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Green Flag Award numbers increase nationwide

Katie and Christopher Skryne from Tara County Meath at An Taisce's Green Flag Award for Parks. Pic: Naoise Culhane Photography.

36 Irish Parks from across the Republic of Ireland received their Green Flags Awards for exceeding tough environmental standards for green space management, and for delivering excellent visitor facilities – the Green Flag Award is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.

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24 July 2018 | 0

Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and excellence of visitor attractions – the Green Flag Award for Parks is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.

An Taisce Environment Education has revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award for 2018.

Castletown Demesne in Kildare provided this year’s venue to celebrate the 48 Irish Parks and Gardens from across the Republic of Ireland who are receiving their 2018 Green Flags.

The 2018 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, and green spaces from across the whole country. The 2018 season has seen an additional 12 applicant parks and gardens qualify for an award.

This has resulted in some of our most significant landmark parks and estates being recognised for the quality of their recreational and historic green space, as well as newer up and coming green space projects that are equally worthy of recognition.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English and Dr Michael John O’Mahony (An Taisce Environmental Education Unit) at the Green Flag Awards for Parks. Photo: Naoise Culhane Photography.

Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English and Dr Michael John O’Mahony (An Taisce Environmental Education Unit) at the Green Flag Awards for Parks. Photo: Naoise Culhane Photography.

This year has also seen the initial introduction of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme into Ireland; allowing sites managed by volunteers and community groups to participate for the first time.

The new Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as; Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects.

By providing our community green spaces with access to Green Flag Award best practice we will empower community groups to improve their local community and environment. Five of the 48 Green Flags awarded in 2018 were for the new Green Flag Community Award.

Building upon last year’s success, additional local authorities have entered the scheme for the first time in 2018. First time winners this year include town parks from County Kerry, as well as two of our national parks: Connemara and Ballycroy National Parks.

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD, was in attendance to open the award ceremony, and to recognise the important role played by local authorities.

Minister English: “The Green Flag Awards encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. The act of planning, creating, and using a public utility, be it a community garden, park or open space, brings people, communities and neighbours together. It is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle to have access to, and to be able to enjoy, outdoor amenities particularly those which are so well tended and maintained.”

The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.

In Ireland the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme has been enthusiastically received by park management as it delivers major wins for the delivery of quality green spaces by respective parks and park departments. These include:

  • The promotion and reward for best practice management.
  • Creation of a plan for improvements and future works.
  • The building of a collaborative network of park management nationally.
  • The implementation of environmental sustainability within park management.

“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.

Moss also noted that this year’s introduction of the Green Flag Community Award is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development because “it builds a very constructive conduit for information, knowledge and skill share between the professional and voluntary green space management sectors within our society”.

Three of the 2018 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 that have made an effort to support the local pollinating insect populations, or to promote their importance.

The Pollinator Project Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is kindly sponsored by Young’s Nurseries. While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Castletown Demesne itself, operated by the Office of Public Works, that was the overall winner.

This site features not only pollinator friendly planting and gardening, but also makes a great effort to educate the public and to promote these efforts through its website and social media.

If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education please e-mail us at rmoss@eeu.antaisce.org or telephone: 01 4002212 or 086 3579663

2018 Green Flag Awards:

Clare County Council – Vandeleur Walled Gardens
Clare County Council – Tim Smythe Park

Dublin City Council – Blessington Street Park
Dublin City Council – Bushy Park
Dublin City Council – Markievicz Park
Dublin City Council – Poppintree Park
Dublin City Council – St Anne’s Park

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – Blackrock Park
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – Cabinteely Park
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – Marlay Park
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – People’s Park

Fingal County Council – Ardgillan Demesne
Fingal County Council – Malahide Demesne
Fingal County Council – Millennium Park
Fingal County Council – Santry Demesne
Fingal County Council – St. Catherine’s Park

Kerry County Council – Childers Town Park & Woodlands

Kildare County Council – Liffey Linear Park Newbridge

Laois County Council – Páirc an Phobail Park
Laois County Council – Peoples Park Portarlington

Longford County Council – The Mall

Louth County Council – Blackrock Community Park
Louth County Council – Ice House Hill Park
Louth County Council – Saint Helena Park
Louth County Council – Saint Dominic’s Park

Mayo County Council – Jackie Clarke Memorial Garden
Mayo County Council – Turlough Park

NPWS – Ballycroy National Park
NPWS – Connemara National Park

Offaly County Council – Lloyd Town Park Tullamore

OPW – Castletown Demesne
OPW – Derrynane Historic Park
OPW – Garinish Island
OPW – Grangegorman Military Cemetery
OPW – Irish National War Memorial Gardens
OPW – The Iveagh Gardens
OPW – The Phoenix Park
OPW – Saint Stephen’s Green

South Dublin County Council – Corkagh Park
South Dublin County Council – Sean Walsh Park

West Meath County Council – Mullingar Town Park

Wexford County Council – Pearse Park – New Ross
Wexford County Council – The New Ross Library Park

Green Heritage Site Accreditation
OPW Irish National War Memorial Gardens

2018 Green Flag Community Awards
County Galway – The Headford Community Garden and Environment Group
County Mayo – Ballina Karen Community Garden
County Mayo – Ballyhaunis Community Garden
County Mayo – Kilmaine Community Garden
County Roscommon – Knockvicar Organic Garden

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