Michael Viney, Irish Times in Conversation with Ronan Foley Regarding Therapeutic Landscapes

Saturday, February 9, 2019 - 10:30

Head shot of Ronan Foley
Ronan Foley, ALL Member, was interviewed by Michael Viney of the Irish Times on his research into therapeutic landscapes.

Viney writes:

There’s no antidepressant like a good view of the sea

Older Irish people living along the coast have a lower risk of depression

I would feel a great loss in having to live without a good view of the sea. My home town, Brighton, once Brighthelmstone, was England’s birthplace of bathing (this from wheeled huts pushed into the waves). My own youth, in turn, was memorably suntanned, salt-sprayed and pebble-dashed.

On a very different shore, with a far less accommodating sea, the mere prospect of the ocean is sustaining. Its huge horizon is deeply calming, a mental lifeline to the rest of the world. And the biggest sky in Ireland, full of fresh-washed wind, is constant theatre, creative and diverting.  So it came as no surprise that older Irish people living along the coast have a lower risk of depression, lowest of all in those with “extensive” sea views. What’s new is to find “blue space” commanding such research by the Economic and Social Research Institute and the Environmental Protection Authority.  For the ESRI, Dr Anne Nolan of Trinity College Dublin used data from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing, matched to proximity of the sea. She proposes that proven public health benefits should guide urban planning of the coast. For the EPA, Dr Ronan Foley of Maynooth University targets even wider health rewards from the “green/blue infrastructure” of water and leafiness.  “GBI” is Foley’s shorthand for spaces and places that can be matched statistically with records of lower stress and greater wellbeing...

For full article click here:  https://www.irishtimes.com