The Joyce Country and Western Lakes geopark project, led by Geological Survey Ireland and funded by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, will host a two-day virtual conference of talks, discussion, and workshops on June 15 and 16 next.
The region - a mix of Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas, mountainous terrains, the wild Atlantic, the lakes of Corrib, Mask and Carra, and limestone lowlands to the east of the lakes - is also expected to apply for UNESCO Global Geopark status in late 2021.
The conference, meanwhile, will showcase the work and the potential for sustainable tourism development in the region and show best practice in similar projects in Ireland and overseas.
Tuesday, June 15 will see the theme of ‘Geoparks and Sustainable Development’ explored as well as plenty of discussion on ‘Local Products and Link to Geology’.
The following day, ‘Heritage in the Joyce Country and Western Lakes region’ will be discussed in detail while speakers include those from the 2020 Lonely Planet travel award winner Burren EcoTourism Network; the international GEOfood trail as well as established geoparks and aspiring geoparks from Ireland, UK, Canada.
Speakers on the International Appalachian Trail which now connects the North American and European continents will also present on the day.
The conference will be run through English, but in keeping with the area’s influence and importance placed on the Irish language, there will be flavours of gaeilge of Dúiche Sheoigheach and Tuar Mhic Éadaigh throughout.
“The Joyce Country and Western Lakes area is special in its rich geological story and diversity of landscapes,” said Koen Verbruggen, Geological Survey Ireland Director.
“The conference draws expertise from across the world, and will open a window on why UNESCO Global Geopark status offers great opportunities to help the region’s local communities to thrive, and boost jobs and business.”
Register at https://jcwlgeopark.dealroomevents.com/event/list