A former fish processing plant in Dingle is making waves with its innovative venture, the Wild Atlantic Virtual Experience (WAVE). This high-tech marine visitor attraction, spearheaded by the visionary Keane family of Ó Catháin Iasc Teo, immerses visitors in the world of the ocean using Ireland’s largest 360-degree LED screen.
WAVE tells the story of marine life through the perspectives of local fishermen and women, featuring beloved characters like Fungi the Dolphin through lifelike computer-generated imagery. The experience also delves into shipwrecks, sea myths, and legends, offering encounters with majestic whales, seals, and other marine creatures.
With a total project cost exceeding €1.35 million, the initiative received over €177,000 in grant aid from the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, recommended by the Seafood Taskforce and implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
Michael Keane, citing climate change’s impact on fisheries, explains the necessity of diversifying their business. Wave, housed in their former fish processing facility, offers virtual excursions through sunken ships and undersea societies, emphasizing sea mythology and Irish culture.
Wave targets a wide demographic, aiming to revitalize tourism in Dingle following the disappearance of Fungi the Dolphin. It accommodates over 200 visitors per hour and aims for 70,000 annual visitors and 16 full-time employees over five years.
The Keanes remain committed to supporting local fishermen, albeit on a smaller scale, while embracing environmental sustainability. They aspire to make Wave carbon neutral by 2028, implementing energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and eco-friendly practices in their café.
Through Wave, the Keane family blends their fishing heritage with a new focus on tourism, providing employment opportunities and promoting Dingle as a year-round destination.www.wave-dingle.com