Údarás na Gaeltachta has welcomed the recent application by the Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark Committee for UNESCO Geopark status for the area. This application for international recognition was made in partnership with Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach and Údarás na Gaeltachta, among others.
The Irish Global Geoparks Committee have stated that they are satisfied that all criteria have been met for application submission, and they have provided a letter of endorsement for the application, as has the National Commission for UNESCO in Ireland.
If the application is successful, Dúiche Sheoigheach will be the fourth UNESCO Geopark in the country – Geopark status has also been awarded to the Copper Coast in Waterford, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare and the Cuilcagh Lakelands in the Cavan/Fermanagh area. Geoparks are internationally recognised sites with a unique geography, landscape, history and culture; they are managed with a focus on education, conservation, sustainable development and community engagement.
Welcoming this important step in the journey towards Geopark Status, Gearóid Ó Fátharta, manager of Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach said:
“As hosting body for the UNESCO Dúiche Sheoigheach and Western Lakes Geopark, we are very happy that the application for UNESCO status has been submitted and is now with Kristof Vandenberghe, Head of Earth Sciences and Geoparks with UNESCO.”
“We are grateful to the funding bodies, Údarás na Gaeltachta, GSI, and Galway and Mayo County Councils. The greatest credit goes to the local community, particularly the local development committees and the farmers of the area. This is great for the Dúiche Sheoigheach and Tuar Mhic Éadaigh Gaeltacht, as it is the first time that a Gaeltacht area has applied for UNESCO Geopark status. We believe that it will strengthen tourism and provide a major boost to cultural and heritage activities in the region.”
Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, Director of Regional and Community Development and Language Planning commented:
“We are very pleased that Údarás na Gaeltachta was able to support this project, which encompasses community development, tourism and the environment, in a way that places the Gaeltacht firmly on the global map. This partnership with UNESCO is hugely significant for the Gaeltacht and we would not have come this far, were it not for the continuing co-operation we have with Galway and Mayo County Councils and Geological Survey Ireland.”