Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark launched their digital Poetry Map on UNESCO World Poetry Day, 21st March 2022. This digital project has been funded by Geological Survey Ireland's Geoheritage Fund 2020-21, and looks to highlight the Geoheritage of specific sites in the park. Cavan Arts Office and Townhall Ramor, County Cavan, also contributed to the creation of the interactive Geopark Poetry Map, which includes text on screen and audio of the poems read by professional actors.
The featured poems include commissioned work from established authors, based on specific sites within the Geopark and inspired by their Geoheritage. Eight poems received as the result of an Open Call have also been featured, as well as poems from local school pupils.
You can read and listen to all the poems here. More information about the Poetry Map project can be found here.
Councillor John Paul Feeley who is Chair of the Cross-Border Geopark Committee stated 'Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark in West Cavan and West Fermanagh is home to some of the finest landscapes in Ireland. Steeped in natural, built and cultural heritage. A UNESCO Global Geopark seeks to protect and conserve that landscape but also create opportunities for sustainable development and grow the communities that live within it. Living in this tranquil landscape is a blessing. I know that its beauty can inspire, relax and uplift, that it should inspire so much poetry is no surprise. During the most recent Covid 19 pandemic we have been challenged more than ever to find innovative ways to achieve this goal. This Digital Poetry Map is an excellent example of one of the many innovations delivered by the Geopark completed through engagement with artists, schools, the wider community and GSI. I commend all involved in bringing this to fruition'
Martina O'Neill, in her role as Development Officer – Partnership & Engagement with the Global Geopark, worked with local poet and Geopark Ambassador, Bee Smith who curated the project. Martina O' Neill states: " I am truly delighted with the new Geopark Digital Poetry map and have been very suitably impressed with the standard of writing. It is immensely heart-warming to see how the landscapes and geo heritage of our Geopark have been able to spark such emotion, inspiration and creativity. A particular thanks to our Geopark Guide, Bee Smith, who's brainchild this project is and who has been a loyal and strong advocate of the Geopark and all it encompasses for many years now. We are very fortunate to work with our many Geopark Guides across the Geopark who enable us to bring the rich heritage and stories of the Geopark to life in many creative ways'
Clare Glanville, Senior Geologist, Geoheritage Programme, Geological Survey Ireland states "I am delighted to see this project come to completion and be made available to so many people. The geoheritage grant scheme is intended to support communities, to foster good relationships, and to encourage people to work with us to use our data, maps and expertise to develop local tourism and educational resources. This project has ticked all of those boxes; engaging with local communities and schools, developing the geotourism of the geopark, and raising awareness of the great depth and breadth of the physical landscape and geological processes that surround us, connecting people through geology and poetry to a sense of place".
The project was supported by Catriona O'Reilly, Cavan Arts Officer and her Fermanagh Omagh District Council Arts Manager, Bryony May. Catriona O'Reilly says of the project, "This landscape, so rich in cultural history, is a fitting home for an interactive poetic map. From Cathal Buí Mac Ghiolla Gunna writing in the 1700's up to the present day writing of Bee Smith and Seamus O hÚltacháin this landscape has woven its poetic spell and the time is right to share the magic, the draíocht with the world."