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Geoparks
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Description

Bring up geology in a conversation and it will soon become apparent that the general public has limited knowledge on the geological diversity of North West Europe and its determining influence on the history and culture of the region. Building on the existing UNESCO network of European Geoparks, ten partners from Northern Ireland, Ireland and Germany have pooled together their resources and expertise to promote North West Europe’s geological heritage. The project’s first objective [...]
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Lead Partner:
Natural Environment Research Council (Geological Survey of Northern Ireland)
Research Council 20 College Gardens BT9 6BS BELFAST, County Antrim
UK
Tel + 44 2890 666 595
Fax + 44 2890 662 835

Contact:
Patrick MC. KEEVER
Project Manager
pmck@bgs.ac.uk

Measure: 4.1

Start date:
End date:

ERDF Grant: € 2 972 574
Total eligible cost: € 4 M€


Partners involved:

UK - Natural Environment Research Council through its component body, the British Geological Survey (Geological Survey of Northern Ireland).

UK - Fermanagh District Council (Marble Arch Caves and Cuilcagh Mountain Park European Geopark)

IRE - Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland Limited in behalf of the Copper Coast European Geopark Republic of Ireland

DE - Vulkaneifel-European Geopark – Geopark Gerolstein

UK - Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism Limited

IRE - Waterford County Council Republic of Ireland

IRE - Geological Survey of Ireland Republic of Ireland

DE - Eifel Tourismus (ET) GmbH

IRE - National University of Ireland, Cork. Department of Archaeology Republic of Ireland

DE - Vulkaneifel Geopark GmbH


Project type: Investment


Summary
Bring up geology in a conversation and it will soon become apparent that the general public has limited knowlegde on the geological diversity of North West Europe and its determining influence on the history and culture of the region. Building on the existing UNESCO network of European Geoparks, ten partners from Northern Ireland, Ireland and Germany have pooled together their ressources and expertise to promote North West Europe’s geological heritage.The project’s first objective is to promote “geotourism” at European level as a means of sustainable local development to deprived rural areas. A joint marketing strategy will be defined so that all three parks are jointly promoted to a selection of target groups across North West Europe. Sustainability is another important objective which leads the partnership to lay down high standards of quality for the three Gepoarks that have been identified as testing grounds to this transnational approach. Each site is particularly associated to volcanism and water action: the caves of Marble Arch in Northern Ireland, Vulkafeinel in Germany and the Copper Coast in the Republic of Ireland. Over € 4 Mio will be invested to equip these three Geoparks with cutting edge technologies such as touch screen information points, DVD presentations on rock formation or dynamic lighting systems to enhance visitor interpretation and create web virtual links between the three locations. Thanks to NWE Programme funding the concept of a European Geoparks network concept makes a significant step forward.

Objectives

  • to protect and promote to the wider public the shared geodiversity of north-west Europe;
  • and to use north-west Europe’s rich geodiversity to bring sustainable economic development to our region

Activities

Expected Outcomes
The geodiversity (geological heritage) of Europe is very complex. Europe’s geological, natural and cultural heritages are, however, intimately linked. From earliest times, our patterns of settlement and cultural, social and economic development have been directly linked to the continents geological resources. This intimate inter-relationship between the peoples of north-west Europe and their geological environment is manifest in the names we have given to the phases of European human evolution; Stone, Bronze and Iron ages. This has continued through the industrial revolution of the 19th century into the silicon-based economy of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. However, there is an enormous awareness deficit , at all governmental and general public levels, of this relationship. This innovative project aims to redress this imbalance by raising awareness of north-west Europe's geological heritage as a cultural and sustainable economic resource.

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