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Irish Landscape Institute’s 2022 Spring Conference set for next week

Speakers include Margaret Gormley, chief park superintendent at the Office of Public Works



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21 April 2022

The Irish Landscape Institute will host its virtual 2022 Spring Conference titled ‘Multifunction Landscapes: Design to Management’ next week.

Taking place 27 April, the event will see four speakers from across Ireland and the UK deliver presentations on their involvement in the planning and management of sensitive landscapes for multi-functional purposes.

All landscape architects, the speakers will discuss the importance of biodiversity, cultural heritage, public amenity, agricultural practices and food production, and tourism and the mechanism for engagement between government and landowners in the successful planning and management of these high value landscapes.

The event will kick off at 10am with an introduction by Bernadette O’Connell, president of the Irish Landscape Institute, and will conclude at 12.30pm, following a panel discussion involving the event’s speakers.


Margaret Gormley: The chief park superintendent at the Office of Public Works, Gormley manages one of the largest designed enclosed historic landscapes in any European city, the Phoenix Park. Her presentation will illustrate how good environmental stewardship supports over 12 million visitors annually, facilitating sustainable experiences with nature, biodiversity, built heritage, horticulture, and arboriculture. Gormley has worked in public park management for over 25 years and has qualifications in BAgSc (Landscape Horticulture), Dip Mang & IR, Cert Safety, Health & Welfare at Work, MILI.

Merrick Denton-Thompson: A landscape architect who has worked across all levels of the public sector, both in executive and non-executive positions Denton-Thompson specialises in strategic and local planning, urban regeneration, and rural land management. He left local government to become a board member of Natural England. Recently he has been helping the UK government in the drafting of the 25 Year Environment Plan and in the design of the Environmental Land Management system that will replace the Common Agricultural Policy in 2024. Denton-Thompson was the president of the Landscape Institute from 2016-2018.

Robert Deane: The managing director of Rural Focus, an environmental consultancy based in the UK, Deane’s work specialises in the management of high value landscapes and the role that farming, and land management takes in maintaining them. Deane has an agricultural background, with experience of the livestock, arable and horticultural sectors, and spent seven years as a Policy Adviser with the National Farmers’ Union. Through a series of recent projects in England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, he has helped develop national practice on the concept of natural capital.

Sarah Bryan: The chief executive of the Exmoor National Park Authority, Bryan has worked on Exmoor for more than 25 years, since joining the organisation as a conservation officer (landscape) in 1992. Bryan used her roles to engage with landowners and land managers, forging strong partnerships with external agencies and partners, and leading key conservation and landscape projects. She has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia, a second degree in Landscape Design, from Manchester University and is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute. She sits on Natural England’s Landscape Advisory Panel.

Registration is required to attend the event. To register please visit:

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