Source: An Taisce
**International Accreditation for Park Excellence in Ireland has jumped again this year, during a season which has seen massive park visitor increases everywhere. Ireland notably achieves a huge increase in urban park Green Flag accreditations across Dublin, Galway, and Waterford Cities.
Today also saw the further expansion of the scheme to include new types of public green spaces. In Waterford the country’s first Greenway was accredited, and in Cavan a UNESCO Global Geopark become a Green Flag Award Site for the first time.**
Numbers of International Green Flag Award Sites for the best parks and gardens to visit in Ireland have surged again this year. New green flag parks and gardens, accredited by teams of trained volunteer judges, include for the first-time sites from Counties Cavan, Donegal, and Waterford.
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.
Today, An Taisce revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award for 2020.
We can now celebrate 84 Irish Parks and Gardens from across the Republic of Ireland receiving their 2020 Green Flags.
From among 15 countries whose parks met the standard this year there were once again more Green Flag Awards secured by Irish Parks and Gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996.
This year participating countries included:
Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The 2020 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, nature parks and green spaces from across the whole country.
This year has also seen the number of Green Flag Community Award sites in Ireland more than double from last year. Additional community run parks and gardens were accredited in Counties Carlow, Donegal, Fingal – North County Dublin, Kildare, Galway, Roscommon, and Wexford. In all 14 amenities maintained by community groups are being acknowledged for the excellence of their volunteer run community green spaces.
The 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 empower community groups to improve their local community and environment. In Ireland the coordination of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme is made possible by the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The Minister of State for Community Development and Charities; Joe O’Brien stated that
“This year we have appreciated the importance of the public parks and gardens within our communities probably more than at any other time. They have supported us all in maintaining a significant quality of life during restrictions, uncertainty, and upset. Without our public parks and gardens our lives would have been much further reduced and confined.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the hard work put in by park staff, and community volunteers, across the country. Not only in achieving this Green Flag Success for Ireland today, but in maintaining the many parks, gardens, and greens across the country for our mutual benefit. It is a great credit that they largely remained open and well managed at this difficult time.”
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.
“I think that now our public parks are more valued than ever it is time to start appreciating them as investments in the future. Any funding spent on parks is repaid by them in terms of our quality of life, health, and happiness. They also provide us with the ability to adapt to the unexpected in an increasingly urban environment, and uncertain World”
said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Award for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland.
Robert Moss also noted that the Green Flag Community Award element of the scheme 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”.
Four of the 2020 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 or Gardens 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 Maynooth Campus, 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 Robert Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 086 3579663.
Note to Editors:
To view the promotional video of the 2020 Green Flag Raising event at Ardgillan Castle, and the message of support from Minister of State for Community Development and Charities; Joe O’Brien, please visit the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysPSinT81ys [Short form]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziWcwHmKpwk [Long form]
The Green Flag Award is an international benchmarking standard for parks and green spaces.
The Green Flag Award scheme is also operating across Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The green Flag Award scheme aims to encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways.
The Green Flag Award Scheme encourages high environmental performance and good management. Parks and green spaces are judged against eight key criteria. Where certain criteria are not met, applicants can provide justifications that may be taken into account. What’s more, if management practice changes are in progress but not yet fully implemented, transitional phases will be acknowledged and viewed positively.
The judging criteria also considers the fact that each park/green space will offer different kinds of facilities and will be managed and developed to varying opportunities and constraints. Innovation and the way facilities offered are tailored to the needs of the community will also be taken into account.
The full list of the 2020 Green Flag Award winning parks within the Republic of Ireland is as follows:
2020 Green Flag Awards:
- Abbeyfeale Community Leisure Ltd Páirc Cois Féile / Abbeyfeale Park
• Cavan County Council Cavan Burren Park
• Clare County Council John O’Sullivan Park
• Clare County Council Tim Smythe Park
• Clare County Council Vandeleur Walled Gardens
• Donegal County Council Barrack Hill Town Park
• Dublin City Council Albert College Park
• Dublin City Council Blessington Street Park
• Dublin City Council Bushy Park
• Dublin City Council Father Collins Park
• Dublin City Council Herbert Park
• Dublin City Council Markievicz Park
• Dublin City Council Poppintree Park
• Dublin City Council Saint Anne’s Park
• Dublin City Council Saint Audoen’s Park
• Dublin City Council Saint Patrick’s Park
• Dublin City Council Weaver 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 Newbridge House and Farm
• Fingal County Council Santry Demesne
• Fingal County Council Saint Catherine’s Park
• Galway City Council Children’s Millennium Park
• Galway City Council Quinncentennial Park
• Kerry County Council Childers Park & Woodlands
• Kerry County Council Tralee Town Park
• Kildare County Council Liffey Linear Park Newbridge
• Laois County Council Páirc an Phobail Portlaoise
• Laois County Council Peoples Park Portarlington
• Limerick Council The Peoples Park Limerick
• 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
• Maynooth University / Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth Campus
• Mayo County Council Jackie Clarke Collection Heritage Garden
• Mayo County Council Turlough Park
• NPWS Connemara National Park
• NPWS Killarney House and Gardens
• NPWS Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park
• National University of Ireland Galway National University of Ireland Galway Campus
• North Mayo Heritage Centre Enniscoe
• Offaly County Council Lloyd Town Park Tullamore
• OPW Castletown Demesne
• OPW Derrynane Historic Park
• OPW Fota Arboretum & Gardens
• 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
• Sport Ireland National Sports Campus Sport Ireland Campus
• South Dublin County Council Corkagh Park
• South Dublin County Council Rathfarnham Castle Park
• South Dublin County Council Sean Walsh Park
• South Dublin County Council Tymon Park
• South Dublin County Council Waterstown Park
• Waterford City and County Council Kilbarry Nature Park
• Waterford City and County Council Waterford Greenway
• Westmeath County Council Mullingar Town Park
• Wexford County Council Pearse Park – New Ross
• Wexford County Council The New Ross Library Park
• Wicklow County Council Glendalough Cemetery
Green Heritage Site Accreditation:
• OPW Irish National War Memorial Gardens
2020 Green Flag Community Awards:
• County Carlow Bagenalstown Town Park
• County Donegal The River Walk Dungloe
• Fingal (North County Dublin) The Rock Garden
• County Galway Headford Community Garden
• County Galway Headford Community Orchard
• County Galway Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project
• County Kildare Zero Waste Community Garden
• County Mayo Ballina Karen Community Garden
• County Mayo Ballyhaunis Community Garden
• County Mayo Kilmaine Community Garden
• County Meath Julianstown Community Garden
• County Roscommon Knockvicar Organic Garden
• County Roscommon Ballaghaderreen Community Garden
• County Wexford Le Chéile Park
2020 Pollinator Project Award:
Maynooth University / Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth Campus
• Country Park:
OPW: Castletown Demesne
• Town Park:
Maynooth University / Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth Campus
• Walled Garden:
OPW The Phoenix Park – Victorian Walled Garden
• Community Award:
County Galway Headford Community Orchard
• Highly Commended/Special Award:
Dublin City Council Saint Anne’s Park
Fingal County Council Millennium Park
Waterford City and County Council Kilbarry Nature Park