Thanks to this generous bursary, I have the maps out. This award, inaugurated in 2014 to commemorate UCD graduate and world-renowned author Maeve Binchy, was open to students in the School of English, Film and Drama. It was created to fund a travel opportunity that would enhance creative writing, which is why I’m off to explore the sea areas of the Shipping Forecast in a project called The General Synopsis at Midnight.
Broadcast four times a day on BBC Radio 4 – and with a record listenership of 11 million – during the day the Shipping Forecast for most of us landlubbers is a brief respite from work, and at night, a lullaby. It is a series of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the British Isles and Ireland. The thirty-one areas are named in a roughly clockwise direction beginning near the coast of Norway with Viking, North Utsire and South Utsire. It moves down towards Plymouth, around to Fastnet, the Irish Sea and Shannon, and extends as far as the coast of Spain (Biscay) and the controversially-named Fitzroy, until it ends in what must be some very chilly waters off southeast Iceland. Follow my travels – which begin on land at the UK Met Office in Exeter – on twitter @hmckervey and here. If you’d sooner hear about the project than read about it, you can listen me talking about it on the Marian Finucane RTE 1 radio show on May 31st here and on September 20th here.
Update: everywhere I went (and didn’t go) is covered in various blog posts from July 2014 to November 2014.
(The piece behind the mug featuring the two lads is by artist Mark Clare)