A Letter From The Chair


    Article first published in:
    Wicklow Mountain Views – The Newsletter of the Wicklow Uplands Council.
    Issue No. 30 – Summer 2019


A Letter From The Chair


There have been a number of exciting developments in the uplands recently, including the announcement of substantial funding for County Wicklow’s first Greenway around the stunning setting of the Blessington Lakes. 

A footpath linking Trooperstown and the Avonmore Way with the village of Laragh and the nearby Wicklow Way and St. Kevin’s Way, has been
completed. This welcome news was soon followed by the official opening of the 19 km Miner’s Way trail, which takes in the glacier valleys of Glendasan, Glendalough and Glenmalure and visits the historic mining sites found along its route. The commencement of the 183 scheduled bus service between Glendalough and Wicklow Town, makes many of the area’s recreational and visitor attractions far more accessible and provides a much-needed link for the upland communities. 

Although Wicklow Uplands Council has found itself in the midst of incredibly busy periods many times during its 22-year history, it seems that we have perhaps reached a stage when we should take an honest appraisal of our available resources and how we prioritise them. The scale and diversity of the work we currently undertake is quite immense. It is a very rewarding position to find ourselves in and yet, it’s also challenging to keep abreast with the broad range of projects, initiatives and policy developments that require constant attention. 

Much of this success would not be possible, if it were not for the wide support the Council enjoys through its partnership and consensus approach. Our role as a collective voice for the communities that live, work and recreate in the Wicklow and Dublin Uplands, is an important one. With this in mind, and to ensure the longevity of the Uplands Council, the task of securing sustainable funding sources is extremely important.

We are immensely grateful to our funders and supporters, without whom we would simply not be able to exist  as an organisation. Denis O’Brien has been a good friend to the Uplands Council over the years and we also appreciate and acknowledge the continued financial assistance of Wicklow County Council.

The Heritage Council remains our main source of core funding and their commitment and guidance dating back to our formation, has been invaluable. In June, we had the opportunity to welcome Virginia Teehan, the recently appointed Chief Executive of The Heritage Council, to our Roundwood office. Our meeting presented a wonderful occasion to introduce ourselves and to give a brief overview of the wide array of work that the Uplands Council undertakes. We enjoyed an informative conversation exploring the issues facing upland communities, the success of our bottom up approach and the importance of valuing and protecting the heritage that surrounds us.

On behalf of Wicklow Uplands Council, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Virginia for kindly taking the time to visit us and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Heritage Council.

It is hard to believe that it was just over a year ago that we announced the opening of the SUAS Pilot Project to applicants seeking to be included in the first round of the project. The scale of the project was always ambitious, and thanks to the operational group that have led the project and especially to Project Manager Declan Byrne, the first round of participants have all successfully carried out and been remunerated for their activities. We have recently selected more participants to take part in phase 2 of SUAS. It is quite a milestone to reach and I would like to congratulate all involved.

Another large project that we launched last year was the County Wicklow Deer Management Project, which is tasked with establishing new Deer Management Units (DMUs) in the county. I’m delighted to be able to say that it too has made significant progress and four DMU’s have now been established to oversee deer management in those localities.

The PURE Project, which the Council administers in conjunction with our statutory partners, has achieved tremendous gains in tackling illegal dumping in the uplands and the involvement of community groups in the Pure Mile Competition has now reached record levels.

In addition to our project involvement, we continue to develop policies and make submissions as opportunities arise. We will be revisiting our 2009 Renewable Energy Policy this year and we are working on a submission on Wicklow County Council’s Climate Adaptation Strategy. We will also be submitting to the review of current Dog Control legislation. We are reminded that we need to also consider how wcan attract younger parties to become better engaged with the Council.

Finally, in addition to wishing everyone a very pleasant summer season, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our board members, staff, funders, supporters and everyone that contributes to the success of the Uplands Council.

Tom Byrne,
Chair, Wicklow Uplands Council 


Newsletters Available Online

This newsletter and many of the previous publications are available online to view and download as PDF files directly from the Wicklow Uplands Council website.

CLICK HERE for this issue – Summer 2019.

CLICK HERE to view the full selection of newsletters dating back to 2006.


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