The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark hosted a gala evening celebrating the achievement of Global Geopark status. As the representative from the UNESCO explained, there are about 92 Geoparks worldwide, one even in Hong Kong.
Global Geopark status is a UNESCO-recognised award earned by unique regions worldwide. The status is awarded to special regions with outstanding geology and local culture – regions that support sustainable development, research, education and cultural heritage by working closely with local communities and agencies.
UNESCO and the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) develop common-sense quality standards and provide a useful structure for cooperation and exchange between Geoparks around the world. This is especially useful for regions that combine the preservation of their natural landscape into effective ways of achieving strong local economic development, usually through nature-friendly tourism. The status will be revised in four years' time to assess the involvement of and benefit for the local community.
The evening featured not only the awarding of the Geopark status, but also the official launch of The Burren Food Trail, the Geopark App for smartphones, the new Burren passport now called "The Burren Explorer"* and a new book about "The Birds of Fanore" by John Murphy.
* The highly successful Burren Passport was getting a makeover and was launched as the Burren Explorer. The new larger format will be packed full of useful visitor information about all aspects of the Burren, including accommodation, transport, visitor centres and things to do, it will be available throughout the Burren.