Marine

Marine Content

Our maritime heritage has cultural, physical and ecological dimensions. It embraces the legacies of past generations their traditions and natural features of both coastal and offshore environments.

Bere Island Conservation Plan

Bere Island is located in Bantry Bay on the eastern side of the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. The population of the island had been in decline for many years and it became apparent that significant development was required on the island if a viable and vibrant community was to remain into the future. Since the natural and cultural heritage of the island is largely unrecorded, unprotected and unmaintained, there was concern among islanders that ‘development’ would have a negative impact on the island’s heritage. Conversely, there was a perception that heritage conservation could limit the potential for development on the island and thus negatively impact on the long-term viability of the island population.

From this potential conflict of interest was born the concept of a Conservation Plan for the island that would address both heritage conservation and the sustainable development of the island, taking into account the environmental, social and economic aspects of future developments. The Plan was developed by the Bere Island Community with assistance from a consortium of specialist consultants and co-funded by Cork County Council and the Heritage Council. It is not an economic development plan for the island but a framework within which any subsequent development plan should operate.

View Conservation Plan: Bere Island, Co. Cork (2003) [pdf 7.65mb].


The Heritage Council provided funding for the initial implementation stage of the plan and continues to fund a coordinator who has been in place on the island since 2004. Bere Island Projects Group (BIPG) now works on the implementation of policies proposed in the plan, including initiatives relating to:

  • aquaculture
  • agriculture
  • waste management
  • heritage and tourism 

The island is also taking part in ISLA, an INTERREG project which is examining governance issues on small islands throughout Europe. With Heritage Council support, the BIPG published a Heritage Guide to Bere Island, please contact BIPG for a copy on (027) 75009. 

This project received €20,000 in grant-aid under the Heritage Management Scheme in 2012 and in 2011.