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Terryland Forest Park facts for kids

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Terryland Forest Park
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Galway
Time zone UTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-1 (IST (WEST))

The Terryland Forest Park is an urban forest park in Galway, Ireland. It was launched in January 2000 as the largest such project in Ireland with a plan to involve the citizens of Galway city in planting 500,000 native Irish trees in an area of 120 acres (0.49 km2) not far from the city centre.


Though under the auspices of Galway City Council, it had a community presence in a multi-sectoral management steering committee which led to a high level of involvement by local people in the planning, design and programme events during the period 2000–2003. Thereafter, Galway City Council seem to have lost interest in promoting it as a local community partnership project and the under-resourced committee was seldom allowed to meet.

In late 2007 city officials announced plans to build a new road through the park. This led to a public backlash with the "Friends of Galway Forests" NGO mounting a campaign which resulted in a 10,000-signature petition being handed into City Hall to stop a construction that protagonists said was contrary to the council's own environmental policies and would destroy the park's delineation as a candidate 'ecological corridor'. In response to the campaign, city officials promised to support a reconstituted management committee and commissioned in mid-2008 a consultant to draw up a membership listing and new terms of reference. The recommendations of the report, which appeared in early 2009 and proposed that a new parks group be recognised as a sub-committee of the Galway City Development Board were never acted upon. The committee has not yet been re-activated much to the annoyance of local community activists.

Some successes were achieved by supporters of the park in 2009–10:

  • A monthly community-local council parks clean-up, known as Glan Suas Gaillimh, commenced in November 2009.
  • In December 2009, the Parks division of Galway City Council agreed to a request from local residents and environmental campaigners to designate almost 1-acre (4,000 m2) of the Terryland Forest Park in the Ballinfoile Mór area as the site for a community organic garden (An Ghairdín). The latter was officially launched by the Mayor Councillor Michael Crowe in July 2010.
  • In January 2010 an attempt by city officials to include the Forest Road in the draft Galway City Development Plan was overturned by Galway City Council when the councillors supported a motion from Labour Councillor Derek Nolan (now TD) for its exclusion.
  • The first community planting of trees took place in March 2010.

Park ethos

Green Lungs for the City was a catchphrase that captured the imagination of Galwegians and symbolised the significance that the Terryland Forest Park Project had and was expected to have on the present and future generations of the city of Galway. The park was a trailblazer when it was initiated in early 2000 for providing an opportunity for all sectors of local society, through their membership of a steering committee, to have a major policy input and active involvement in the design, planning and implementation of an ambitious project that hoped to become the largest new urban forest park programme in Europe. Stephen Walsh, Galway City Park's Superintendent, summarised the uniqueness of the Project when he said in a major Funding Submission to the Irish Government in 2001, "The most unusual aspect of this project is that it will be the first Park Facility (in Ireland) designed with public consultation from Day 1 "….the Steering Committee is the vehicle for achieving consultation…the Steering Committee draws on a wealth of people from a variety of backgrounds and will always seek the views of others who will potentially want to use the Park and will make every effort to have those views accommodated. The Park is being designed with the Community whose support we will draw on to address the issue of inclusiveness within our society…since its inception over twelve months ago, the Steering Committee has meet approximately every three weeks…”


The policy of zoning and creating a multi-faceted park in the Terryland River Valley area resulted from a public campaign in early 1996. Residents of the Ballinfoile-Tirellan suburb, concerned about ongoing urban development, endeavoured to save the riverline lands from building development. As a result of cross-political party and senior council staff support, it was agreed that City Executive Planner Gus McCarthy would meet with local community leaders such as Brendan Smith to push forward a blueprint for the area that combined leisure facilities with the preservation of natural habitat and rural landscape.

One of these individuals was environmental educator Gordon D'Arcy, who in his 1997 report to Galway Corporation entitled "The Crann Report", conceived the idea of creating an urban forest in this proposed parkland planted solely with native Irish trees. Among other recommendations, he suggested the establishment of an Interpretative Centre for Irish Trees, a tree nursery, an outdoor recreational facility, a natural habitat reserve, the promotion of a Gaelic identity within the park, wheelchair-friendly access, the non-use of artificial fertilisers and the creation of footpaths with wooden bridges and stop-points.

Members of Management Steering Committee

Membership embraced artists, ecologists, environmentalists, academics, politicians, governmental officials, community activists, and others. Community events included tree planting days, bulb planting days, Celtic-themed art festivals, and a family picnic. Schools, voluntary groups (e.g. scouts, residents' associations, arts groups) and workplace organisations (e.g. Garda Siochana) got involved. The inaugural Plantathon in March 2000 had over 3000 people turn up to plant trees. The park was promoted via national television (Duncan Stewart's 'EcoEye' series filmed in 2002), national radio and the print media.

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