Bord na Móna’s new €1.5 million euro development, which sees a new visitor centre and facilities in Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co. Offaly, was officially opened this morning by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D.
Speaking today at the official opening, Mr. John Horgan, Chairman, Bord na Móna, said: “The new visitor facilities will provide an improved experience for all visitors, schools and communities, helping everyone to enjoy the full extent of Lough Boora Discovery Park. This significant development that we are here to launch today will support the future economic growth of not only West Offaly but the entire County and will prove to be a unique and significant attraction for local, national and international visitors.”
The development of Lough Boora started in 1994 when Bord na Móna staff and representatives of the local community formed the Lough Boora Group. They completed a feasibility study which formed a blueprint for the subsequent development of the greater Lough Boora area. Lough Boora Discovery Park now extends to over 2000 hectares and has a network of off-road walking and cycle routes within a perimeter of approximately 20 kilometres. Various internal looped walkways and routes offer a wonderful vista of scenic beauty, heritage and an impressive collection of sculptures. Through a creative combination of nature and the human hand, and under the direction of Bord na Móna, this is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike.
He continued: “Throughout the planning and building process, Bord na Móna sought to create a sense of arrival and identity for Lough Boora Discovery Park, to provide improved visitor facilities and services and to upgrade interpretation and signage throughout the whole site. A key objective of this investment was to provide a sustainable development that is in keeping with the landscape. With this in mind, the building itself has a number of environmentally friendly features, including use of sustainable materials in construction, a green roof, solar energy, and an ecological waste water treatment system, amongst other things.”
Mr. Horgan concluded: “Projects such as this cannot come to fruition without the support of the various stakeholders that are here today. For our part, we are delighted with the support, time and commitment received from Fáilte Ireland and Offaly County Council. I would also like to thank all the other organizations, groups and individuals that have made a major contribution to the development of Lough Boora over many years, whose hard work and dedication has made such a wonderful facility as this a reality.”
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For further information, please contact:
Daithí de Róiste
Bord na Móna
087 612 3999
About Bord na Móna: Bord na Móna was initially established to develop Ireland’s peat resources for the economic benefit of the state. Today the company operates a diversified portfolio across five main business areas serving markets in Ireland, Britain, Mainland Europe and further afield. These business activities are based on both peat and non-peat products and services and principally cover the power generation, resource recovery, horticulture and home heating sectors.
For more information, visit www.bordnamona.ie
Notes to the editor
Bord na Móna’s Boora group of bogs in Co. Offaly are one of the oldest areas of commercial peat production in Ireland. Over recent years, large tracts of this bog have become cutaway as all commercial peat has been exhausted and Bord na Móna has worked closely with various organisations to develop Lough Boora Discovery Park into a fine natural amenity for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community and all visitors. The Discovery Park demonstrates how a well structured and planned rehabilitation programme can be applied to a cutaway area and provides a haven for biodiversity, including flora, fauna, insects and wildlife.
Lough Boora Discovery Park has become an important refuge for wildlife, including some of Ireland’s most endangered species. Over 130 varieties of birds can be found, with roughly half of them breeding on site. Included here is the Native Grey Partridge Conservation Project, run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which houses the last remaining population of this rare bird. From an initial figure of 24
birds in the autumn of 2000, this has now grown to the hundreds throughout the project.