Six community-based projects around the country have been awarded geoheritage grants up to €10,000 to encourage the telling of the Irish geological story, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) said.
Projects across Co. Waterford; Meath; Kilkenny; Clare; Mayo; and Galway will receive grants supporting the development and publication of educational materials by local groups, established geotourism sites, and UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Geology is part of Ireland’s heritage, and the geological and geographical features give rise to Irish agriculture, food, and often place names and traditions across the country, the DECC said.
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, according to the DECC.
The successful applications in 2022 continue to demonstrate the diversity of Irish geology and geoheritage, and its value to local initiatives and communities. Grant recipients this year are:
- The Bioregional Weaving Lab Waterford project will develop a digital map that captures the essence of the heritage of the Copper Coast landscape and its local communities;
- The St John’s Old Cemetery Restoration Group in Co. Meath is developing a restored 18th century church into the Nobber Heritage Centre to tell the area’s geological story;
- The Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny will develop a geological map of the Castlecomer area, which will also be presented on physical paper trail guides to promote the geoheritage;
- The Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark in Co. Clare will produce a series of short animations that graphically tell the story of the geological history of the geopark;
- The Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark in Co. Waterford aims to create a new generation of geoheritage-focused trails and trail cards for users to walk or cycle;
- The Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark in Co. Mayo and Galway aims to highlight the karst landscape of the region by producing an animated video.
The funding has been announced by the Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the DECC, under the Geoheritage Grant Scheme run by the Geoheritage Programme today (Thursday, December 29).
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 programme protects and promotes sites of geological importance, and works with local authorities and community groups on the establishment and support of UNESCO Global Geoparks.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are internationally recognised places with unique geology, landscapes, history and culture. Geoparks are managed with a focus on education, conservation, sustainable tourism and community engagement.
Geological Survey Ireland, the National Earth Science agency, is responsible for providing geological advice and information including maps and reports, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose.
Welcoming the announcement and commenting that the Geological Survey Ireland has been working throughout the country since 1845, director Koen Verbruggen, said:
“This [work] is one way to give back to communities 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.”