Here in Ireland, the topic that stands out the most to me and is a reoccurring discussion is water. They seem to have different means of water systems and conservation compared to what we are used to in the United States. So far on our trip we have stayed in four hostels and out of all four of them, three had push button showers. This is one of the best ways to conserve water that we don’t even know we aren’t using while in the shower. I was nervous and annoyed about having to use this system of showering, however in I got used to it very quickly. I also noticed that it was a better way of showering especially in the small stalls because I could wash my body with soap or shave while no water was coming down. There is an underlying theme throughout most of Ireland that suggests the conservation of energy and resources. This is because in some parts of Ireland (the ones we visited) there is a limited amount of these resources, so they had to find ways to use them sparingly. Water fits into these categories because preserving fresh, clean water is important and necessary for the lives of the people living here. I also noticed that with the sinks there is a common trend of not having a lot of water pressure and therefore using less water. They also have timed sinks to make sure there is less water use. In the hostels, some of them don’t have hot water all the time. For the Valley House, hot water turned on from 6-9 pm and 6-9 am to conserve energy.
Before we came to Inis Mór, our professor, June Speakman was telling us about how on the last trip, the island was in the middle of a “severe water crisis,” but this years winter was a lot more wet and rainy so their water supply would be enough for the summer. It is crazy to think that the people who live on the island rely on the weather to support their supply of water, and I’ve never experienced being in a water crisis.
Another interesting topic about water is the issue with plastic water bottles. Over in the United States, plastic water bottles are nearly everywhere, including both for sale stores and littering the beaches. They recently banned plastic products in Ireland and are moving towards different, more sustainable ways to in which to sell water. I think this is a great idea, however, it’s going to take a lot more time and effort for the United States to get on board. I wonder what materials they are going use to replace the plastic of the water bottles.
Overall, there is a definitely a large attempt to conserve water here in Ireland and I would love to see how much water things like push button showers actually save over a period of time. Here in Inis Mór, we are surrounded by salt water, but that can’t be used to drink. When we traveled to the Killary farm, the water there was brackish-half salt and half fresh water, and that is also not drinkable, but as we saw, it is perfect to grow things like oysters, clams and mussels in.