Fota Arboretum among the Irish gardens and parks recognised with International Green Flags

Fota Arboretum among the Irish gardens and parks recognised with International Green Flags
The Lady Mary gates entrance to the Pleasure Gardens at Fota Arboretum & Gardens. Picture Denis Minihane.

Fota Arboretum and Garinish Island are among the dozens of Irish gardens and parks that have been recognised with International Green Flags.

The number of Irish sites given the accolade surged this year, with new sites including parks and gardens in Limerick, Galway and Wicklow, amongst others.

The awards, which were announced today at Maynooth University by An Taisce Environment Education, are issued for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management and excellence of visitor attractions. The Green Flag for Parks is a mark of quality that is recognised throughout the world.

The picturesque Garinish Island in Glengarriff Harbour was among the sites honoured, as was the Fota Arboretum and Gardens, Killarney House and Gardens, and Derrynane Historic Park.

Clare County Council scooped three awards in recognition of its efforts in two parks in Ennis and one Kilrush, while a number of Dublin parks, including St Anne's, Marlay Park, Malahide Demesne and Waterstown Park were also included.

The Office of Public Works was also celebrating as nine sites were recognised, including the Iveagh Gardens, the Phoenix Park and St Stephen's Green, while the National Parks and Wildlife Service was recognised for its efforts at Connemara National Park and the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park.

A new entrant and first-time winner was Maynooth University, where the awards were announced.

The 2019 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, and green spaces from across the whole country.

This year has also seen the expansion of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme in Ireland with additional sites in Galway and Meath being acknowledged for the excellence of their volunteer-run community green spaces.

"In terms of urban renewal, and rural and community development, the Green Flag Award for Parks is a logical and sensible step towards supporting community engagement with green space improvement, and helps increase quality of life within our communities," said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Award for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland.

Four of the 2019 Green Flag Award-winning parks were also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Project Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks or Gardens that have made an effort to support the local pollinating insect populations or to promote their importance.

While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Malahide Castle Demesne, operated by Fingal County Council, that was the overall winner.

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