Record number of Irish parks achieved Green Flag Award for 2017

Published by Lia Flattery on

July 24th, 2017

A record number of Irish parks have achieved the Green Flag Award for 2017 for their high quality and environmentally sustainable management of their green spaces.

An Taisce, one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental groups, awarded the Green Flags to 36 parks across the country at a ceremony in Malahide Castle last week. This is an increase of 14 parks from last year.

The Green Flag Award is an international scheme that promotes best practice management of parks and green spaces.

The programme aims to foster the provision of high quality and environmentally sustainable parks and was open to applications from public parks, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces across Ireland.

The Green Flag Award is judged by a jury of green space experts and marked on eight key criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement.

The successful parks are located across twelve counties and include the Phoenix Park, Saint Stephen’s Green, and Castletown Demesne, County Kildare.

Among the first time winners, this year were parks from Dundalk, Kildare, and Waterford, as well as parks along the Wild Atlantic Way, such as Vandeleur Walled Gardens and Garinish Island.

Robert Moss, Manager of the Green Flag Award for Parks in Ireland, commented: “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”.

 According to Mr Moss, this year also saw the introduction of the Pollinator Project Award for parks that have made a special effort to support and raise awareness of pollinating insect populations. The Phoenix Park was the overall winner here.

Opening the award ceremony, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English TD, said that having access to “outdoor amenities” is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle.

“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”, he said.

 Maurice Buckley, Chairman of the Office of Public Works (OPW), welcomed the news that seven OPW parks were among the flag recipients.

“I am delighted that the Office of Public Works has been awarded these flags for such wonderfully diverse parks,” he said.

He added that the OPW places “great importance on the sustainable management and conservation” of Ireland’s heritage sites and that the Green Flag programme is “a wonderful way” of acknowledging and celebrating this.

The scheme, which has been running in Ireland since 2015, is also in operation across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Australia, and New Zealand.

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Lia Flattery

Lía is a former writer and Deputy Editor at Trinity News. She also has a BA in History and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.