People’s Park Portarlington


Green Flag Award 2018/19

19/07/2018

PRESS RELEASE

Green Flag Award

Irish Parks Work with Nature to Increase Green Flag Award Numbers Nationwide

***Embargoed until 00.01 19th of July 2018***

Only awarded for exceeding tough environmental standards in green space management, and excellence of visitor attractions – the Green Flag Award for Parks is the mark of a quality park or green space and is recognised throughout the world.

Today, An Taisce Environment Education revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award for 2018.

A winner for the first time in 2017, it is Castletown Demesne in Kildare that provided this year’s venue to celebrate the 48 Irish Parks and Gardens from across the Republic of Ireland who are receiving their 2018 Green Flags.

The 2018 awards were available to public town parks, country parks, gardens, cemeteries, and green spaces from across the whole country. The 2018 season has seen an additional 12 applicant parks and gardens qualify for an award. this has resulted in some of our most significant landmark parks and estates being recognised for the quality of their recreational and historic green space, as well as newer up and coming green space projects that are equally worthy of recognition.

This year has also seen the initial introduction of the Green Flag Community Award Scheme into Ireland, allowing sites managed by volunteers and community groups to participate for the first time. The new Green Flag Community Award extends the Scheme to include community initiatives such as; Community Gardens, Community Parks, and Tidy Towns Projects. By providing our community green spaces with access to Green Flag Award best practice we will empower community groups to improve their local community and environment. Five of the 48 Green Flags awarded in 2018 were for the new Green Flag Community Award.

Building upon last year’s success, additional local authorities have entered the scheme for the first time in 2018. First time winners this year include town parks from County Kerry, as well as two of our national parks; Connemara and Ballycroy National Parks.

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal – Damien English T.D., was in attendance today to open the award ceremony, and to support how the important role played by local authorities is being recognised by today’s award ceremony.

Minister English commented that “the Green Flag Awards encourage the provision of good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. The act of planning, creating, and using a public utility, be it a community garden, park or open space, brings people, communities and neighbours together.  It is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle to have access to, and to be able to enjoy, outdoor amenities particularly those which are so well tended and maintained”.

The Green Flag Awards are judged every year by a peer jury of green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, and community involvement. In Ireland the Green Flag Award for Parks Scheme has been enthusiastically received by park management as it delivers major wins for the delivery of quality green spaces by respective parks and park departments. These include:

  • The promotion and reward for best practice management
  • Creation of a plan for improvements and future works
  • The building of a collaborative network of park management nationally
  • The implementation of environmental sustainability within park management

“In terms of urban renewal, and rural and community development, the Green Flag Award for Parks is a logical and sensible step towards supporting community engagement with green space improvement, and helps increase quality of life within our communities.” said Robert Moss, the Green Flag Award for Parks Manager for the Republic of Ireland.

Robert Moss also noted that this year’s introduction of the Green Flag Community Award is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development because “it builds a very constructive conduit for information, knowledge and skill share between the professional and voluntary green space management sectors within our society”.

 

Three of the 2018 Green Flag Award winning parks were also identified by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for an additional Pollinator Project Award. This award is specifically for those Green Flag Parks that have made an effort to support the local pollinating insect populations, or to promote their importance. Th e Pollinator Project Award is jointly run with An Taisce Environmental Education to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, and is kindly sponsored by Young’s Nurseries. While there are pollinator project awards across different park categories it was Castletown Demesne itself, operated by the Office of Public Works, that was the overall winner. This site features not only pollinator friendly planting and gardening, but also makes a great effort to educate the public and to promote these efforts through its website and social media.

 

If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by An Taisce Environmental Education please e-mail us at rmoss@eeu.antaisce.org or telephone:  01 4002212 or 086 3579663

 

Location

Click here to locate the People’s Park

History and Description of site

The People’s Park, Portarlington officially opened in 2000. It is a 3 hectare open space situated between the Link Road and the River Barrow. The frontage along the Link Road comprises of a car park which has a dual purpose in providing for park users as well as shoppers. The park is designed predominantly for passive recreation with pathways, trees and grass. Seating is provided throughout. New additional features include a 9 Hole Disc Golf course, tree trail and orienteering course. The People’s Park is linked with the adjoining Portarlington Leisure Centre; with all-weather soccer pitches and a mini basketball court making this an active recreation facility which caters for diverse activities, age groups and abilities. The Portarlington Community Centre is also adjacent to the Leisure Centre with provides further sporting facilities and community activities.

 

The playground installed in 2005, is nestled in the centre of the park with a fenced off playground for younger kids adjacent to this area.  The playground is constructed to a high standard and is used and appreciated by the community on a continuous basis. A line of trees between the car park and the Link Road are well placed and protected which makes a significant impact on the landscape. The boundary to the People’s Park is provided by a low laurel hedge and a low wall. Pedestrian pathways meander throughout the Park. Situated further into the park is the tomb effigy of Robert Heartpole and is considered by the locals as a main feature within the park. Other features include the Stone for the 1916-2016 Commemoration, a sun dial and the Reclining Bather (a sculpture by Dick Joynt.) Different species of trees are planted throughout with a beautiful specimen of an older tree situated near the all-weather pitch.

 

A major feature of the People’s Park is the access to the River Barrow which facilitates access along the river bank by way of a walkway.

 

Portarlington Park Map site is available for download here

 

The Green Flag Award 2018

The Green Flag Award for Parks is a benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces. It was established in the United Kingdom in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country. Today it is a worldwide programme. In 2014 it was piloted in Dublin and six parks were awarded Green Flags. The Park has been entered for the Green Flag Award 2018.

 

Partnership Organisations/External Relationships

An Taisce http://www.antaisce.org/

The Heritage Council https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/

Tree Council https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/

Laois Offaly Branch Irish Wildlife https://iwt.ie/

Garden and Landscape Designers Association http://glda.ie/

An Garda Síochána https://www.garda.ie/en/

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) https://www.rospa.com/

Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) https://www.iosh.co.uk/

Green Flag Award http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/

National Biodiversity Data Centre http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/

Irish Water https://www.water.ie/

 

Gallery

 

 

 

News & Events

Junior Urban Outdoor Adventure programme

The Sport & Leisure section are running a Junior Urban Outdoor Adventure programme this September for after school clubs.

Contact the Sport & Leisure Office at sports@laoiscoco.ie or call 0578664058 for more information.

 

Active Parks programme

Free exercise programme in the park delivered by staff of Portarlington Leisure Centre funded by Healthy Ireland

Contact the Sport & Leisure Office at sports@laoiscoco.ie or call 0578664058 for more information.

 

Portarlington Leisure Centre Summer Camps

Contact Portarlington Leisure Centre on 0578645800 or visit Portarlington Leisure Centre website here

 

Facilities

The People’s Park, Portarlington offers the following range of attractions

  • Dedicated play facilities for children
  • Ecological features
  • River walk Section and fully accessible pathways
  • All-weather pitches
  • Mini Basketball area

 

Additional Facilities Planned for 2018/19

  • Disc Golf 9 hole course
  • Musical Play Area
  • Orienteering course
  • Tree Trail Bilingual
  • Outdoor Classroom