ProGEO’s own definition of a geosite in the protocol on conserving our shared heritage (ProGEO 2011) is sufficiently broad to encompass many different national variations in approach to defining geosites. In Ireland, geological heritage effort, led by the Geological Survey of Ireland, has not used the term ‘geosite’ in everyday practice. Instead, the geosites have been defined as County Geological Sites, in order to maximise their relevance to the local communities and more especially with the County Councils, who consider the sites within their planning procedures. There are 29 of these County Councils (Ireland traditionally has 26 counties, but as it is such a large conurbation in Irish terms, Dublin, the capital city, is divided into 4 separate administrative councils. The county councils have some responsibilities for geological heritage under planning and other Acts, which they meet by adopting County Geological Sites into their planning systems. Whilst the classification of a County Geological Site has no statutory basis, the inclusion of them into statutory County Development Plans and within the planning system means that no significant development may occur without some consultation with the Geological Survey about the geological heritage value. County Geological Sites range in size from single small exposures, usually of fossil or mineral occurrences, up to large landscapes of mountainous terrain. In particular, the Quaternary geology of Ireland has required some large areas to encompass the range of glacial landforms. Similarly, coastal geomorphology requires some very long linear stretches of coastline to demonstrate processes or landforms. Working quarries and pits are included in the County Geological Site lists because in many places they represent the best, if not the only place to see certain rock formations or stratigraphical successions. A range of the wealth of County Geological Sites is illustrated in this paper to explore the ways in which the term ‘geosite’ is defined in Irish geological heritage. This includes sites that demonstrate the ways in which people have relied on geological resources such as building materials.
Geoheritage – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 16, 2017
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