and Holy Island
Island
are included separately.

Name Area (km²) Rank (area) Permanent Population[18] Rank (pop.) Country

Anglesey 675 01 56,092 02 Wales

Isle of Man[19] 572 02 84,497 01 Isle of Man

Holy Island 39 03 13,579 03 Wales

Walney Island[20] 13 04 11,388 04 England

Lambay Island 5.54 05 <10 08 Republic of Ireland

Bull Island 3 06 <20 07 Republic of Ireland

Ramsey Island 2.58 07 0 - Wales

Bardsey Island 1.79 09 <5 10 Wales

Calf of Man 2.50 08 0 - Isle of Man

Barrow Island Unknown - 2,616 05 England

Roa Island Unknown - 100 06 England

Ynys Gaint Unknown - <10 08 Wales

Piel Island 0.20 - <5 10 England

Ynys Castell Unknown - <5 10 Wales

Ynys Gored Goch 0.004 - <5 10 Wales

Environment[edit] The most accessible and possibly the greatest wildlife resource of the Irish Sea
Sea
lies in its estuaries: particularly the Dee Estuary, the Mersey Estuary, the Ribble Estuary, Morecambe
Morecambe
Bay, the Solway Firth, Loch Ryan, the Firth of Clyde, Belfast
Belfast
Lough, Strangford Lough, Carlingford Lough, Dundalk
Dundalk
Bay, Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay
and Wexford
Wexford
Harbour. However, a lot of wildlife also depends on the cliffs, salt marshes and sand dunes of the adjoining shores, the seabed and the open sea itself. The information on the invertebrates of the seabed of the Irish Sea
Sea
is rather patchy because it is difficult to survey such a large area, where underwater visibility is often poor and information often depends upon looking at material brought up from the seabed in mechanical grabs. However, the groupings of animals present depend to a large extent on whether the seabed is composed of rock, boulders, gravel, sand, mud or even peat. In the soft sediments seven types of community have been provisionally identified, variously dominated by brittle-stars, sea urchins, worms, mussels, tellins, furrow-shells, and tower-shells. Parts of the bed of the Irish Sea
Sea
are very rich in wildlife. The seabed southwest of the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
is particularly noted for its rarities and diversity,[21] as are the horse mussel beds of Strangford Lough. Scallops and queen scallops are found in more gravelly areas. In the estuaries, where the bed is more sandy or muddy, the number of species is smaller but the size of their populations is larger. Brown shrimp, cockles and edible mussels support local fisheries in Morecambe
Morecambe
Bay and the Dee Estuary
Dee Estuary
and the estuaries are also important as nurseries for flatfish, herring and sea bass. Muddy seabeds in deeper waters are home to populations of the Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay
prawn, also known as "scampi".[22] The open sea is a complex habitat in its own right. It exists in three spatial dimensions and also varies over time and tide. For example, where freshwater flows into the Irish Sea
Sea
in river estuaries its influence can extend far offshore as the freshwater is lighter and "floats" on top of the much larger body of saltwater until wind and temperature changes mix it in. Similarly, warmer water is less dense and seawater warmed in the inter-tidal zone may "float" on the colder offshore water. The amount of light penetrating the seawater also varies with depth and turbidity. This leads to differing populations of plankton in different parts of the sea and varying communities of animals that feed on these populations. However, increasing seasonal storminess leads to greater mixing of water and tends to break down these divisions, which are more apparent when the weather is calm for long periods. Plankton
Plankton
includes bacteria, plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that drift in the sea. Most are microscopic, but some, such as the various species of jellyfish and sea gooseberry, can be much bigger. Diatoms and dinoflagellates dominate the phytoplankton. Although they are microscopic plants, diatoms have hard shells and dinoflagellates have little tails that propel them through the water. Phytoplankton populations in the Irish Sea
Sea
have a spring "bloom" every April and May, when the seawater is generally at its greenest. Crustaceans, especially copepods, dominate the zooplankton. However, many animals of the seabed, the open sea and the seashore spend their juvenile stages as part of the zooplankton. The whole plankton "soup" is vitally important, directly or indirectly, as a food source for most species in the Irish Sea, even the largest. The enormous basking shark, for example, lives entirely on plankton and the leatherback turtle's main food is jellyfish. A colossal diversity of invertebrate species live in the Irish Sea
Sea
and its surrounding coastline, ranging from flower-like fan-worms to predatory swimming crabs to large chameleon-like cuttlefish.[22] Some of the most significant for other wildlife are the reef-building species like the inshore horse mussel of Strangford Lough
Strangford Lough
and the inter-tidal honeycomb worm of Morecambe
Morecambe
Bay, Cumbria
Cumbria
and Lancashire. These build up large structures over many years and, in turn, provide surfaces, nooks and crannies where other marine animals and plants may become established and live out some or all of their lives. There are quite regular records of live and stranded leatherback turtle in and around the Irish Sea. This species travels north to the waters off the British Isles
British Isles
every year following the swarms of jellyfish that form its prey. Loggerhead turtle, Ridley sea turtle
Ridley sea turtle
and green turtle are found very occasionally in the Irish Sea
Sea
but are generally unwell or dead when discovered. They have strayed or been swept out of their natural range further south into colder waters.[23] The estuaries of the Irish Sea
Sea
are of international importance for birds. They are vital feeding grounds on migration flyways for shorebirds travelling between the Arctic
Arctic
and Africa. Others depend on the milder climate as a refuge when continental Europe is in the grip of winter.[22] Twenty-one species of seabird are reported as regularly nesting on beaches or cliffs around the Irish Sea. Huge populations of the sea duck, common scoter, spend winters feeding in shallow waters off eastern Ireland, Lancashire
Lancashire
and North Wales.[22] Whales, dolphins and porpoises all frequent the Irish Sea, but knowledge of how many there may be and where they go is somewhat sketchy. About a dozen species have been recorded since 1980, but only three are seen fairly often. These are the harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin and common dolphin. The more rarely seen species are minke whale, fin whale, sei whale, humpback whale, North Atlantic Right Whales[24] which are now considered to be almost extinct in eastern North Atlantic, sperm whale, northern bottlenose whale, long-finned pilot whale, orca, white-beaked dolphin, striped dolphin and Risso's dolphin.[22] In 2005, a plan to reintroduce grey whales by airlifting 50 of them from the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
to the Irish Sea
Sea
was claimed to be logically and ethically feasible;[25] it had not been implemented by 2013. The common or harbour seal and the grey seal are both resident in the Irish Sea. Common seals breed in Strangford Lough, grey seals in southwest Wales
Wales
and, in small numbers, on the Isle of Man. Grey seals haul out, but do not breed, off Hilbre and Walney islands, Merseyside, the Wirral, St Annes, Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness
Borough, and Cumbria.[22] Radioactivity[edit] The Irish Sea
Sea
has been described by Greenpeace
Greenpeace
as the most radioactively contaminated sea in the world with some "eight million litres of nuclear waste" discharged into it each day from Sellafield reprocessing plants, contaminating seawater, sediments and marine life.[26] Low-level radioactive waste has been discharged into the Irish Sea
Sea
as part of operations at Sellafield
Sellafield
since 1952. The rate of discharge began to accelerate in the mid- to late 1960s, reaching a peak in the 1970s and generally declining significantly since then. As an example of this profile, discharges of plutonium (specifically 241Pu) peaked in 1973 at 2,755 terabecquerels (74,500 Ci)[27] falling to 8.1 TBq (220 Ci) by 2004.[28] Improvements in the treatment of waste in 1985 and 1994 resulted in further reductions in radioactive waste discharge although the subsequent processing of a backlog resulted in increased discharges of certain types of radioactive waste. Discharges of technetium in particular rose from 6.1 TBq (160 Ci) in 1993 to a peak of 192 TBq (5,200 Ci) in 1995 before dropping back to 14 TBq (380 Ci) in 2004.[27][28] In total 22 petabecquerels (590 kCi) of 241Pu was discharged over the period 1952 to 1998.[29] Current rates of discharge for many radionuclides are at least 100 times lower than they were in the 1970s.[30] Analysis[31][32] of the distribution of radioactive contamination after discharge reveals that mean sea currents result in much of the more soluble elements such as caesium being flushed out of the Irish Sea
Sea
through the North Channel about a year after discharge. Measurements of technetium concentrations post-1994 has produced estimated transit times to the North Channel of around six months with peak concentrations off the northeast Irish coast occurring 18–24 months after peak discharge. Less soluble elements such as plutonium are subject to much slower redistribution. Whilst concentrations have declined in line with the reduction in discharges they are markedly higher in the eastern Irish Sea
Sea
compared to the western areas. The dispersal of these elements is closely associated with sediment activity, with muddy deposits on the seabed acting as sinks, soaking up an estimated 200 kg (440 lb) of plutonium.[33] The highest concentration is found in the eastern Irish Sea
Sea
in sediment banks lying parallel to the Cumbrian coast. This area acts as a significant source of wider contamination as radionuclides are dissolved once again. Studies have revealed that 80% of current sea water contamination by caesium is sourced from sediment banks, whilst plutonium levels in the western sediment banks between the Isle of Man and the Irish coast are being maintained by contamination redistributed from the eastern sediment banks. The consumption of seafood harvested from the Irish Sea
Sea
is the main pathway for exposure of humans to radioactivity.[34] The environmental monitoring report for the period 2003 to 2005 published by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland
Ireland
(RPII) reported that in 2005 average quantities of radioactive contamination found in seafood ranged from less than 1 Bq/kg (12 pCi/lb) for fish to under 44 Bq/kg (540 pCi/lb) for mussels.[35] Doses of man-made radioactivity received by the heaviest consumers of seafood in Ireland in 2005 was 1.10 μSv (0.000110 rem).[36] This compares with a corresponding dosage of radioactivity naturally occurring in the seafood consumed by this group of 148 μSv (0.0148 rem) and a total average dosage in Ireland
Ireland
from all sources of 3,620 μSv (0.362 rem).[37] In terms of risk to this group, heavy consumption of seafood generates a 1 in 18 million chance of causing cancer. The general risk of contracting cancer in Ireland
Ireland
is 1 in 522. In the UK, the heaviest seafood consumers in Cumbria
Cumbria
received a radioactive dosage attributable to Sellafield
Sellafield
discharges of 220 μSv (0.022 rem) in 2005.[38] This compares to average annual dose of naturally sourced radiation received in the UK of 2,230 μSv (0.223 rem).[39] Proposed tunnel projects[edit] Main article: Irish Sea
Sea
fixed crossing Discussions of linking Britain to Ireland
Ireland
began in 1895,[40] with an application for £15,000 towards the cost of carrying out borings and soundings in the North Channel to see if a tunnel between Ireland
Ireland
and Scotland
Scotland
was viable. Sixty years later, Harford Montgomery Hyde, Unionist MP for North Belfast, called for the building of such a tunnel.[41] A tunnel project has been discussed several times in the Irish parliament.[42][43][44][45] The idea for a 21-mile (34 km) long rail bridge or tunnel continues to be mooted. Several potential projects have been proposed, including one between Dublin
Dublin
and Holyhead put forward in 1997 by the British engineering firm Symonds. At 50 miles (80 km), it would have been by far the longest rail tunnel on earth with an estimated cost approaching £20 billion.[46] Wind power[edit]

Barrow Offshore windfarm, off Walney Island

See also: List of offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea An offshore wind farm was developed on the Arklow
Arklow
Bank,[47] Arklow Bank Wind Park, about 10 km (6.2 mi) off the coast of County Wicklow in the south Irish Sea. The site currently has seven GE 3.6 MW turbines, each with 104-metre (341 ft) diameter rotors, the world's first commercial application of offshore wind turbines over three megawatts in size. The operating company, Airtricity, has indefinite plans for nearly 100 further turbines on the site. Further wind turbine sites include:

The North Hoyle
North Hoyle
site 8 kilometres (5 mi) off the coast from Rhyl and Prestatyn
Prestatyn
in North Wales, containing thirty 2 MW turbines.[48] operated by NPower Renewables Burbo Bank site 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) off the north Wirral coast Robin Rigg Wind Farm
Robin Rigg Wind Farm
in the Solway Firth Thirty 90-metre (300 ft) 3 MW turbines are operating in a wind farm 7 km (4.3 mi) the coast of Walney Island.[49] Turbines are being erected off the coast of Clogherhead
Clogherhead
(to be called the Oriel Wind Farm)[50]

In popular culture[edit]

During World War I
World War I
the Irish Sea
Sea
became known as " U-boat
U-boat
Alley", because the U-boats moved their emphasis from the Atlantic to the Irish Sea
Sea
after the United States entered the war in 1917.[51][52]

The Port of Barrow-in-Furness, one of Britain's largest shipbuilding centres and home to the United Kingdom's only submarine-building complex, is only a minor port.

The Irish Sea
Sea
figures prominently in the Mabinogion. In the second branch of the Mabinogion
Mabinogion
the Irish Sea
Sea
is crossed from the south to Harlech
Harlech
by Matholwch, the Irish King, who has come to seek the hand of Branwen ferch Llŷr, sister of Bendigeidfran, King of the Island
Island
of the Mighty. Branwen and Matholwch marry, but when she becomes abused by Matholwch, her brother crosses the sea from Wales
Wales
to Ireland
Ireland
to rescue her. Within the story the Irish Sea
Sea
is said to be shallow; in addition it contains two rivers, the Lli and the Archan.[53]

The fictional Sodor, an island in both Wilbert Awdry's The Railway Series and the children's TV show, Thomas and Friends, is located in the Irish Sea.[54]

See also[edit]

List of crossings of the Irish Sea Transport in Ireland Transport in the United Kingdom Transport on the Isle of Man

References[edit]

^ "Muir Éireann". téarma.ie – Dictionary of Irish Terms. Foras na Gaeilge and Dublin
Dublin
City University. Retrieved 18 Nov 2016.  ^ "Ellan Vannin" (in Manx). Centre for Manx Studies ("Laare-Studeyrys Manninagh"). Archived from the original on 4 March 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.  ^ Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies, Issues 33–35 University of Cambridge (Gran Bretaña). Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic 1997 ^ a b "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition + corrections" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1971. p. 42 [corrections to page 12]. Retrieved 6 February 2010.  ^ Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language[permanent dead link] ^ Bannerman, David Armitage (1963). The Birds of the British Isles: Volume 12. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd. p. 84.  ^ The Caledonian. New York: Caledonian Publishing Co. 4: 25. 1903.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Irish Sea
Sea
Facts". Irish Sea
Sea
Conservation. Retrieved 3 July 2011.  ^ M J Howarth. "Hydrography of the Irish Sea" (PDF). United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry. Retrieved 2 February 2015.  ^ Port Statistics, (Link), Mersey Docks Website ^ UK Port Traffic Highlights: 2002, (pdf), UK Maritime Statistics, Dept of Transport ^ Direct Passenger Movement by Sea
Sea
from and to Ireland
Ireland
(Republic), (link), Central Statistics Office of Ireland ^ "SailRail". Irishrail.ie. Retrieved 16 April 2015.  ^ "Petroleum prospectivity of the principal sedimentary basins on the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Continental Shelf" (pdf), Department of Trade and Industry, 2003 ^ Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay, England
England
(Link), BHP Oil Ltd ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Irish Sea. eds. P.Saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC ^ Hansard - Pollution of Liverpool
Liverpool
Bay ^ Population figures are from 2001 Census, except: Isle of Man, from 2006. Populations of smaller islands are estimated at 5 per known inhabited house ^ Isle of Man
Isle of Man
Census 2006 Archived 17 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (excluding the population of 2 living on the Calf of Man) ^ National Statistics – Walney North (Ward) and Walney South (Ward) ^ Barne, J.H., Robson, C.F., Kaznowska, S.S., Doody, J.P., & Davidson, N.C., eds. 1996. Coasts and seas of the United Kingdom. Region 13 Northern Irish Sea: Colwyn Bay
Colwyn Bay
to Stranraer, including the Isle of Man. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, ISBN 1-873701-87-X ^ a b c d e f Irish Sea
Sea
Study Group Report, Part 1, NATURE CONSERVATION, Liverpool
Liverpool
University Press, 1990 ISBN 0-85323-227-X ^ Irish Sea
Sea
Leatherback Turtle Project – aiming to understand the populations, origins and behaviour of leatherback turtles in the Irish Sea
Sea
http://www.jellyfish.ie/turtle.asp ^ "Background Document for the Northern right whale Eubalaena glacialis" (PDF). The OSPAR Convention
OSPAR Convention
(496). 2010. ISBN 978-1-907390-37-1. Retrieved 2015-01-03.  ^ "Plan to bring grey whales back to Britain". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2013.  ^ Sellafield
Sellafield
nuclear reprocessing facility, (Link) Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine., Greenpeace ^ a b The Past, Current and Future Radiological Impact of the Sellafield
Sellafield
Marine Discharges on the People Living in the Coastal Communities Surrounding the Irish Sea, (Link), Environment Agency
Environment Agency
– Table 3 ^ a b Monitoring our Environment – Discharges and Monitoring in the UK – Annual Report 2004, (Link), British Nuclear Group
British Nuclear Group
– Table 2 ^ León Vintró et al. (2000), p. 2. ^ Quality Status Report – Regional QSR III, (Link) Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., OSPAR
OSPAR
– Chapter 4 Chemistry, p64 ^ León Vintró et al. (2000), sections 3–4. ^ McMahon et al., 2005, (Link), Transfer of conservative and non-conservative radionuclides from the Sellafield
Sellafield
Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing plant to the coastal waters of Ireland ^ Quality Status Report – Regional QSR III, (Link) Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., OSPAR
OSPAR
– Chapter 4 Chemistry, p66 ^ Ryan et al. (2005), p. 7. ^ Ryan et al. (2005), Table 45. ^ Ryan et al. (2005), p. 26. ^ Ryan et al. (2005), p. 27. ^ Radioactivity in Food and the Environment 2005, (Link), Cefas
Cefas
– p11 ^ Watson et al., 2005 (Link), Health Protection Agency
Health Protection Agency
– Ionising Radiation Exposure of the UK Population: 2005 Review ^ "TUNNEL UNDER THE SEA", The Washington Post, 2 May 1897 (Archive link) ^ "An Irishman's Diary" by Wesley Boyd, (Link), The Irish Times, Feb 2004 (subscription required) ^ Written Answers. – Sea
Sea
Transport, (Link) Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
– Volume 384 – 16 November 1988 ^ Written Answers. – Irish Sea
Sea
Railway Ferry, (Link) Archived 29 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine., Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
– Volume 434 – 19 October 1993 ^ Written Answers. – Ireland-UK Tunnel, (Link), Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
– Volume 517 – 29 March 2000 ^ Written Answers – Transport Projects, (Link), Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
– Volume 597 – 15 February 2005 ^ Bridge to Northern Ireland
Ireland
mooted, BBC
BBC
News Scotland, 22 August 2007 ^ " Arklow
Arklow
Bank Wind Park". Airtricity.  ^ Northhoyle ^ "Barrow Offshore windfarm".  ^ Oriel Wind project status ^ U-Boat Alley by Roy Stokes, published by Compuwreck, ISBN 0-9549186-0-6 ^ The War in Maps: The Irish Sea, (Link), UBoat.net ^ Williams, Ifor. Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi. University of Wales Press.  ^ "Where is Sodor, home of Thomas the Tank Engine?". BBC. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]

Luis León Vintró; Kilian J. Smith; Julie A. Lucey; Peter I. Mitchell (4–6 December 2000). The environmental impact of the Sellafield discharges (PDF). SCOPE-RADSITE Workshop. Brussels.  R. W. Ryan; A. Dowdall; M. F. Fegan; E. Hayden; K. Kelleher; S. Long; I. McEvoy; L. McKittrick; C. A. McMahon; M. Murray; K. Smith; S. Sequeira; J. Wong; D. Pollard. Radioactive Monitoring of the Irish Environment 2003–2005 (PDF). Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

Cowsill, Miles; Hislip, Gordon (2016). Ferries of the Irish Sea: across four decades. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608644.  Herdman, W.A.; Dawson, Robert A. (1902). Fishes and fisheries of the Irish Sea. London: George Philip & Son Ltd. 

External links[edit]

Look up irish sea in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Fylde Coast Marine Life Project Irish Sea
Sea
Conservation Zones The Wildlife
Wildlife
Trusts Living Seas – Irish Sea

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