Wilkins Noël P.
Alive Alive O! The Shellfish and Shell-fisheries of Ireland

Alive Alive O! The Shellfish and Shell-fisheries of Ireland


ISBN: 978-1-873821-299-6

23.0 x 21.00 cm  illustrated in colour and monochrome 


After a long period of neglect, Ireland is once again embracing its marine resources as the patrimony of the nation. And we are doing it in a way that enhances our environment and further enriches our diet. Many of our Continental visitors know and appreciate the value and the benefits of our shellfish. It is we ourselves who need reminding of our country's long love  affair with them (and their contribution, in turn, to our love affairs!). Drawing on mythology, archaeology, history, oral tradition, biology,  economics and a wealth of personal experience Alive, Alive-O tells the story of Ireland's shellfish and shellfisheries.

Our Bronze Age ancestors gathered them in their millions; St. Patrick sheltered inside one of them; they staved off famine for the hungry poor; the rich and famous roistered with them; Countesses built houses with them; pilgrims wore them as badges; Aran islanders used them as lamps, and Molly Malone hawked them around the streets of late Victorian Dublin crying 'Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive-O!'­ at tuppence a quart. Some species were the fast food of the industrial revolution; others are a new and exotic addition to the modern diet.

These are just some elements of the story of Irish shellfish. In our long history we have used and abused them, embedding them in our legislation and in our languages ­ Irish and English ­ as firmly as they embedded themselves in the limestone bedrock of our country over 400 million years ago. Today the humble shellfish of Ireland support an industry worth almost thirty million euro annually that gives employment, confidence and sustainability to our coastal communities. But in some sad cases the wild stocks are being driven to extinction by overfishing and greed.

This book is a beginning to the celebration of one of our prime marine resources. Sampling the recipes given will be even more enjoyable. Cherishing, sustaining and respecting the traditions and lifestyles of our coastal communities are the ultimate goals that this book aims to achieve.


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