Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) hosted a gathering of the North Atlantic Geological (NAG) Survey Directors on April 19th and 20th. This two day event is a twice yearly meeting of the directors of the national surveys of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (including Greenland), Germany, Netherlands and Faroe Islands. The first day was held in Galway city and led by Koen Verbruggen, GSI Director. Each Survey provided updates on current activities, collaborative projects, and the potential for joint funding opportunities. They also discussed the role of Geological Surveys in climate change research, data collection and mitigation.
The focus on the second day of the meeting was on the role of a Geological Survey in sustainable tourism and UNESCO Global Geopark development . The INDECON Economic Review of Irish Geoscience Sector published by GSI in November 2017 showed that geotourism was worth €371 million to the Irish economy in 2016. The group were given a tour of The Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark by the Geopark manager, Carol Gleeson, and Geopark Geologist, Dr Eamon Doyle. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is one of three UNESCO Global Geoparks in Ireland. GSI provides financial and technical support to the Geoparks and other geotourism projects around the country. Our guests were impressed by the accessibility to the sites, the high quality available, the initiatives such as the Burren Food Trail and the Burren Ecotourism Network, and of course the geology and the weather.