Skip links

ABOUT US

GET TO KNOW US BETTER

EXPLORE OUR WHISPERING
LANDSCAPE

Ice-carved mountains and lakes, bikes and trails, world cup trout, castles and ruins, gorgeous villages, wondrous food drinks and culture – all these and more. Explore our whispering landscape!

Guth na Talún

Hover to preview
Open The Video
What lies beneath our feet? What’s that in your line of sight? What’s happening in our villages?

To find out, take a trip – real or virtual – through these fascinating yet lesser known parts of north Connemara and south west Mayo. Here, ancient history and modern living combine, with exquisite insights into how this savage beauty was carved out, how modern life evolved.

about Joyce Country & Western Lakes Geopark mission
Killary Fjord - Ireland's only fjord
Clonbur Limestone Pavement
The Geopark Project will start you on a journey, unlocking the past, overlaying it on the present and revealing its secrets.

Initially a two-year project (2020-2021), its key aim is to put in place the resources and structures to achieve UNESCO Global Geopark status. Geoparks are places of internationally significant geology, managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and economic development. They open a window on heritage and culture – ancient and current and everything in between – for locals and visitors alike.

Thanks to funding, primarily by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund in the Department of Rural & Community Development (part of Project Ireland 2040), also from a multi-agency partnership, and 10 years of committed volunteer work, the Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark project got underway in January 2020. The €1.19 million project, led by Geological Survey Ireland, recently employed 3 full-time staff. Michael Hegarty (Geopark Manager), Dr Benjamin Thébaudeau (Geopark Geologist) and Dominic O’Móráin (Tourism Officer, funded by Údarás na Gealtachta) are based in Tourmakeady County Mayo. The Project Manager Dr Siobhán Power and Amrine Dubois Gafar (Project Geologist) are based in Geological Survey Ireland in Dublin.

Cliffs of Moher & Burren - One of the three geoparks in Ireland
We hope to be the fourth…

There are currently three UNESCO Global Geoparks on the island of Ireland: Copper Coast in County Waterford; Burren & Cliffs of Moher, County Clare; and Marble Arch Caves in County Fermanagh and County Cavan. We are optimistic Joyce County & Western Lakes aspiring geopark can achieve UNESCO status in the next few years if the work progresses as anticipated.

A Strategy for the future

New tourism opportunities for businesses will be one of the key outcomes of the geopark project, leading to more local jobs and income possibilities. The basis of this is the region’s fantastic geological history of international significance and how it has shaped our landscape, the way people live and the rich heritage that we can now promote and enjoy more than ever. To help guide such tourism momentum, a new Tourism Development Strategy has been developed for the area by the project with expert input from an experienced facilitator. A brief document, it describes the vision, includes a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) and a look at living with and beyond COVID-19. A very important section is the Geopark Charter – a set of principles which guides our partnerships with businesses, communities, etc, all of whom are asked to subscribe and uphold these principles in the development of the Geopark. It concludes with six strategic objectives and key actions.

Information Flyer

We have developed a small flyer with key points about what a geopark is/isn’t, does/doesn’t, will/won’t ever be to help inform about opportunities and clear up misunderstandings. We know many in the region understand the geopark concept, although many don’t know what it’s about, and quite a few haven’t even heard of the proposal. There might even be some who may have the wrong idea of it too. We hope it helps to inform you.


Throughout the project there will be events and activities run by or in conjunction with the aspiring geopark – details will be posted on the Joyce Country & Western Lakes geopark website for those who want to be a part of this process. Information, signage and panels at sites of interest and training in business and networks development are being provided. An education programme for all levels is also being developed.

Twelve Bens & Inagh Valley

What lies beneath our feet? What’s that in your line of sight? What’s happening in our villages? To find out, take a trip – real or virtual – through these fascinating yet lesser known parts of north Connemara and south west Mayo. Here, ancient history and modern living combine, with exquisite insights into how this savage beauty was carved out, how modern life evolved.

The Geopark Project will start you on a journey, unlocking the past, overlaying it on the present and revealing its secrets. Initially a two-year project (2020-2021), its key aim is to put in place the resources and structures to achieve UNESCO Global Geopark status. Geoparks are places of internationally significant geology, managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and economic development. They open a window on heritage and culture – ancient and current and everything in between – for locals and visitors alike.

Thanks to funding, primarily by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fundin the Department of Rural & Community Development (part of Project Ireland 2040), also from a multi-agency partnership, and 10 years of committed volunteer work, the Joyce Country and Western Lakes aspiring geopark project got underway in January 2020. The €1.19 million project, led by Geological Survey Ireland, recently employed 3 full-time staff. Michael Hegarty (Geopark Manager), Dr Benjamin Thébaudeau (Geopark Geologist) and Dominic O’Móráin (Tourism Officer, funded by Údarás na Gealtachta) are based in Tourmakeady County Mayo. The Project Manager Dr Siobhán Power and Amrine Dubois Gafar (Project Geologist) are based in Geological Survey Ireland in Dublin.

 

 

There are currently three UNESCO Global Geoparks on the island of Ireland: Copper Coast in County Waterford; Burren & Cliffs of Moher, County Clare; and Marble Arch Caves in County Fermanagh and County Cavan. We are optimistic Joyce County & Western Lakes aspiring geopark can achieve UNESCO status in the next few years if the work progresses as anticipated.

 

Throughout the project there will be events and activities run by or in conjunction with the aspiring geopark – details will be posted on the Joyce Country & Western Lakes geopark website for those who want to be a part of this process. Information, signage and panels at sites of interest, and training in business and networks development are being provided. An education programme for all levels is also being developed.

EN