Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark & BEN
The geographical area of North Clare of Burren and Cliffs of Moher is a recognised UNESCO global Geopark.
The Geopark supports people and organisations to work together to ensure a cared-for landscape, a better understood heritage, more sustainable tourism, a vibrant community and strengthened livelihoods.
The UNESCO Global Geopark
Stand on 330 million year old limestone pavements of fossils, clints and grykes, filled with flowers from the Artic, Alps and Mediterranean growing side by side. Listen to the Atlantic waves crash into a vast network of unseen caves beneath your feet. Feel the awesome power of the Cliffs of Moher as they rise majestically from an ocean teeming with life. Imagine the lives of the people of bygone cultures who built the ancient tombs, forts, churches and walls all around you. Immerse yourself in the wonderful energy of traditional Irish music. Taste the delicious food produced from this ‘fertile rock’, and you will realise why this extraordinary place has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Global Geopark Status.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are internationally recognised places with unique geology, landscapes, history and culture. Geoparks are managed with a focus on education, conservation, sustainable tourism and community engagement.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher region has been a Geopark since 2011. Not only does the region have the geological and cultural importance that is required for UNESCO Global Geopark status, it also has the all-important network of organisations that oversee the tourism as well as the education and conservation efforts. The Mission Statement shows the type of work it engages in.
The Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark supports people and organisations to work together to ensure a cared-for landscape, a better understood heritage, more sustainable tourism, a vibrant community and strengthened livelihoods.
A very important aspect of UNESCO Global Geoparks programmes is sustainable tourism development. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher already has a very well-developed tourism offering, with the Cliffs of Moher attracting over one million visitors per year and the adjacent Burren having a National Park, visitor centres, managed archaeological sites, numerous walking and cycling trails, top quality food and accommodation and of course, the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way.
The approach of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is to work with the tourism sector to develop an ethos and practice of sustainability. With the Burren Ecotourism Network, the Geopark is raising the standard of sustainable practices among tourism businesses across the entire destination of the Geopark and across all types of businesses. To achieve this, we have developed the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism.
The Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism and its supporting training and mentoring programme is essentially a framework that will allow businesses in a destination to come together to build a sustainable tourism offering, the framework also allows each business that engages in the code to develop an environmental action plan.
For more information visit: Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark website
The Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN)
BEN is a network of tourism enterprises with the objective of establishing the Burren as a premier internationally recognised sustainable tourism region ensuring the future economic and social growth and sustainable development of its communities, environment and heritage. It seeks to support continued training, mentoring and accreditation in sustainable tourism for its members and for businesses interested in joining the Network.
The Network aims to be a recognisable network of enterprises in the Burren, who have achieved independent accreditation, demonstrate ecotourism ‘best practice’, positively discriminate in each other’s favour, provide ‘one voice’ representation on issues impacting the Burren (where appropriate), and inspire conservation activism.
The Burren Ecotourism Network and the Geopark have enjoyed a special relationship since 2008, when the Burren Connect Project first instigated the establishment of the Network. The two organisations now work in partnership, having agreed in late 2012 to pool their resources in pursuit of their common objective. Both organisations are committed to the promotion of responsible tourism that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. They work together to promote ‘The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark’ as a leading sustainable visitor destination, celebrated for high standards in visitor experience, conservation, and learning.
For more information visit www.burren.ie