Global Network of National Geoparks

Geopark has potential to provide tourism boost

Source : Source: by Olivia RYAN Published :September 3, 2009

LOUTH'S potential as the heart of a proposed 'Geopark' will be explored with a cross border tour taking place next week.

The tour will be led by Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and Brendan McSherry, Heritage Officer at Louth County Council, and will include representatives from the International Centre for Local and Regional Development based in Boston.

'This is an opportunity to see first hand the area that is geographically featured in the proposed Geopark,' said Bill Tosh, Executive Director at Dundalk Chamber.

The tour will take in the scenic beauty of the Cooley Peninsula, and cross the border to the Ring of Gullion and the Mourne Mountains.

' The most important thing to remember when discussing the prospects of this area being designated a Geopark is that it would have absolutely no implications for planning, but would have huge potential to boost tourism in Louth and the cross border area,' added Bill.

There are currently two UNESCO designated Geoparks in Ireland, the Copper Coast in Waterford, and the Marble Arch Caves in Fermanagh.

But as Brendan McSherry pointed out, the Louth/Armagh/Down area has many unique qualities which make it an ideal candidates for Geopark status.

'Our natural environment and heritage is something which is unique and something which we should be marketing.'

He added that gaining UNESCO status for a Geopark embracing the Cooley Mountains, the Mournes and the Ring of Gullion would help put the area on the map from a tourism perspective.

' We have a unique geological feature here which we could promote to attract people to this area,' says Brendan.

He feels that such designation would also help to protect the environment and raise public awareness of its importance.

The visit will take place on Monday next, 7th September and will also feature representatives from the Mournes Heritage Trust.