UNESCO award will help beef up Burren protection

A BURREN expert said yesterday he hopes securing a UNESCO-supported Global Geopark network designation for the unique landscape will lead to better protection of the area.

The director of BurrenLife, Dr Brendan Dunford, was yesterday commenting on the Burren and Cliffs of Moher securing the prestigious designation at the 10th European Geoparks Conference in Langesund, Norway, at the weekend.

“I would hope that this designation would inspire better protection and better education about the Burren,” he said.

“We already know the Burren’s rich archaeological heritage, and this award only highlights the need to look after this special landscape.”

As a result, the Burren is now part of a unique group of world locations that form the Global Network of National Geoparks.

There are 78 Geoparks in 26 countries worldwide, and the award is the culmination of a long application process co-ordinated by Clare County Council through the Burren Connect project, with the support of the Geological Survey of Ireland and Shannon Development.

Clare mayor Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) said: “As part of this UNESCO-supported initiative, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher region now enjoy global recognition.

“Global Geopark status does not create a national park or nature park, and does not permit open access to private property or land,” he said. “It is the role of a Geopark to encourage visitors and communities to experience geology at publicly accessible sites and trails.”

Acting director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, Dr Pat O’Connor, said: “The Geoparks network was established to help support local communities to develop their local economy through the promotion of geological heritage and the encouragement of eco-tourism initiatives.”

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