easkey britton

SeaFest Speaker Profile: Dr. Easkey Britton


Donegal native, big wave surfer and marine social scientist Dr Easkey Britton joins our line-up of inspirational speakers at SeaFest this Friday, June 30 at 5pm.

A post-doctoral research fellow at the Whitaker Institute, NUIG and member of the research cluster for Social Innovation, Participation and Policy (SIPP), Dr. Easkey Britton co-leads the interdisciplinary NEAR-Health work package on nature-based solutions: a framework to use coastal blue and green space to restore health and wellbeing.  Britton also holds an honorary visiting research fellowship in Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato. A marine social scientist with a PhD in Environment and Society from University of Ulster, Easkey is channeling her passion for surfing and the sea into social change.

Her parents taught her to surf when she was four years old and her life has revolved around the ocean ever since. A recent graduate from THNK’s School of Creative leadership,  Easkey’s work is deeply influenced by the ocean and the lessons learned pioneering women’s big-wave surfing at spots like Mullaghmore, Co.Sligo, which led her to be invited to give an inspiring TEDx talk in 2013: Just Add Surf and awarded a World Surfing League big wave nomination of the year in 2011 and 2013.

Passionate about the power of the sea to connect, she convenes & facilitates gatherings and workshops on leadership & social change globally.  Presenter & co-producer of the award winning documentary on women surfing Iran, ‘Into the Sea’, Britton recently founded Like Water, a social change initiative that seeks to foster positive relationships with water and the sea through immersive learning experiences and visual, creative storytelling.

See our full line-up for SeaFest here

For more about Dr. Easkey Britton:

Social media: @easkeysurf

Web: easkeybritton.com

For more on her research at the Whitaker Institute visit whitakerinstitute.ie/project/near-health and LikeWater.blue

Prannie Rhatigan

Prannie Rhatigan, Irish Seaweed Kitchen

Prannie Rhatigan is a medical doctor with a lifetime experience of harvesting, cooking and gardening organically with sea vegetables. Born and raised in the North West of Ireland where she still lives, she has a lifelong interest in the connections between food and health.

She holds a BA Honours degree in psychology ( NUI Galway), a medical degree, (NUI Cork) and is a qualified General Practitioner. She has worked on the National Cardiovascular Strategy programme and represented the Irish College of General Practitioners on the National Steering Group for the implementation of “Smoke Free at Work” in Ireland. She was a tutor with the ICGP for many years, training GPs in the skill of Brief Intervention and Motivational Interviewing. An experienced GP she now works mainly in Public Health.

Hailed as “Ireland’s leading seaweed expert” in Food and Wine in June 2012 she has represented Ireland’s finest food abroad on many occasions and has given workshops and lectures on sea vegetables and cooking. She delivered the President’s address to the PSA (Phycological Society of America, Seattle) in 2011 and facilitated a workshop on seaweed cooking with seaweed researchers in the USA. She shared her knowledge and gave a seaweed cookery demo at the Nordic Food Lab in Denmark when it was the research arm of Noma (awarded Best Restaurant in the World on three occasions). She has been featured on many TV and radio programmes both nationally and abroad. Read more

Ian Mitchinson

Ian Mitchinson, Adventure Photographer

South African Ian Mitchinson is a water and surf photographer, filmmaker and editor who lives in Bundoran, Co Donegal, right on the doorstep of some of Ireland’s best surf spots 

He has been a professional photographer since 2005, and before that worked as a photographer’s assistant for a number of years. Ian also produces films and video projects.

See Ian Mitchinson speak in our LookWest.ie Marquee at SeaFest on Saturday, 01 July at 5pm Read more

achill sea salt

Mayo family business selected to share story about living and working in the West at SeaFest

A family business from Mayo has been selected to represent the West of Ireland at SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival.

Mother and daughter Marjorie and Maebh O’Malley of Achill Island Sea Salt will speak about their experiences of living and working in Mayo at a dedicated LookWest.ie Marquee.

SeaFest, which takes place in Galway from June 30 to July 2, will highlight Ireland’s abundant maritime resources and transform Galway Harbour and Docks into an open-air sea world for three days.

LookWest.ie will be hosting its own Marquee at SeaFest and treating visitors to three days of exciting and inspiring events focusing on creative business and lifestyle in the West of Ireland.

o malley family

The O’Malley family behind Achill Island Sea Salt has been selected to tell its inspiring story at the LookWest.ie Marquee which will host a number of keynote speakers, fun performances and a showcase of brilliant West of Ireland products and businesses all inspired by the sea and surfing culture.

The inspiration behind the Achill Island Sea Salt, which was founded in July 2013, was a documentary on sea salt and the desire to revive the age old but long forgotten tradition of salt production on the island up to the 1820s.

“We had no food background and just started to make it at the kitchen table and sell it at a farmers’ market to see how it would go but we couldn’t keep up with the demand, especially from chefs. We didn’t really have a choice then but to keep going,” says Maebh O’Malley who came home from Dublin to join the family business.

Also working in the business is her parents Marjorie and Kieran and her brother Sean – with third sibling Colm expected to join once he has the Leaving Cert behind him!

“I thought I would probably end up working in Dublin or Galway but it is great to be able to work and build a business in Achill, right on the beach. I grew up by the sea so it is amazing to be able to make our business out of the sea,” says Maebh.

She said the family have plans to open a visitors’ centre next year to bring people to see the factory.

“People are always looking for an experience, especially in the food tourism area. We want to put Achill on the map as a food destination. There are a lot of food producers in Mayo and, by bringing them to Achill, we can showcase the thriving industry that we have.”

LookWest.ie experts will be on hand to discuss creative ideas for new businesses and advise people on how they might make their own move to a new and fulfilling life in the West of Ireland, one of Europe’s great unspoiled regions.

As well as opportunities to ‘meet and greet’ speakers and businesses in LookWest.ie’s showcase area from 10am – 6pm each day, there will be some great prizes and giveaways on offer too.

LookWest.ie is also partnering with the Irish Surf Festival, Shore Shots, to celebrate the very best in surfing, film, ideas and discovery on the west coast. Unique and inspiring films and videos produced along the West Coast by filmmakers and videographers will be shown at the LookWest.ie Marquee throughout the three days.

Karen Sweeney of the Western Development Commission said:

“We are delighted to be part of the SeaFest 2017 experience for what is set to be an exciting, fun and educational weekend.

“We pride ourselves on promoting the West of Ireland as a great place to live, work and do business through our LookWest.ie campaign. The West of Ireland is known for its creativity, beauty, lifestyle and, of course, that Wild Atlantic coastline but also as a place where businesses can thrive and grow.

“Come meet us at our LookWest.ie Marquee; each day we will have a bumper schedule to educate, entertain and encourage people to dream their own big move to the beautiful West.”

Read the Achill Island Sea Salt Case Study here.


Barry Mottershead

Barry Mottershead, Sligo Kayak Tours

Sligo Kayak Tours is a small, locally-owned and operated business which strives to be an industry leader in sustainable tourism.

Owner Barry Mottershead grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. His life revolved around the outdoors and the ocean and at the age of eighteen he came to Ireland on a surfing holiday and fell in love with the culture, waves and scenery of Co. Sligo.

He has lived in the area for 10 years and is passionate about exploring the coastline and mountains that are on offer. An enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable attitude makes Barry the perfect guide for your sea kayaking adventures. Barry is also a big wave surfer, he is a regular fixture at Mullaghmore and the local reef breaks of County Sligo.

Barry Mottershead joins our schedule of Creative Entrepreneurs speaking at SeaFest. Barry speaks on Friday, 30 June at 3pm.

Read more

Secret Life of Plastic

Creative Entrepreneur: Oonagh Herbert, Secret Life of Plastic

The Secret Life of Plastic is a small Upcycling/Recycling enterprise in County Clare which Oonagh Herbert set-up in 2015.  

The Secret Life of Plastic offers an engaging, curious and tactile view of our plastic waste problem. She creates a range of sculptures that explore the issues of plastic in our oceans now, and also futuristic possibilities of where we are heading if this addiction to single-use disposable plastic continues.

Through these pieces, Oonagh hopes to offer people the chance to place a new value on this waste, to understand its origin and the long journey this material takes before it ends up as a disposable cup or fork or straw.

Read more

Fins Fit Foods

Creative Entrepreneur: Finn Ní Fhaoláin

Finn Ní Fhaoláin is a cook, blogger and creative entrepreneur living in Bundoran, Co Donegal.

Most of us start our day with coffee and a commute; Finn starts hers with surfing. With her twin passions of food and the sea, Finn’s philosophy is that as long as she is never far from either, it’s been a good day at the office!

When she was 19, after a period of debilitating illness, she was diagnosed with coeliac disease, and a radical overhaul of her vegetarian diet was required. As she started to experiment with food, her interest in food and in cooking grew, and she began cooking gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan food for events at her father’s business, Gyreum Ecolodge in Sligo.

She recently completed a culinary course, but her background is actually marine science. In university she completed a BSc in Earth and Ocean Science and an MSc in Marine Biology and worked for some time afterwards on scientific research ships.

In 2017 she released her cookery book Finn’s World: Do what you love. Love what you eat featuring gluten-free recipes.

We are delighted that Finn will be speak in the LookWest.ie Marquee at SeaFest at 4pm on Friday, 30 June.

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achill sea salt

The O’Malley Family: Achill Island Sea Salt

Achill Island Sea Salt was founded by the O’Malley family in July 2013. 

Their process remains simple, they collect the water from the Atlantic waters that surround Achill Island and using a combination of modern and traditional techniques they slowly evaporate the seawater until the sea salt flakes are formed. These flakes are then carefully harvested and dried. This slow method of production allows for the creation of pure white sea salt that is soft and flaky and known for its quality and unique taste. Read more

Ashleigh Smith

Creative Entrepreneur: Ashleigh Smith, Atlantic Equipment Project

In 2014 Sligo native Ashleigh Smith founded a small and special brand called The Atlantic Equipment Project. She designs and manufactures a growing collection of backpacks and satchels, inspired by Atlantic adventure.

A youth spent exploring the rockpools and surfing the powerful waves along this coastline, partnered with an education in Industrial Design and the design process led her to setting up her business.

From this, she created a family of products designed to support the experience of wilderness. AEP champions natural fabrics, small supply chains, and classic minimal design to deliver beautiful and functional bags.

Ashleigh sells her bags on her website and in selected shops.

Ashleigh will speak in the LookWest.ie Marquee at SeaFest on Friday, 30 June at 1pm. See full details of LookWest.ie at SeaFest here.

Read more

Martina Hamilton

Creative Entrepreneur: Martina Hamilton

Martina Hamilton is a jewellery designer, retailer and gallery owner based in Sligo.

Together with a small family team of master goldsmiths she designs and makes contemporary jewellery collections. She owns The Cat and the Moon craft shop in Sligo, which showcases a selection of Ireland’s leading craft makers and designers. She also owns and and curates the Hamilton Gallery in Sligo which hosts monthly solo exhibitions by Ireland’s leading visual artists. Martina Hamilton Jewellery also offers a bespoke commissioning service.

She has enjoyed many prestigious commissions, including the creation of bespoke cuff links for President Barack Obama during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC in 2016. Martina has won numerous awards for her jewellery collections from DCCOI, Showcase Ireland and IJL  (International Jewellery London).

Martina is also an elected member of the Design and Craft Council of Ireland, a member of the Made in Sligo Network, Craftfest, and Yeats Day Committees.

Martina will speak in the LookWest.ie Marquee at SeaFest on Sunday, 02 July at 1pm. See full details of LookWest.ie at SeaFest here. Read more