11/05/12 – Minister Deenihan officially opens the Burren National Park Visitor Information Point at Corofin, Co. Clare
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today (11th May 2012) officially opened the new Burren National Park Visitor Information Point located in the Clare Heritage Centre in Corofin, Co. Clare.
The Burren National Park, Co Clare was established in 1991 and is located in the south eastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park is a Category II Protected Area as defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – the IUCN. As such, the Burren National Park shares the same international status as other natural heritage sites of world renown such as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and the Great Barrier Reef.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Deenihan said: “the new Visitor Information Point will serve primarily as an access point to the National Park where visitors can orientate and familiarise themselves with its main attributes prior to spending some time in the Park itself”.
The Park contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren. These include limestone pavement, hazel scrub, deciduous woodland, lakes, turloughs, springs, fen and limestone grassland. Botanically, the Burren is one of the most fascinating regions in Western Europe. Many of the flowers growing in narrow fissures on the limestone terraces are rare elsewhere and the combination of the flora is unusual, in that flowers from different biogeographical regions such as the Arctic, Alpine and southern regions are found growing side by side.
The Visitor Information Point in Corofin provides an educational and interactive experience for the visitor, using a blend of modern technology and interpretative panels on the geology, fauna, flora and management of the Burren.
The Minister also announced his intention to augment the new facility by introducing this year, on a pilot basis, a seasonal bus service between the Visitor Information Point in Corofin and the National Park. This will enable visitors to leave their cars in Corofin, access the Park, experience its beauty and habitats and walk the trails at their leisure.
Referring to the growing interest in nature and the country side as a recreational outlet and tourism product, the Minister said “Such pursuits offer an interesting, educational, healthy, and indeed, free recreational outlet. This type of activity is very popular among our fellow European citizens and yet, I doubt there is anything like the quality of this scenery, landscape and welcome elsewhere in Europe. We need to continue to promote and invest in our natural heritage and its potential as it presents a great opportunity to support domestic and overseas tourism in this country and to assist in re-invigorating both the local and national economy”.