LULLYMORE Heritage Park in Rathangan has received a major award for environmental tourism. The 60-acre heritage and discovery park, which is located on a mineral island in the Bog of Allen between Rathangan and Allenwood,was named as Ireland’s best Environmental Tourism Innovation in the Irish Tourism Industry Awards (ITIAs).
Despite facing a very strong and competitive field, the judges ultimately identified Lullymore Heritage Park as a worthy winner.
“This award recognises the unique experience that Lullymore Heritage Park has been providing to countless visitors since it opened back in 1993,” said Minister Ross.
“Lullymore is a world-class tourist attraction in a unique setting. It appeals to all ages and combines education and leisure to provide a unique insight into the Irish Peatlands and biodiversity. I am proud to give the award for ‘Environmental Tourism Innovation’ to this uniquely Irish attraction.”
The park was founded by the late Seán Judge in 1993 and his widow Geraldine who is now Chairperson Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park accepted the award and dedicated it to his husband’s memory and all the staff past and present.
“Seán led the park from very humble beginnings to what we have today. We find it very fitting that the award we received was in recognition of the last project Sean led to fruition – the Peatlands Exhibition and Biodiversity Boardwalk trail in 2013,” she said.
Manager Ray Stapleton said :“The award means so much to us as we have all worked so hard to get to this stage. With recent development the park gives visitors a comprehensive insight into the peatlands and
the history / culture of the people living around it. Much of West Kildare and Offaly is covered in peatlands and we feel that both the cutaways and the untouched peatlands are key to attracting tourism and improving the natural environment in our area. We hope that we will have a growing influence on tourism to the midlands and help change it from being a transit zone for the most part to being a destination in its
Jonathan Judge said they had an exciting year of developments ahead in the park and this award is a great way to kick start 2017. “We launched our Lullymore Heritage Railway last August to great reviews and
we feel that the railway will really help us attract more international and domestic groups as it’s the only one on its type in the country. “
Speaking at the event, Eoghan O’Mara-Walsh, Chief Executive of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation said: “Lullymore Park’s success shows that Irish tourism offers visitors something unique. Its setting and location, as well as its facilities, which showcase sustainability and biodiversity, make for a unique offering for tourists at home and abroad.”