The project, which is the first of its kind, was launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D.
Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, in association with Bord na Móna, had their new Peatlands exhibition and Biodiversity Boardwalk launched this morning by Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D.. The Peatlands Exhibition and Biodiversity Boardwalk, a first of its kind in Ireland, tells the story of the Irish midlands raised bogs and the rural communities living beside them. Visitors will have an opportunity to discover how peatlands form, the flora and fauna living on them, past uses, future possibilities for the Peatlands and even the gruesome secrets of bog bodies.
Speaking today at the official opening, Mr. Ray Stapleton, Manager, Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, said “The new boardwalk and exhibition will provide an improved experience for all visitors. We hope the significant development that we are here to launch today will support the future economic growth of the entire County and will prove to be a unique and significant attraction for local, national and international visitors. The Park is now truly the “Gateway to the Peatlands” for tourists travelling from Dublin. Lullymore is a rural community intrinsically linked to the Peatlands. We believe that tourism will help form a sustainable future for both the community and our natural environment.”
Mr Gerry Ryan, Head of Land and Property, Bord na Móna said today: “Bord na Móna are delighted to be associated with the new Biodiversity Boardwalk and Peatlands Exhibition here today. Bogs harvested by Bord na Mona for energy since the 1940s are establishing as unique and welcoming habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Our cutaway peatlands have a variety of uses, and here in Lullymore there is a real opportunity to work together to attract tourism to the many rural communities throughout the region. Bord na Móna has throughout its history provided sustainable employment to the communities of the Midlands and by playing our part in this project that has come to fruition today, we recognise the huge importance both environmentally and economically it has to the region.
Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park was opened by President Mary Robinson in July 1993. Since then, the Park has grown steadily to become one of the most popular visitor attractions in our region. In early February 2012, Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park received a long term lease for 46 acres of cutaway peatlands adjacent to the Park from Bord na Mona in recognition of the Parks positive impact on the wider community. This generosity from Bord na Mona has quadrupled the size of the Park. Bord na Mona also assisted in the rehabilitation of this cutaway by blocking the drains in August 2011 and presently there are 4 lakes in the area with any excess water being diverted into the Bord na Mona drainage system. The Park now encompasses 60 acres of meandering trails and exhibitions through peatlands, lakes and ancient woodland.
Mr. Stapleton concluded: “Projects such as this cannot come to fruition without the support of the various organisations that are here today. For our part, we are delighted with the support, time and commitment received from Bord na Móna, Kildare Leader, the Department of Social Protection, Solas, Kildare County Council and Fáilte Ireland. I would also like to thank all the Park staff – past and present, the local community, volunteers and past customers who have made a major contribution to the development of the Park over many years, whose hard work and loyalty has made such a wonderful facility as this a reality.”