Over 100 Irish public parks and green spaces have won an international Green Flag Award this year, the second highest in the world.
In total, 103 sites have received a Green Flag. Eighty-four of these sites are official public parks and 19 sites are community green sites run by volunteers.
Ireland was just behind the UK in the number of awards received, and the program started there in 1996.
Three of the award-winning parks also received another Pollinator Plan Award.
This award is given to spaces that have made an effort to support their local pollinating insects.
The Kilbarry Nature Park, operated by the City and County Council of Waterford, was the big winner in this category. This natural park is located on an old rehabilitated landfill. It also took first place in the municipal park category.
The Ballycroy Visitor Center in the Wild Nephin National Park in Co Mayo won the country park category.
Julianstown Community Garden in Co Meath was rated as the best community initiative.
Castletown House and Parklands in County Kildare, the Maynooth University Campus and Saint Anne’s Park in County Dublin took home the Highly Recommended / Special Award category.
Seven of the green flag sites have also received the new green heritage accreditation standard.
This type of approval is granted to public green spaces of historical and cultural importance.
In order to earn a green flag, parks and green spaces are assessed by a team of trained volunteer judges, who examine horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community engagement.
City public parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, nature parks and green spaces are eligible for the prize.
This year, more than 2,300 public sites in 16 countries achieved Green Flag or Green Flag Community Award status.
Minister of State for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien has said that since 2018, community-managed green spaces are eligible for a green flag.
âBy doing this, we were able to leverage the values ââand standards of the Green Flag Award for the benefit of our communities and their volunteer work.
Mr. O’Brien thanked the park staff and community volunteers for their hard work in securing the awards.
âNot only to achieve this Green Flag success for Ireland today, but also to maintain the many parks, gardens and green spaces across the country for our mutual benefit. It is a great merit that they have largely remained open and well managed during this difficult period. “