Plans to give the Burren a Sicilian twin


As a Bord Pleanala ruling on Mullaghmore is awaited, plans have been made to twin the Burren National Park with Parco delle Madonie on the island of Sicily.

The man behind the move is Mr Enzo Farinella, a Dublin-based Italian writer and journalist, who has organised 10 twinnings between towns in the two countries since he founded the Irish-Italian Twinning Committee in 1986. He believes the Burren and Madonie Park have much in common.

"I foresee the areas of collaboration between the two parks could involve the promotion of tourism and culture in the respective regions, and a common ecological programme for introducing and educating young people to the world of nature," he says. Mr Farinella has held discussions with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Department of Arts, Heritage, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, where he says the response has been favourable.

Most of the positive reaction has come from Sicily, where Mr Massimo Belli, president of the Parco delle Madonie, has enthusiastically taken up the project. Meeting an Irish cultural group in Sicily earlier this year, he said he was confident a twinning would be beneficial to both areas.

The project has been welcomed by the Co Galway-based writer, artist and environmentalist, Mr Gordon D'Arcy, who works regularly on the Burren. Mr Farinella is eager to hear from groups or individuals from the Burren who are involved in education, the arts or archaeology. He intends to set up meetings with interested parties shortly.