Under changes to Irish law introduced in 2009 and 2011, those with traditional rights to harvest seaweed along the foreshore need to ensure those rights are registered with the Property Registration Authority of Ireland by 30 November 2021.
This page provides information and resources for those interested in registering their traditional harvesting rights.
The legal process is complicated, and this page is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. A number of different people and organisations are at work to clarify the current situation, and this page will be updated regularly to reflect our best understanding of the issue.
Property Registration Authority of Ireland: Form 68, note 1.
“Up until the 30th November 2021, an application under Section 49 of the Act, can only be established pursuant to the law on prescription prior to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act, 2009 (“the 2009 Act”) i.e. at common law, under the doctrine of lost modern grant or pursuant to the Prescription Act, 1832, applied in Ireland by the Prescription (Ir) Act, 1858. The transitional provisions of Section 38 of the 2009 Act [as extended by Section 38 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2011], provide for the establishment of a claim either already acquired prior to the 1st December 2009 or in the process of being acquired under the law prior to the 2009 Act, up until 30th November 2021. The application should clearly demonstrate that the applicant is entitled to the easement or profit à prendre claimed under the law applicable prior to the commencement of Chapter 1 of Part 8 of the 2009 Act immediately before the date of application.”
Or, in other words …
All traditional rights – including turf-cutting, tree-cutting, grazing, and harvesting seaweed – need to be registered with the Property Registration Authority of Ireland by 30th November 2021.
Afterwards, you will need to acquire a Court Order, demonstrating your right to harvest seaweed has existed for at least 60 years, if you want this right to be recognised by the courts and the government.
You can still register your right, under the old rules, before 30/11/2021
The old rules say these rights are always linked to property, so your rights are to be registered with the Property Registration Authority of Ireland.
This means you need to know the official ID number (‘folio number’) of your own property, and, ideally, the official ID number (‘folio number’) of the property where you harvest seaweed.
This type of registration can only be done if you are harvesting seaweed on someone else’s property. If you harvest on your own property, this is not considered a traditional right, but something you are entitled to do as the owner: there is a different process to register this; or you may not need to register at all, if this right is already recorded on your property folio and/or the map that goes with it.
For further information, please contact Tomás O'Sullivan at earlymedievalireland[at]gmail[dot]com
You can register prescriptive rights (except rights of way) by using Form 68, which can be downloaded from the Property Registration Authority’s website: www.prai.ie/forms
The Property Registration Authority also provides a guide to how prescriptive rights may be registered under the current system (until 30 November 2021). It is available here.