This event is led by the Geological Society's Geoconservation Committee, whose aims are to help conserve the diverse geology and rich geological and geomorphological heritage of the UK. As part of the Society's work, we support initiatives that promote geodiversity and work with others to promote the sustainable use of geological sites as resources for education, training, public enjoyment and future scientific research.
The 2018 event is a companion to the 2017 meeting in Belfast, with a visit to Dublin, and an opportunity to learn about geoconservation initiatives and progress across the island of Ireland. With different frameworks in place in the Republic of Ireland, the recognition of County Geological Sites and their incorporation into County Development Plans is the only practical effort for local geodiversity sites, as well as for most sites considered to be of national or even international value. The local aspect to this work, with co-operation between Heritage Officers in each county and the Geological Survey Ireland is important, and will be explored in several presentations.
There are thousands of local sites that are important for geoconservation across the Republic of Ireland and the UK. These are places that are often valued and well-used by people, where we can find out about the geological history of our area, and how this influences nature, land use, building style and the 'sense of place' that all local communities have. Since geodiversity knows no political boundaries, there has been a long tradition of collaboration on geological projects in Ireland, especially between the Geological Survey Ireland and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland. This is especially evident in the support for the UNESCO Global Geoparks, of which the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in County Fermanagh and County Cavan was the first transnational Geopark in the world.
This meeting aims to bring together key stakeholders and those working in geoconservation to discuss the value of local sites, review what is going on across Ireland and what might be learnt for wider application to encourage more activity and greater involvement from relevant policymakers, local government and the whole geological community.