In a unique partnership, Landscape Alliance Ireland and the community of Abbeyleix will convene the National Landscape Forum on Thursday, June 22 and Friday, June 23. First convened in June 1995, the forum this year aims to be the first such interactive European landscape event, focusing all its attention on the distinctive characteristics of one locality with an integrated blend of presentations, field visits, workshops and open forum discussions.
Abbeyleix, one of Ireland’s entrants in the Entente Florale this year, is the oldest planned town in Ireland, has its own community-managed raised bog on its doorstep, and forms part of the demesne heritage of Ireland richly drawn on the local landscape and a landscape that today supports a thriving progressive agricultural community. The Abbeyleix community; confident in the remarkable attributes of their local landscape enthusiastically embraced the opportunity of hosting the landscape forum from the beginning.
As its contribution to the implementation of the National Landscape Strategy, Landscape Alliance Ireland could not have chosen a more appropriate venue to launch its community-based initiative placing landscape deliberations where they belong – at the heart of one of the most dynamic local communities in the land.
As the economic recovery fitfully advances and the construction industry gears up its excavators and cranes, it is vital that we strengthen and refine our understanding of the importance of the quality and sustainability of the national resource that is our shared landscape. We cannot allow a repetition of the degradation and homogenisation that characterised some much of the landscape change that accompanied the Celtic Tiger years.
The Abbeyleix forum supported by the Department of Arts and Heritage, Laois County Council & the Heritage Council is a vital step towards a responsible and informed way forward. Over 20 speakers from a range of backgrounds will contribute their knowledge and experience over the two days. But it will be the deliberations of the 70 or more diverse participants that will deliver the real value and output of the event. The forum which will be based at the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel is open to all interested citizens and participation is free.