BY HELEN RIDDELL
BERE Island Projects Group has been awarded €20,000 from the Heritage Council to undertake further actions as part of its conservation plan.
The idea of the Bere Island Conservation Plan was first mooted in 2001 when islanders formed a partnership with the Heritage Council and Cork County Council to seek a way to ensure the sustainability of the island community and a way to protect its landscape and heritage.
Conservation plans first came to prominence in Australia as an instrument to restore and preserve a designated area’s landscape, wildlife, built heritage and ancient monuments.
It was felt that Bere Island was an ideal candidate for such a plan, with its location and landscape serving as one of its main attractions to visitors, along with a rich history as a former military stronghold.
The Heritage Council committed to the plan following its launch by providing funding to implement a list of key actions which were drawn up.
John Walsh, project officer with Bere Island Project Group, said: ‘The Heritage Council and staff have always been very supportive of our work and have visited the island on several occasions to see at first hand the work that we are undertaking. The Conservation Plan has allowed the community of Bere Island to plan for our future. It was the first time that a conservation plan was done for an entire island and the process helped us to create a vision for the future of Bere Island.’
The group will use the funding to work on a number of actions, including furthering their work on the restoration of the former WW1 coastal artillery fort Lonehort Battery as a visitor attraction, recording an oral history of the island, and developing the heritage remit of their website.