Geological Survey Ireland announces funding for six community geoheritage projects
Projects located across Waterford, Meath, Kilkenny, Clare, Mayo and Galway
Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, has awarded geoheritage grants to six community-based projects around the country. The funds, valued at up to €10,000 each, are available under the Geoheritage Grant Scheme run by the Geoheritage Programme in Geological Survey Ireland. They support the development and publication of educational and outreach materials by local groups, established geotourism sites, aspiring geoparks and UNESCO Global Geoparks. The aim of the fund is to encourage the telling of the Irish geological story, improve the understanding of geoscience, and to engage with local groups throughout the country.
Geology is part of the heritage of Ireland and is celebrated as part of who we are. Our tourism industry is influenced by the landscape and the underlying rocks, and the geological and geographical features give rise to our agriculture, food, and often our place names and traditions. Due to the broad diversity of geology in Ireland and the relative recentness of the shaping of the landscape, every townland has the potential for an interesting geoheritage story. The fund has been available to all community and local groups since 2019 in order to promote geodiversity, geoheritage and geoscience education through wider community engagement.
The successful applications in 2022 continue to demonstrate the diversity of Irish geology and geoheritage and its value to local initiatives and communities. Several of the projects highlight community engagement with the local geology and geoheritage:
- the Bioregional Weaving Lab Waterford digital project will develop a digital map that captures the essence of the heritage of the Copper Coast landscape in Waterford and its local communities;
- a project from St Johns Old Cemetery Restoration Group in Nobber, Co. Meath, will showcase the north Meath geology in a traditional display and audiovisual format in the Nobber Heritage Centre;
- Castlecomer Discovery Park will develop a geological map of the Castlecomer area, which will also be presented on physical paper trail guides that will bring the geological history of the area to life for both a local and wider visitor audience.
The UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGps) continue to celebrate their local geology. This year:
- the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark propose to design and produce of a series of short animations that graphically tell the story of the geological history of the Geopark;
- the Copper Coast UGGp aims to create a new generation of geoheritage-focused trails and trail cards for users to walk or cycle through quiet roads and off-road sections to discover sites of geological interest;
- the Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark aims to highlight the karst landscape of the geopark region in Counties Mayo and Galway by producing an animated video which will tell the story of the karst landscape development.
Koen Verbruggen, Director, Geological Survey Ireland, welcomed the announcement and commented: "The Geological Survey has been working throughout the country since 1845 and this is one way to give back to communities, to foster good relationships, and to encourage people to work with us to use the data, maps and expertise to develop local tourism and educational resources. The projects this year show the breadth of ways geology and geoheritage can be used for tourism, education and local pride building on the work undertaken by local community projects who received similar funding in 2021-2022. I am delighted the Geoheritage Grant Scheme attracted so many applications this year and I look forward to the results of the community collaborations."
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
Geological Survey Ireland:
- Geological Survey Ireland is the National Earth Science agency. It is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose. Geological Survey Ireland produces a range of products including maps, reports and databases and acts as a knowledge center and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology. It is a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
- Geological Survey Ireland provides a Duty Geologist service to the public to address geological queries and concerns. For more information visit: www.gsi.ie.
The Geoheritage Programme:
- The Geoheritage Programme in Geological Survey Ireland has responsibility for the protection and promotion of sites of geological importance. It identifies sites as County Geological Sites (CGS) for inclusion in County Development and Heritage Plans. County Audits are carried out in partnership with the Heritage Council and local authorities and the most significant County Geological Sites are recommended to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for potential future designation as Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). It works with local authorities and community groups on the development of geotourism products and in particular on the establishment and support of UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Full list of grant recipients:
|Castlecomer Discovery Park
Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny will produce an online-linked geology trail to showcase the geoheritage of the Castlecomer Discovery Park and the geology of the Castlecomer area.
The geoheritage highlights include the coal mining heritage and the discovery of rare carboniferous amphibian fossils in 1864.
A geological map of the Castlecomer area will be created, which will also be present on the trail guides and will be provided to schools taking the new geology session.
The trail aims to promote the geoheritage to schools and the public both within the local area, and the larger catchment of Castlecomer Discovery Park (including Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Waterford and Dublin).
|Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark
The geopark will create a new generation of geoheritage trails, focused on the geoheritage and historic mining sites at areas such as Tankardstown Engine house, Ballydowane Cove and Annestown Beach. The information will be printed and posted online. Each geoheritage map will contain points of interest and feature information about the geological heritage of specific areas as well as general information about the area's geology.
The maps will be suitable for users to walk or cycle through quiet roads and off-road sections to discover outcrops and other sites of geological interest as they go along.
|Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark
Co Mayo &
The aspiring geopark will showcase the karst landscape of the Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark region in Counties Mayo and Galway by producing an animated video to tell the story of the karst landscape development that takes place over centuries to millennia.
The video will focus on the karst landscape of the Western Lakes (Loughs Carra, Mask and Corrib) that has developed in the lower carboniferous limestone and the karstic features to be found there including the Cong Iisthmus area with the Cong Canal development, the Lough Mask shore epikarst feature and the Lough Carra marl lake processes.
|Bioregional Weaving Lab Waterford
|The proposed project is to explore and then generate a digital map that captures the essence of both the heritage of the landscape and the communities living in the area of the Copper Coast and surrounding areas of Co. Waterford.
|St. John's Old Cemetery Restoration Group
This small community-based group are currently developing a restored eighteenth-century church into a visitor attraction known as Nobber Heritage Centre. The group aim to tell the area's geological story using locally sourced rock and fossil specimens which will be housed in display cabinets.
Display panels will detail various aspects of the local geoheritage including the Kingscourt half-graben, gypsum mines, karst, and drumlin belt Quaternary landscape. The display will also have an audio-visual component including drone-captured video of the landscape and some of the more important geological sites.
|Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark
This project will design and produce a series of short animations that graphically tell the story of the geological history of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark including the formation of the Burren limestone, the sandstone and shale of the Cliffs of Moher, fossils in the Geopark, the plate tectonic journey and the Ice Age.
These stories will connect the geological processes with the local landscape and promote geoheritage awareness among all age groups and to a wide-reaching audience.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR FURTHER MEDIA QUERIES
Press Office / Media Relations (Communications and Media
Department of Environment,
Climate and Communications
Roinn Comhshaoil, Aeráide agus
29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin, D02 X285
29-31 Bóthar Adelaide, Baile Átha Cliath, D02 X285
M +353 87 693 7580