UNESCO Biosphere Status for Dublin Bay will enhance development of ‘Green City by the Sea’

Jun 25 2015 Posted by Office Administraton

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Dublin Bay has been awarded a Biosphere designation by UNESCO in recognition of its unique ecological and cultural status. The Biosphere designation previously related to the Bull Island only but  the awarding of Biosphere status to all of Dublin Bay means the designation now extends to an area of approximately 300km2.To view a map and photos of Dublin Bay Biosphere see www.dublincity.ie/dublinbaybiosphere

The announcement was made by Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at a special event at North Bull Wall at 10.30am today.

The award coincides with the public launch of the new Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership which will protect and promote the Bay. It has been established by Dublin City Council, Dublin Port Company, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council and The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is the first time that these organisations have formed an alliance to promote the conservation and cultural heritage of Dublin Bay.

UNESCO’s new designation will greatly facilitate the ability of Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership to pursue a sustainable green economic model for the Bay.

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Christy Burke, speaking at today’s launch, said: “Dublin Bay is a unique and valuable resource both locally and nationally. Achieving UNESCO Biosphere designation for the Bay means that our potential to develop it as an internationally significant destination has been considerably enhanced.”

Minister Bruton also welcomed the announcement at the launch today, saying: “This is a great boost for the people of Dublin.

“Dublin Bay is dublin 2a hugely important asset for our city, a great amenity for the residents of Dublin as well as a significant draw for tourists. Properly protecting and developing the potential of the Bay can enhance the quality of life of people living in the city, as well as fostering jobs and economic growth throughout Dublin. Today’s announcement that UNESCO is awarding Biosphere status will help us create sustainable employment in a way that enhances the natural resources and cultural integrity of the Bay”.

Speaking of the designation, Fáilte Ireland CEO, Shaun Quinn said: “This UNESCO designation for the capital is a tremendous accolade proving that Dublin certainly is the capital with a captivating coast. This recognition of Dublin Bay also dovetails with Fáilte Ireland’s work to reposition Dublin as the ‘city by the sea’ – a must visit destination that rivals other European capitals and indeed, due to its proximity to sea and countryside, can offer more than most.”

Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Barry Saul: ‘Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is proud of the fact that some of the most significant parts of the County will be part of the Biosphere including the expanse of Merrion Strand, the man- made marsh at Booterstown as well as what we think is one of the gems of Dublin, Dalkey Island, one of the most unique, unspoiled and much loved heritage sites in the city.’

Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council noted that ‘This achievement would not be possible without the work and collaboration of all three Local Authorities involved’.

The challenge for the Dublin Bay Partnership is to promote the natural and cultural heritage of the Bay ISACto a wider audience and to provide a means for the communities around the bay to participate and contribute to achieving the ideals of a UNESCO biosphere. The strategy  for the biosphere is based on the themes of conservation, research and education, tourism and recreation and sustainable business.

Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership has organised a programme of events to celebrate the designation. These include a cruise of Dublin Bay on Saturday 27th June, an art exhibition in the Red Stables Gallery, St. Anne’s Park, Raheny and a bird watching event at Coliemore Harbour. Full details are available on www.dublinbaybiosphere.ie.


For further information contact:


Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T. (01) 222 2170,  info@dublincity.ie www.dublincity.ie 


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Dublin Bay Biosphere – some facts and figures

Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve encompasses over 300 km2 of marine and terrestrial habitat. It includes North Bull Island, which has been a UNESCO Biosphere since 1981, and ecologically significant habitats such as the Tolka and Baldoyle Estuaries, Howth Head, Dalkey Island, Killiney Hill and Booterstown Marsh. The Biosphere supports a variety of plants and wildlife including an internationally significant population of Brent geese that overwinters on North Bull Island. Further information is available on www.dublinbaybiosphere.ie.

Ireland’s only other UNESCO Reserve is in Killarney National Park.

How will the new partnership promote the Bay?

Dublin Bay Partnership will promote and protect the Bay through:

Conservation – the protection of the Biosphere through habitat management and monitoring

Learning – third level colleges, research institutes and the schools sector will be facilitated and encouraged to study the habitat and Dublin Bay Partnership will share this knowledge with the wider public

Development – the Partnership will develop links with communities and businesses to promote sustainable development in Dublin Bay

What is a UNESCO Biosphere?

It’s a special designation awarded by UNESCO but managed in partnership with local communities, NGOs, local and national governments

Biospheres are recognised for their biological diversity but are managed to promote a balanced relationship between people and nature

There is a global network of 651 Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries.

Why is Dublin Bay a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve?

North Bull Island was designated in 1981 because of its rare and internationally important habitats and wildlife

The extension of the Biosphere to Dublin Bay in 2015 reflects the Bay’s environmental, leisure, cultural and tourism significance. Leisure activities include walking, swimming, bird watching, boating/sailing, kite and wind surfing

What are the key areas in Dublin Bay Biosphere:

North Bull Island

Howth Head

Killiney Hill

The Tolka and Baldoyle Estuaries

Booterstown Marsh

Dalkey Island

Ireland’s Eye

What kind of biodiversity lives in the reserve?

A huge diversity of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants live and breed on the Bay’s coastal habitats

Over 300 plant species have been recorded on North Bull Island alone