Burren hosts European Geopark Network event


Managers and geologists from over 60 European UNESCO Global Geoparks will this week gather in County Clare to attend an international meeting and to visit the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.


The Geopark, managed by Clare County Council, is hosting European Geoparks Network members from across the continent including Iceland, Croatia, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Germany, UK and Slovenia.


As well undertaking visits to local landmarks and tourism businesses, the Network will participate in a conference featuring presentations, discussions and displays on sustainable tourism at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon on Friday (March 24th).


The 4-day programme of events coincides with 2017 being the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.


Cllr. Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said, “As a Geopark, the Burren is very much part of a global community that shares knowledge and expertise on heritage management and sustainable development, leading to well managed protected landscapes with preserved local heritage.  This approach, combined with a good working relationship with communities throughout the Burren has established the Geopark as a thriving, sustainable destination.”


Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, who will be addressing Friday’s conference, said, “The visit of so many international Geopark representatives is a vote of confidence in the work being undertaken by the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark in the sustainable rural and economic development of the Burren as well as the promotion and protection of the region’s unique landscape.”


The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been working on sustainable tourism programmes for many years, with ongoing support and funding from Failte Ireland and the Geological Survey of Ireland.  The Geopark has benefited from funding under the EU LIFE programme for the past 4 years and with co-funding from Clare County Council, Failte Ireland, the Geological Survey of Ireland, the OPW, the National Monuments Service, the Heritage Council, UCD and NUIG.


Geopark LIFE has run a variety of tourism management projects with national agencies, local groups and businesses.  One of the most successful has been the development and growth of the Burren Ecotourism Network of tourism businesses committed to the sustainable future of the Burren and its tourism offering.


“European Geoparks Network members are coming to Clare to discuss UNESCO Global Geopark Network business, to welcome new members into this ever growing network and to see the work of the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, particularly in sustainable tourism,” explained Carol Gleeson, Manager, Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.


“The aim of the coming meeting is to consider international best practice and to explore new ideas on the type of environments and partnerships we need to create here in Ireland, and in Europe, for sustainable destinations such as the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark to flourish,” added Ms. Gleeson.