by Alan Jacques
THE planting of a Cherry Tree at Lough Gur marked the beginning of a renewed focus on nature and the environment at the County Limerick tourist hotspot.
As part of National Tree Week, which took place last week, the tree was planted by the lakefront to coincide with the launch of the newly developed Lough Gur Nature Trail.
The new nature trail will see children eco hunting around the grounds to spot tree species, insects and wildlife with a fun activity sheet developed by artist Gemma O’Mahony and tree expert Brian Collopy. The newly developed site is suitable for all levels from four to twelve years and is designed to develop a greater appreciation for the magnificent landscape that often goes unnoticed.
“This is a most timely and appropriate enhancement to the beautiful natural resource that is Lough Gur, its archaeology, history and biodiversity: a unique resource accessible to the community and visitor alike,” said Limerick City and County Council executive planner Bernadette Collins.
With several trees in Lough Gur dating back 400 years last week’s tree planting ceremony was deemed as “the beginning of a renewed focus on nature and the environment for Lough Gur Development”.
There are 22 native tree species in Ireland and Lough Gur is working to ensure that all varieties are planted for prosperity within its grounds.
International referee and patron of Lough Gur Development, George Clancy, described it as an honour to plant the Cherry Tree at the lakefront.
“After the destruction caused by all the recent storms, it is important that efforts are made to ensure that the views around Lough Gur are not altered dramatically. The trees planted today will provide great pleasure to future generations, and I look forward to seeing these native trees grow and blend into the landscape,” George commented.
“It is lovely to see the development of the nature trail, another excellent attraction for our visitors,” he added.
As a Discover Primary Maths and Science Site through Science Foundation Ireland, Lough Gur works with a number of primary schools to interpret Lough Gur under the microscope in terms of environmental exploration and learning. This new adventure into the world of nature trails is one step further for Lough Gur Development on their quest to bring recognition to the area for its many marvellous attributions.
“Lough Gur’s unique heritage and archaeology is widely known however the lakeshore habitat itself is unique in County Limerick and intrinsic to the heritage story of Lough Gur. This trail is a new way to encourage visitors and schools alike to explore and access the biodiversity and the habitat in a fun and educational way,” said Ballyhoura Development tourism and heritage officer Amanda Slattery.