The best way to document Ireland's geological heritage is to carry out an Audit of County Geological Sites. A County Geological Heritage Audit is usually supported by the local authority, GSI and the Heritage Council. It is usually an action of the current Heritage Plan.
County Geological Heritage Audit Methodology
Ireland's geological heritage is assessed under 16 geological themes. After early trials of different methods with the first three themes, a methodology was agreed based largely on good practice elsewhere in Europe (as shared through ProGEO). This established an expert panel for each of the 16 geological themes (IGH 1 to IGH 16) which helped Geological Survey Ireland produce an indicative, or candidate, list of sites for each theme. The thematic process involved a commissioned desk-top study of the sites selected by the relevant Expert Panel and did not normally include site visits. Later detailed site visits and boundary definition by Geological Survey Ireland would ultimately form part of the NHA (Natural Heritage Area) designation process. The programme also aimed eventually to contribute to the wider ProGEO Geosites Project, by comparing Irish sites to adjacent regions within defined European frameworks.
County Geological Sites (CGS)
County Geological Sites (CGSs) are the best examples of a given geological theme in each county, and need to be promoted and protected. CGS status is conferred as part of the County Geological Heritage Audit process.