Hopefully, future generations will benefit from the changes I’m trying to achieve now.

Clean Coasts recently awarded people for their environmental work — among them was Dave Ludgate of subowti for promoting the 2 minute Beach Clean campaign
Hopefully, future generations will benefit from the changes I’m trying to achieve now.

Dave Ludgate of subowti who was recently honoured by Clean Coasts for his environmental work.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Dave Ludgate, I have always been fascinated with water and the ocean and spend as much time as I can in or on the water.

I am a member of the Blackrock Clean Up Group, a small group of volunteers in Blackrock who meet on the second Saturday of each month to pick litter around the Blackrock public amenity walkways. New volunteers always welcome!

I also do river clean-ups, under the guise of subowti, on my stand-up paddleboard (SUP), with support from Clean Coasts, FatStick Boards and Northcoast Wetsuits.

Through social media, I try to promote the importance of our wonderful waterways and coastline and their conservation.

Where were you born?

The Victoria Hospital, Cork, about 3km from where I live!

Where do you live?

We’re lucky enough to live in Blackrock, where I have relatively easy access to the river. It was here I saw the signs which asked people to volunteer with Blackrock Clean Up Group and my campaign against marine litter began.


I live with my wife and our daughter.

Best friend?

Well, after being locked down with them for the last nine months… my wife and daughter! Only joking, my wife is my best friend, I’d be lost without her and my daughter fills up my soul.

Dave Ludgate of subowti.
Dave Ludgate of subowti.

Earliest childhood memory?

We used to live in Robert’s Cove when I was three or four. I remember the beach there; I remember burying my toy tractor and forgetting where I had buried it, I was devastated… I guess that counts as marine litter!

Person you most admire?

People like Lizzie Carr from Planet Patrol and Cal Major from Paddle Against Plastic inspired me to get out on my board and pick litter out of the water too.

Person who most irritates you?

He’s an easy one to pick but I believe Donald Trump is the personification of all the bad traits within the human race; greedy, misogynistic, selfish, obnoxious… the list goes on. However, I find myself drawn to articles written about him and his family and I’m fascinated by the toxic culture that surrounds them.

Who would you like to see as Minister for Finance and why?

Hypothetically — Kate Raworth, who wrote a book called Doughnut Economics. This economic model is a playfully serious approach to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. That is, to ensure that no-one falls short in terms of food and housing, healthcare and political voice, while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. Michael D. Higgins recently mentioned this model at a webinar I tuned into so maybe it’s not that far away?

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Back in 1995 my mum, dad, brother, sister and I all headed off to the USA on an unforgettable holiday. We took in New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and Florida — all the while referring to ourselves as the Griswolds!

Favourite TV programme?

I re-watched The Wire recently and it’s as good as it was the first time around, although some of the technology in it is now seriously outdated! I love the fact that one of the writers used to be a detective in Baltimore which gives it that authentic, real life feel.

Favourite radio show?

When I have time, I love to listen to Sean Moncrieff, especially on a Friday. I love the way he always approaches topics from alternative angles.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I do a dish called “pasta surprise,” which is a pasta bake with whatever is in the fridge at the time!

Favourite restaurant?

I’m not a huge restaurant-goer and it seems like years since I’ve been to one because of the pandemic, but the Glass Curtain on MacCurtain Street is great, I love the daily variation of the menus.

Last book you read?

This is a bit grim, but it was How to Survive a Pandemic, by Michael Greger M.D. It’s a follow up to his first book How Not to Die. It gives a record of pandemics throughout human history and goes through what is happening with the current pandemic (at the time of writing).

Best book you read?

Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard — the founder of Patagonia. Yvon writes about how he started; initially making climbing gear — as an avid climber, it was cheaper for him to make it than buy it, right up to being one of the most sustainably conscious companies in the world. Staff at the Patagonia offices in Ventura, California can take half days when the surf is up and the beach is about 800m away! It inspired me to research further into sustainability and the circular economy.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I have a Spotify account so I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a specific piece of music.

Favourite song?

Musically, I’m still stuck in the ’90s, in my grunge phase — anything from that genre really.

One person you would like to see in concert?

We were due to see David Bowie in concert a long time ago but unfortunately, he had to pull out and now we will never get the opportunity.

Do you have a pet?

Yes, a rescue cat called Aggie who rules the house!

Morning person or night owl?

Morning person definitely, my dad was a farmer, so I guess I inherited it from him.

Your proudest moment?

I thought it was at the birth of my daughter but every day since has been prouder.

Spendthrift or saver?

I tend to swing wildly between the two — save for a while and then splurge. I never have any money, so I guess it’s more the former.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

Something we’ve being trying to do monthly for the last umpteen years — get people to stop littering and think about their personal consumption choices.

What makes you happy?

Family and the outdoors — preferably a combination of both.

How would you like to be remembered?

I like the Greek quote, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” 

Hopefully, future generations will benefit from the changes I’m trying to achieve now.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am a Water and Environmental Engineer and I am also a postgraduate tutor so that keeps me busy.

Otherwise, I’m trying to get outdoors and, on the water, as much as possible.

You can follow David on Instagram at subowti

More in this section

Sponsored Content


Catch up on the latest episode of Annie May and the Hit Brigade written and read by  Mahito Indi Henderson.

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more