Managing the changing rural landscape in Ireland

Foley, K., 2005, Managing the changing rural landscape in Ireland, in: ECLAS (D. Oguz), ‘Landscape change’, Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Agriculture Ankara University, Ankara

  • Author : Foley, K.
  • Year : 2005
  • Published in Book : Landscape change
  • Pages : 70-77
  • Abstract in English : The term ‘landscape’ contains an inherent duality. On the one hand it is a mental construction that carries multiple layers of meaning, on the other it is a tangible, physical reality, the synthesis of both natural and cultural factors. As symbols of both nationalism and national identity, images of the rural landscape have played an important role in Ireland for the last 100 years. The tourism industry today continues to market the Irish rural landscape, often promoting it as something nostalgic and representing a positive counterpoint to contemporary urban life. The landscape of Ireland has been shaped by the activity of agriculture. Farmland covers approximately 80% of the country. Today agriculture is facing significant change. New farming practices will emerge as farmers adjust to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Predicted futures include increased forestry, greater diversification in farming activity, new grassland management practices and an increased up-take in environmental farming practice. While some current research is examining the potential impact of such change on biodiversity, there is little consideration of the visual impact of such changing agricultural activity. This paper examines the link between Irish national identity and the rural landscape and demonstrates how the predicted changes in agricultural practice will significantly alter the appearance of the farmed landscape in the near future. It notes that, to date, planning policy in Ireland has generally adhered to the notion of landscape protection of prestige or iconic landscapes. Irish Planning Acts allow for the designation of areas of special amenity by reason of outstanding natural beauty or special recreational value. By this means isolated pockets are assigned special status and particular considerations apply. In contrast the Council of Europe’s Landscape Convention emphasises the importance of all landscapes, both prestigious and vernacular. This exploration of the significance of the vernacular rural landscape to national identity and the Ireland’s tourism industry forms part of a larger study forecasting the appearance of rural space in the future.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: rural landscape, tourism, history, attitudes, landscape management. / Eclas 2005