Lough Gur has been awarded the first Green Heritage Flag for Limerick in recognition of exceptional work carried out by Limerick City and County Council, the Office of Public Works and the National Monuments Service at the scenic Lakeshore Park and wider areas over the previous three years. The park was also officially conferred with a second Green Flag for 2022/2023 as the international mark of quality for parks and green spaces.
The new Green Heritage Flag award for 2023/2023 places a special emphasis on maintaining a delicate balance between positive improvements and protecting the unique heritage of the year. Both the Green Heritage Flag and Green Flag Award sets a gold standard to adhere to by the custodians of the park. The awards will be applied for each year to monitor progress and ongoing improvements. Assessment criteria for the Green Flag Award include visible evidence of management in the areas of marketing and communication, a warm welcoming approach, heritage and biodiversity and community involvement. While assessment criteria for the Green Heritage Flag include visible evidence of good conservation standards, historic features given prominence with work supported on site by professional staff.
Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr Francis Foley raised the first Green Heritage Site Accreditation flag over Lough Gur and said: “It gives me great pleasure to be with you for what is another important day in the long and special history of this wonderful place – Lough Gur.
"The raising of the Green Heritage Site Flag accredited by An Taisce is in recognition of exceptional work carried out by volunteers, supporters, Lough Gur Development, Limerick City and County Council, the Office of Public Works and the National Monuments Service at the scenic lakeshore park and wider areas over the previous three years. The new award places a special emphasis on maintaining a delicate balance between positive improvements and protecting the unique heritage of the area. Both the Green Heritage Site Accreditation Flag and Green Flag Award sets a gold standard to adhere to by the custodians of the park. The awards will be applied for each year to monitor progress and ongoing improvements.”
Carmel Lynch, Senior Engineer for Limerick City and County Council with responsibility for Recreation commented:
“The recent announcement of a Green Heritage Flag for Lough Gur marks a first-time award in this category for Limerick. The new accreditation for Lough Gur as a Green Heritage Site was approved for integrating historic features, that are found in abundance in Lough Gur, while also connecting the area’s rich heritage to the local landscape through careful planning and maintenance. The Green Heritage Flag award signals the benefits of working together. Combined, Limerick City & County Council, relevant State agencies, including the National Monuments Service & the Office of Public Works along with the local community, received this new accreditation due to their commitment to promoting & preserving the natural environment and heritage for the benefit of everyone who visits there. This is a great achievement for all associated with progressing balanced continuous improvement measures for Lough Gur and is a great achievement overall for Limerick.”
Emer Connolly, Director for National Monuments Service also attended to formally recognise and acknowledge the importance of all agencies working together to retain and attain this award.
The flag raising ceremonies were followed quickly afterward by the formal launch of a new Heritage Guide for Lough Gur, funded by the Office of Public Works. Head of Heritage and Capital Works Delivery, Rosemary Collier formally launched the new guide. Although spearheading capital projects for all of Ireland it was Rosemary’s local family connections in the area that won the audience over with murmurs of approval clearly heard from those attending.
Rosemary commented, “I have very early memories from spending summers here in Lough Gur visiting great grandparents and cousins. Lough Gur holds a very special place in my heart and it is with great appreciation and pleasure that I formally launch this new guide expertly written by archaeologist Rose Cleary with beautiful illustrations included from local artist Robert Ryan. Well done to all involved.”
Local authority archaeologist Sarah McCutcheon also spoke on the day on behalf of Limerick City and County Council.
To conclude events Kate Harrold, Manager for Lough Gur commented, “The greatest success for Lough Gur on this monumental occasion is clear evidence of how everyone works seamlessly. There are many moving parts to maintain when the wide variety of agencies and people involved is considered. These include the Office of Public Works, National Monuments Service, Limerick City and County Council, Lough Gur Development, Fáilte Ireland, local elected Councillors, volunteers, staff and visitors, to name but a few. It is clear that the outstanding achievement for Lough Gur today is the continued efforts of all agencies and individuals working together for the benefit of Lough Gur and the wider region. I would like to thank all of them for working with me to achieve this first-time award for Limerick.”