Landmark Award for Castlewellan Arboretum a huge local honour – Hazzard
South Down Sinn Féin representatives were in Castlewellan Forest Park this week as the Arboretum received a prestigious international award in recognition of its very special tree collection.
The Arboretum – part of the Castlewellan Forest Park – received the plaque from the International Dendrology Society (IDS); the foremost international organisation for the promotion of trees and the conservation of rare and endangered plants.
Speaking from the awards ceremony at the Arboretum, South Down MP Chris Hazzard said;
“This is a unique honour which recognises the very special characteristics of the Arboretum here in Castlewellan. Only 16 of these plaques have been presented anywhere in the world over the last century, so for Ireland’s first plaque to be awarded to the Castlewellan arboretum is a great honour for the Arboretum, the town, and indeed all of us here in South Down.
“Growing up in the local area many of us take the unquestionable beauty and local landscape for granted, today’s awards ceremony is a fabulous reminder that we really are the custodians of world-class environmental and horticultural heritage throughout South Down.
Emma Rogan MLA added;
‘Today’s event was a fantastic endorsement of Castlewellan Forest Park and the tireless work of the Forestry Service and the many volunteers who keep the gardens in such good shape. I was also delighted to see so many international visitors who had travelled long distances to be in Castlewellan for this very special occasion.
Local Councillor John Rice said:
“Newry, Mourne and Down Council will be taking over the running of Castlewellan Forest Park in the near future and today’s award shows the enormous opportunity we have to help enhance the local visitor experience and put Castlewellan firmly on the local tourism map.”
Cllr John Rice, Giles Crisp (IDS), Chris Hazzard MP, and Emma Rogan MLA at the Arboretum, Castlewellan