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Delight as Inishowen community park scoops Green Flag

A park nestled in Inishowen has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag.

Residents in Carndonagh can be rightly proud of the award after their local Barrack Hill Town Park scooped the accolade.

The 2023 Green Flag Awards were announced by An Taisce Environmental Education, recognising Ireland’s best managed Public Parks and Green Spaces.

The Green Flag Award for Parks was awarded to 101 parks, gardens, grounds and wildlife sanctuaries around the country and benchmarks excellence in the management of green spaces which are open free to the public.

A total of 150 parks were awarded flags around Europe, with Ireland leading the way and Barrack Hill Town Park, Carndonagh flying the flag in Donegal.

Carmel Doherty, Chairperson for the Barrack Hill Town Park steering committee expressed her delight at the award.

She said “We are delighted to achieve this award again. A lot of work has been carried out in the park in terms of playground improvements, biodiversity enhancement and providing an engaging space for the wellbeing and connection of the young and old in our diverse community.”

The Green Flag Award is the international quality benchmark for the public green space sector – now operating in 17 countries around the world. Running for over 25 years, the programme uses eight key criteria headings, with an emphasis on environmental management, for assessments.

Both a management framework for each site and an annual condition inspection is conducted through a network of qualified judges. Once again more Green Flag Awards have been secured by Irish Parks and Gardens than by any country, other than the UK where the scheme originated in 1996. Out of 150 awarded in Europe today, 101 were in Ireland.

This year participating European countries include Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey

Michael McFadden, Manager of Roads and Transportation along with Fiona Doherty and her colleagues in Community Development in Donegal County Council are all delighted with the result.

Fiona commented “It is a great example of our partnership approach of working together to achieve great outcomes”
“I can attest to the fact that Barrack Hill have never been satisfied to rest on their laurels, indeed, it’s clear the group’s focus is on enhancement for the wider Carndonagh area” Michael added.

Some of the feedback from the judges on their inspection of Barrack Hill was that the new picnic tables are of a high standard, are well positioned and are being well used, the new play park has a good variety and quality of play equipment and the wild animal sculptures and fairy trail are a very nice touch.

The bee friendly orchard and bee friendly planting and no mow areas are all coming along well and there was no evidence of weedkiller being used.

Additionally, the grass areas are well maintained with a good mixture of planting and the various planters were well decorated and colourful. The community gardens allotment is very well-tended to and the entrance area flower display is vibrant.

“We are planning to further improve the biodiversity and facilities in the park with a wetlands area, safe walking and cycling trail and recreational space for teenagers in the future” added Carmel.