Meet the Team: Cormac MacDonagh

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Cormac MacDonagh is our Environmental Impact Assessment Coordinator. He’s responsible for managing the flow of documents in the consenting team, which form a key part of our planning application. In our latest blog he shares some insight into his career path to Codling and gives us a tour of his local area in Co. Mayo.

Q. What attracted you to work for Codling Wind Park?

A. I’m hugely motivated by the chance to work on the largest phase one project in Ireland, given how historic and strategically important the project is for Ireland’s energy security.

A view of Clew Bay and the surrounding islands

Q. What’s your background?

A. I grew up in Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, surrounded by the water and the hundreds of Islands in the bay. I studied Environmental Science at university and followed this with a Master’s degree that focused on the development of sustainable energy.

Keem beach on Achill Island, a location for the 2022 film, The Banshees of Inisherin (starring Cormac as an extra!)
Keem beach on Achill Island, a location for the 2022 film, The Banshees of Inisherin (starring Cormac as an extra!)

Q. Where’s your favourite place in Ireland?

A. It has to be Achill Island in County Mayo. It’s where most of The Banshees of Inisherin was filmed; in fact, I played an extra!

Mulranny beach with Croagh Patrick in the background
Mulranny beach with Croagh Patrick in the background

Q. Have you always been interested in renewable energy?

A. Yes, I’m pretty typical of my generation. The more I learned about climate change and the impact of fossil fuels, the more interested I became in ways to transition to sustainable solutions.

A view of Clare Island

Q. Have you always worked in the renewables sector?

A. Since finishing college, I’ve worked on various metocean surveys – marine surveying, collecting data on currents, wave heights and so on – for coastal developments around Ireland. I also worked on offshore aerial surveys – collecting marine mammal and bird imagery – for offshore wind sites around Ireland.

I first worked for Codling Wind Park in 2020, as part of the team that carried out the metocean survey of the Codling Bank. I’d been following offshore wind development in Ireland quite closely, so I was already aware of Codling. But it’s been great to get even more familiar with the project, now I’m on secondment to the project.

Q. What motivates you at work?

A. It’s a privilege to feel that you are contributing in a small way to such an important project for Ireland’s energy security and climate agenda. On a personal level, I really enjoy working with my team: Lis Royle, Fiona Campbell, Sean Leake, Callum Draper and Denise Meade. They’re very experienced, and I’m learning a huge amount from them.

Sailing in Clew Bay on the way to Clare Island
Sailing in Clew Bay on the way to Clare Island

Q. What’s been your proudest achievement so far in life?

A. In 2021, I sailed across the Atlantic. It was something I’ve always wanted to do and it was a great experience. It was a 22-day crossing from the Bahamas to the Azores, but we travelled to Ireland, so I was away at sea for a couple of months.

A view of Keel beach on Achill – it’s a great surf spot
A view of Keel beach on Achill – it’s a great surf spot

Q. Tell us a bit about where you live

A. After the Covid pandemic, I moved back to Mayo. It’s quite rural and very coastal; there’s water everywhere!

The view from the top of Croagh Patrick

Q. Where’s your favourite walk in your local area?

A. It’s definitely Croagh Patrick – a hike up the nearest mountain to where I live.

Cormac MacDonagh and friends
Cormac MacDonagh and friends

Q. Tell us something that your colleagues might not know about you…

A. I live in the countryside and have two pigs. They’re destined for the freezer, but they have a great life, spending their days grazing on the shoreline.

Camping on the islands in Clew Bay
Camping on the islands in Clew Bay

Q. How do you like to spend your free time?

A. It’s definitely sailing in Clew Bay and camping on the surrounding islands.

 

Q. What advice would you give to anybody who wants to work in the renewables industry?

A. When I was at college, I’d try and include an offshore wind focus in those assignments where we had a bit of leeway on subject matter. So I could build up my knowledge and contacts in this area of renewables.

Learn more about the environmental studies we’ve carried out to support our planning application and the benefits that Codling Wind Park will bring to the local communities.

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