Geological Survey Ireland announces funding for six community geoheritage projects

Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate, and Communications, has awarded geoheritage grants to six community-based projects around the country.

The funds, valued at up to €10,000 each, are available under the Geoheritage Grant Scheme run by the Geoheritage Programme in Geological Survey Ireland.

They support the development and publication of educational and outreach materials by local groups, established geotourism sites, aspiring geoparks and UNESCO Global Geoparks.

The aim of the fund is to encourage the telling of the Irish geological story, improve the understanding of geoscience, and to engage with local groups throughout the country.

Geology is part of the heritage of Ireland and is celebrated as part of who we are. Our tourism industry is influenced by the landscape and the underlying rocks, and the geological and geographical features give rise to our agriculture, food, and often our place names and traditions.

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. 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 successful applications in 2022 continue to demonstrate the diversity of Irish geology and geoheritage and its value to local initiatives and communities. Several of the projects highlight community engagement with the local geology and geoheritage:

  • the Bioregional Weaving Lab Waterford digital project will develop a digital map that captures the essence of the heritage of the Copper Coast landscape in Waterford and its local communities
  • a project from St John’s Old Cemetery Restoration Group in Nobber, Co Meath, will showcase the north Meath geology in a traditional display and audiovisual format in the Nobber Heritage Centre
  • Castlecomer Discovery Park will develop a geological map of the Castlecomer area, which will also be presented on physical paper trail guides that will bring the geological history of the area to life for both a local and wider visitor audience

The UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGps) continue to celebrate their local geology. This year:

  • the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark propose to design and produce of a series of short animations that graphically tell the story of the geological history of the Geopark
  • the Copper Coast UGGp aims to create a new generation of geoheritage-focused trails and trail cards for users to walk or cycle through quiet roads and off-road sections to discover sites of geological interest
  • the Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark aims to highlight the karst landscape of the geopark region in Counties Mayo and Galway by producing an animated video which will tell the story of the karst landscape development

Koen Verbruggen, Director, of Geological Survey Ireland, welcomed the announcement and commented:

“The Geological Survey has been working throughout the country since 1845 and this is one way to give back to communities, to foster good relationships, 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. I am delighted the Geoheritage Grant Scheme attracted so many applications this year and I look forward to the results of the community collaborations.”

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