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New Green Flag Award judges receive first ever Green Heritage Site training

St Stephen's Green glasshouse inspection by judges. Photo: Courtesy of An Taisce.

New Green Flag Award judges received specialist Green Heritage Site training as part of an expansion of the Green Flag Awards. The Green Heritage Site judges will be considering how parks and green spaces understand and care for the history of the site and share the history with visitors. 


Sports & Parks

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3 June 2019

An Taisce Environmental Education has organised the first Green Heritage Site training for new judges, which took place in Portlaoise on May 23, as part of the expansion of the international Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces in Ireland.

The Green Heritage Site Accreditation Judges will be considering how parks and green spaces understand and care for the history of the site and share the history with visitors.

“Green Flag Award judging expands one’s experience. You get to meet and talk to people working in the sector who you would never otherwise meet. You also get to see other Parks or areas within Parks that you would never get to visit, and maybe pick up a few new ideas that can be taken back to one’s own area.” said Benedicata McArdle, Green Flag Award Judge, Dundalk Town Council.

Marion Parker, Green Flag Award Judge from Roscommon said: “Judging has been both a pleasure and an inspiration – seeing the pride and interest of staff who work in the parks, to the benefits and pleasure of people of all ages using the park. Being awarded the Green Flag is a major achievement not only for staff but for the whole community and shows how important it is to have this lovely space in a town or a village that is freely available to everyone.”

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 and green spaces 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.

The Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Award is an international standard for high quality park and green space provision. Its creation encourages good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in an environmentally sustainable manner and meet the needs of the community.

A component of the Green Flag Award Scheme; Green Heritage Site Accreditation will address best practice management of historic parks and green spaces, and sustainably enhanced heritage tourism for these sites.

Green Heritage Site Accreditation is awarded to public green spaces that are managed to Green Flag Award standards and also actively understand, identify, manage, and promote the elements of their heritage that make that site unique.

This is of great relevance today as strategic partnerships, such as the Wild Atlantic Way, seek to boost visitor numbers and tourism in rural areas where many of our heritage sites are located.

This is desirable because tourism is vital for the rural economy, however such sites also need to be managed in such a way as to not suffer any negative effects from increasing the number of visitors.

This aligns well with the provision of both the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces, and the Green Heritage Site Accreditation. The scheme supports our most valuable green space assets, not only in terms of protecting them by setting a standard for their maintenance, but it also promotes Green Flag Award sites to tourists and visitors internationally.

The most recent 2018 season saw an additional 12 applicant parks and community gardens qualify for a Green Flag 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.

If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award, Green Heritage Site Accreditation, or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education, email them at or telephone: 01-4002212.

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