This Thursday, environmental charity An Taisce Environmental Education revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award.
Among the list is Lloyd Town Park Tullamore which is a first time recipient of the award. Considerable investment has gone into the park in recent years providing a variety of amenities with ongoing work to maintain the park at a very high standard.
It includes a spectacular water feature, a variety of paths, a playground area for children with numerous elements, a bowling green, a skate park and plenty of lush green areas.
The Phoenix Park Visitors Centre provided the perfect backdrop as an impressive 22 parks and green spaces from across the Republic of Ireland received their Green Flags, awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards for green space management and visitor facilities – the Green Flag Awards is the mark of a quality park or green space recognised throughout the world.
The 2016/17 season is the first time that this international award has been available to public parks, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces across the whole country. Last year saw the initial trial introduction of the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme into Ireland, with a pilot run jointly with Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, and the Office of Public Works. This saw some of the capital area’s most significant landmark parks and estates recognised for the quality of their recreational and historic green spaces.
Building upon the success of the six pioneer parks in 2015, this year has seen more than a threefold increase in the number of Irish Parks awarded this international standard of excellence. First time winners this year include not only parks from urban centres such as Dublin, but also from across the Ancient East Region, including Gorey, Dundalk, Portlaoise, Mullingar, and Tullamore, and from locations in the west such as Turlough Park in County Mayo.
The Minister of State for the OPW and Flood Relief - Sean Canney, was in attendance to open the award ceremony, and to support how the important role played by the OPW and local authorities alike has been recognised by today’s award ceremony. The Minister also noted that Over 1.59 million overseas garden visitors were recorded by Failte Ireland in 2015 and thus the Green Flag Award is important to ensure that appropriate park standards are being adopted and maintained for all visitors. The Green Flag Awards scheme has introduced a benchmark against which the quality of freely accessible public parks and green spaces are measured in many different countries across Europe and beyond.
The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. In Ireland the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme has been enthusiastically received by park management as it delivers major wins for the delivery of quality green spaces by respective parks and park departments. These include:
• The promotion and reward for best practice management
• Creation of a plan for improvements and future works
• The building of a collaborative network of park management nationally
• The implementation of environmental sustainability within park management
“The often unseen hard work of many park staff over many years has provided Ireland with a wealth of treasured Parks, Gardens, and Green Spaces. These important amenities provide us with a welcome refuge from the stress of urban life, and are major attractions for tourists and other visitors to Ireland” said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Awards for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland. He went on to say “We have greatly benefited from working closely with our colleagues in Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the Green Flag for Parks operator in Northern Ireland and also with the park operators in Northern Ireland and the international co-ordination at Keep Britain Tidy."
If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education Unit please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 086 3579663
Full list of winning Republic of Ireland Parks
Dublin City Council
Blessington Street Park
St Anne's Park
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Fingal County Council
St. Catherine’s Park
Laois County Council
Páirc an Phobail Park
Longford County Council
Louth County Council
Blackrock Community Park
Mayo County Council
Offaly County Council
Lloyd Town Park Tullamore
Saint Stephen's Green
Grangegorman Military Cemetery
National War Memorial Garden - Islandbridge
Derrynane Historic Park
Westmeath County Council
Mullingar Town Park
Wexford County Council
Gorey Town Park and Showgrounds