Call to realise Burren’s potential

THE man putting in place a blueprint for the future conservation of the Burren has warned its people will never realise the full potential of the famed landmark unless they become far more proactive.

Brendan Dunford, leading the Farming for Conservation project, said yesterday that locals “run the risk of having to react all the time to what others decide is best for the Burren — rarely a good idea if past experience is anything to go by”.

He was announcing details of the Burren Spring Conference entitled The Burren — What is to be done? to be held at Ballyvaughan on March 11-13.

The organisers hope the conference will explore the Burren’s latent potential and look at models and methods through which the potential might be best realised.

According to Dr Dunford: “The Burren has so much to offer. But some of us feel we need to be far more proactive in deciding what it is we want for the Burren and being a bit more determined in actually pursuing it.”

He said “the conference seeks to look at what other regions are doing, to imagine what the Burren might be, and to take the first steps to getting there — for instance by working together as a community on exploring the development of a charter for the Burren”.

Speakers include Conor Newman, chief executive of the Heritage Council, and Kevin Whelan, co-author of Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape. Also speaking will be Susanne Forslund, who works closely with communities in the Swedish island of Oland, and David Gibbon, a long-time visitor to the Burren with 40 years of research experience.

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