Update 17th March 2021

Time to end Ireland’s Landscape Strategy Lockdown!

Covid 19, when it finally passes on or at least abates will leave a stark, unwelcome legacy. We have lost so many fine citizens before their time, people with so much still to share; not least the wisdom of mature years and oral histories of past times and forgotten landscapes. The curriculum of lessons from the experience will be long and demanding. In lockdown we were confined to very limited landscape circles; our mental and physical health and well-being depended on the diversity and richness of the natural and cultural heritage embedded within that very local landscape. Rarely if ever has human society in peacetime asked so much of its local place and space.

The Council of Europe’s visionary European Landscape Convention, Florence 2000 (ELC) was not inspired by the prospect of a worldwide pandemic, but it did recognise that we were becoming ever more dependent on the quality of our local everyday landscapes; whilst concurrently eroding that very quality through careless and ill-informed design and management actions.

Ireland at government level did not actively participate in the preparation of this extraordinary convention, it then casually signed and ratified the convention in March 2002 and very late in the day it launched a National Landscape Strategy for Ireland in May 2015 (NLS) - a potentially progressive strategy document based on the well-crafted ELC. Guided by the NLS some progress made up to early 2018. But the NLS went into lockdown well before Covid 19 came on the scene.

We badly needed a dynamic well-resourced National Landscape Strategy decades before 2015, to guide, inform and control the landscape dimension of planning and development and the management of our evolving landscape; many mistakes have been made in its absence; but it was a case of better late than never!

The most consistent characteristic of our landscape throughout the ages has been change, today our capacity and capability for traumatic physical landscape change grows by the day; in a civilised, responsible society our capacity and capability to sustainably manage that change should grow in parallel.   

The last thing we need in such a scenario is a stalled or worse still, a conveniently forgotten National Landscape Strategy. Landscape Alliance Ireland therefore calls for Ireland to live up to its obligations under the European Landscape Convention and its responsibilities to enrich the quality of life of present and future generations by immediately investing in the implementation of the National Landscape Strategy for Ireland 2015-2025 across all its objectives and actions. The small team that was involved in the preparation and launch of the NLS no longer exists and the 10 year programme of implementation ended in 2018.

The top priority therefore has to be the establishment of a landscape management unit within the responsible department (currently Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage). The staffing and resourcing of this unit must match the scale and scope of the task involved in implementing such a vital strategy and the programme for implementation must be accelerated.


Landscape Alliance Ireland calls for a National Landscape Strategy Reactivation Plan as a matter of urgency. We invite other interested players and stakeholders to join with us in this call.        

Update 2nd May 2018

National Landscape Forum 2018

‘Ireland’s Waterscapes’

Killaloe, Co. Clare, 24/25 May 2018

Details of this year’s forum have now been finalised and the programme devised by forum convenor Ruth Minogue not alone provides participants with the opportunity guided by local experts to ‘immerse’ themselves in the rich waterscapes and landscapes of the Ballina-Killaloe Landscape Circle, but even more so to ‘ride the big wave’ with some of the big players in Irelands Waterscapes and ‘dip their toes’ into best practice in community engagement with people, place and landscape from the enviable waterscapes of our Gaelic neighbour Scotland courtesy of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Advance booking is strongly recommended as there will be capacity limitations on the lake cruise on Thursday evening and two of the fieldtrips on Friday afternoon.

Click here to download the updated programme 
Click here for booking details

Update 22nd March 2018



National Landscape Forum 2018


‘Ireland’s Waterscapes’


Killaloe, Co. Clare, 24/25 May 2018



Click here for further information, programme and booking details

Update 22nd May 2017



National Landscape Forum Programme 2017

Click here to download the National Landscape Forum 2017 Programme

Click here to download the National Landscape Forum 2017 Booking Form

Update 3rd May 2017



National Landscape Forum 2017
aka ‘Back to the Landscape Coalface!’


Abbeyleix, Co. Laois 22nd & 23rd June 2017
‘Local Communities & Their Landscape’


(hosted by Abbeyleix Community Organisations)


Venue: Abbeyleix Manor Hotel


This year’s landscape forum marks a significant progression in the evolution of the event with the forum being hosted by the dynamic, progressive community of Abbeyleix. The theme chosen is intended to facilitate an in-depth exploration of the close interactive relationship between communities and their landscape, the challenges we all face in managing our landscape responsibly, creatively and sustainably in the interests of achieving a high quality of life for present and future generations. Abbeyleix, its community and its hinterland will provide an ideal, tangible living stage-set for the exercise.



The forum is being convened in the context of the aims and objectives of:



The National Landscape Strategy • The European Landscape Convention • The National Planning Framework 2040 • The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development • The Council of Europe Strategy 21 for Cultural Heritage



Outline Forum Programme



Thursday: Open evening forum following overview presentation to maximise community participation.



Friday: Full day programme featuring presentations, open forum, field visits and workshops based on the themes of the natural, the settlement, the cultural and the farmed landscape.



The forum platform is open to all points of view, presentations/interventions should be concise and to the point focusing on identifying priorities & solutions. Landscape embraces most sectors of society. All are invited to attend and participate. Participation is free but advance booking is recommended to facilitate planning workshops and field visits.



Booking form will be available shortly - for further information contact:



 Terry O’Regan, LAI, terryjoregan@gmail.com

Update 6th May 2016

National Landscape Forum 2016
aka ‘Landscape Revolution 2016’

University College Cork, Thursday 9th & Friday 10th June 2016
‘Real World Challenges and Opportunities’

The year Landscape Alliance Ireland is convening the forum in Cork, where it is being hosted by the UCC Centre for Planning Education & Research will explore how we as a society can in the best interests of the common good improve decision-making with regard to our shared landscape. It aims to find effective ways of converting the aspirations of the National Landscape Strategy into action where it matters: in the living place and space where natural processes and human activities interact to shape our place, our environment - our landscape.

Landscape embraces all sectors of society. Yet, on a day-to-day basis, important decisions about the character of our settlements, countryside, uplands, coasts and water bodies are being made through statutory processes that are poorly understood. Even though these decisions (such as zoning, planning permissions, licensing, designations, spatial policy, infrastructural priorities, construction or conservation) are made in the name of the common good, the political, legal or economic forces of the day invariably take precedence, while the voice for people and place struggles to be heard.

In the spirit of the year that is in it in revolutionary mode the integrated proactive forum will look at how planning processes and practice (including legislation, regulations, guidelines, development plans, local area plans, planning appeals etc.) can be more effective from a landscape point of view. With Cork City and County providing a local and practical context, the forum will explore best practice requirements for community engagement, cross-disciplinary working, training and education needs, and the importance of a validated knowledge and evidence base to support more aware and assertive decision-making about our landscape.

Outline Programme (detailed programme and booking form)

Thursday: Focussed workshops and local study trips – urban & peri-urban landscapes.

Friday: plenary session: keynote presentations, workshop reports, discussion and open forum.

The forum platform is open to all points of view with the aim of identifying priorities & practical ways forward; presentations should be concise and to the point. All are invited to attend and participate. Advance booking recommended especially for workshops. Fee: € 40 with concessions

Download Detailed Forum Notice and Booking Form here

Update 12th June 2015

National Landscape Forum 2015
Venue: National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Thursday 25th June 2015 (9.00am to 5.00pm)

The 2015 National Landscape Forum will be a dynamic event with a strong panel of keynote speakers promising to set out the required structures and actions to ensure that the National Landscape Strategy moves rapidly from its current rather vague and ‘can kicked down the road’ characteristics to an actioned strategy that will begin the long-overdue defining and integration of landscape quality objectives into all state and municipal processes.

Speakers on the day will include: Conor Newman - Chairman Heritage Council, Conor Skehan DIT, Brendan O’Sullivan – UCC MPlan, Mansil Millar – DOE NI, Maggie Roe – Newcastle University, Ian Lumley - An Taisce, Willie Cumming - DAHG, Helen Lawless – Mountaineering Ireland, Terry O’Regan – Landscape Alliance Ireland, Tony Williams – Irish Landscape Institute, Christopher Gallagher, Historic Landscape Consultant, Diarmuid McAree CRANN, Alison Harvey – Heritage Council, Aidan ffrench – Landscape Architect plus updates on the current state of progress in Scotland and Wales.

***Advance booking is essential to facilitate the organisation of the forum***

Download Forum Notice and Booking Form here

Update 29th April 2015

National Landscape Forum 2015
Venue: National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Thursday 25th June 2015 (9.00am to 5.00pm)

It will be 20 years on the 21st June next since the National Landscape Forum first convened in response to a civil society call for a National Landscape Policy. The forums convened regularly until 2005 to address the inadequacies of government with regard to landscape management. In March 2002 Ireland signed and ratified one of the best constructed conventions yet prepared by the Council of Europe – The European Landscape Convention, Florence 2000. Whilst official Ireland had little grasp of what the convention was about our planning and development legislation has made some attempts to suggest that the authorities understand what they signed and ratified and this year a National Landscape Strategy has finally been prepared and is expected to be launched shortly.

Policy and strategy documents are worthless unless they are resourced and actioned. They also should be communicated effectively to civil society and explored and discussed by concerned citizens. Such awareness-raising and civil engagement is vital to ensure that delivery mechanisms and methodologies are effective. Launching a National Landscape Strategy is but one small step on the road to implementing the European Landscape Convention. Landscape Alliance Ireland is not quite convinced that government appreciates the hard work is yet to come!

Therefore the National Landscape Forum is being reconvened to provide Irish civil society with the democratic opportunity to demonstrate that our landscape that was in urgent need of our shared attention 20 years ago is now in critical urgent need of our shared attention.

Much time has been lost in the interim and considerable unnecessary damage has been inflicted on the quality of our landscape. This forum is intended to highlight the priorities and begin the difficult process of achieving consensus on how best to conserve our landscape heritage and guide responsible, sustainable development and change.

The forum platform is open to all points of view, but presentations must of necessity be short (6 minutes) and to the point focusing on priorities and potential solutions.

All interested organisations, government departments, local authorities, institutions, representative bodies, non-governmental organisations, community groups and concerned citizens are invited to attend/participate.

***Advance registration is essential as venue capacity is somewhat limited***

For further information contact Terry O’Regan, Landscape Alliance Ireland:
T. 021 4871460
M. 087 2407618
E. terryjoregan@gmail.com

LAI acknowledges the support of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht

Update 12th March 2015

The plans indicated in our March 2012 update had unfortunately to be put on hold due to diverse constraints. LAI has however been busy in the interim not least in participating with other concerned organisations and individuals in seeking to ensure that a valid and viable National Landscape Strategy would finally see the light of day! We understand that the document following a final consultation process has been or will shortly be signed off by Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht. If this vital strategy document is not simply to gather dust on department shelves, it must be energised and resourced into action. With this in mind it is envisaged that the National Landscape Forum will be reconvened this year to provide all concerned citizens with a shared platform to demand the urgent implementation of the indicative strategy outlined in the document in a manner that delivers long overdue results on the ground now. The provisional basic theme for the forum is: “National Landscape Strategy? – where have we been?, where are we now?, where should we be going? - and when is the train departing?” the venue will be in the vicinity of Dublin, actual venue and date will be decided shortly.

A revitalised LAI website will also ‘go live’ to provide additional ‘heat and light’ in the management of our most valuable resource – our living landscape – people, place and heritage.

Follow this site for further updates,

Terry O’Regan

Updated 7th March, 2012

We are currently finalising a new LAI website with a more focussed domain ‘lai-ireland’ to replace the old ‘landscape-forum-ireland’ site. The new site will go live shortly. Due to change-over difficulties the old domain licence lapsed and our site was unaccessible, we apologise for any inconvenience experienced by those attempting to visit our site in recent weeks.

Terry O’Regan

Updated 23rd March, 2009

With 30 states having ratified the European Landscape Convention, it is now being progressively implemented across a large part of Europe. The convention requires a wide range of measures to be undertaken across the fabric of administration, education and development processes in each state.

It can be difficult for those who enthusiastically support the implementation of the convention and indeed for those responsible in each state for implementing the convention, to measure the progress being made at state level.

At recent conferences and workshops a degree of disillusionment related conflict has surfaced with regard to the perceived lack of uniform progress being achieved throughout Europe in implementing the convention.

Landscape Alliance Ireland believes that some impatient advocates may be underestimating the height of the mountain we have to climb to fully realise the aims of this great convention. Equally some complacent administrations may be underestimating the effort required and the urgency for action. This is a potentially volatile situation feeding off misunderstandings which may seriously damage the convention.

It is therefore important that there should be a methodologies in place to enable citizens to assess the extent of the progress achieved to date and equally the extent of the further work required to fully implement the convention.

In Landscape Alliance Ireland we have developed such a methodology available entitled the 'Marking Progress' template for this purpose.

The pamphlet describing the marking progress template is now available on this website as a Pdf. Those who would wish to carry out an assessment of the progress on their own state can obtain a word version of the template from Landscape Alliance Ireland. We would welcome feedback on the use of the template and suggestions for improvements or modifications.

We wish to stress that this template is for use at state level only and is very unlikely to be appropriate for interstate comparisons, though it might provide the basis for productive interstate discussions.

Terry O'Regan
Landscape Alliance Ireland
23rd March 2009


Updated 2nd February 2009

The Landscape Alliance Ireland publication ‘A Guide to Undertaking a Landscape Circle Study in Seven Easy Steps’ complete with 98 full colour illustrations is now available. It is a 64 page paperback, A5 size, in landscape format.

The book is available for sale from Landscape Alliance Ireland, Old Abbey Gardens, Waterfall, Near Cork City, Ireland at a cost of €10.00, plus €2.00 P&P for delivery in the Republic of Ireland and plus €4.00 P&P for UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Whilst written in an Irish context it should be equally applicable to all the landscapes of Europe and beyond.

For further information contact us by phone at 00353 (0)21 4871460, by email at lai.link@indigo.ie or post at the above address.

Workshops will be organised later in the year in association with the use of the Guide and the development of the National Landscape Strategy.

The guide is an initiative of Landscape Alliance Ireland in support of the implementation of the European Landscape Convention and is also intended as a bottom-up measure to inform the eagerly awaited Irish National Landscape Strategy that is promised in the government programme. It will assist individuals, local community groups, tidy towns committees, transition year students, 3rd level students and course lecturers and others wishing to carry out a study of their local landscape. It will also be of assistance to those charged with planning policy and control.

The aim of the guide is to equip all citizens with a knowledge and understanding of their landscape and to empower them to engage effectively with and influence developers, officials and experts involved in the processes of change affecting their landscape.

Updated 9th July 2008

The Landscape Alliance Ireland ‘Position Paper on the proposed National Landscape Strategy’ is now available on this web site. It is an adapted version of the position paper circulated at the first meeting of the National Landscape Strategy steering group and consultative panel convened by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government on Tuesday 29th April 2008. The changes made in the original document have been minor.

It is being made available to encourage and inform the public consultation/participation process that is expected to be undertaken shortly by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government.

Ireland has rarely had Minister’s in this department who recognized and respected the importance of landscape management and quality. It is vital that all interested citizens participate energetically and proactively in the process that is in train. We may not get a similar opportunity again.

LAI will be adding further relevant material to our web site over coming months in support of the process of developing and implementing a National Landscape Strategy.

LAI_Position_Paper_on_Proposed_National_ Landscape_Strategy.pdf

Updated 18th June 2008

The Landscape Alliance Ireland ‘Guide to undertaking a Landscape Circle Study in seven easy steps’ is now available on this web site. The guide is an initiative of LAI in support of the implementation of the European Landscape Convention and the Irish National Landscape Strategy promised by the current government. It will assist individuals, local community groups, tidy town committees, transition year students and others wishing to carry out a study of their landscape. The aim is to equip citizens with a knowledge and understanding of their landscape and to empower them to engage effectively with the processes of change affecting same including the planning system.

An illustrated handbook will be published this autumn with the assistance of a Heritage Council grant. A workshop will be organised later this year by LAI to assist and support those wishing to undertake a landscape circle study.

Guide to undertaking a Landscape Circle Study in seven easy steps

Updated on 16th May 2007

Landscape Alliance Ireland has developed a unique user-friendly 'Landscape Circle' template to assist communities and individuals in 'capturing and owning' their landscape. Information on the template will appear on this web site shortly. The template is featured in the current issue of Heritage Outlook from the Heritage Council. A special 'Landscape Circle' session of the National Landscape Forum will be organized later this year. For more information contact us by e-mail or post.

Landscape Alliance Ireland calls for a dedicated European Landscape Convention unit in the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government.

Landscape Alliance Ireland calls for a European Union Landscape Policy reflecting the aims, objectives and measures of the Council of Europe European Landscape Convention.

Updated on 13th December 2005

Extracts from Proceedings of 2005 European Landscape Convention Cork Workshops - Irish Welcome Addresses - Theme 3 The Irish Experience

Submission on Proposed Development of a National Countryside Recreation Strategy

Updated on 7th November 2005

Submission Invitation - Development of a Countryside Recreation Strategy.

Updated on 14th June 2005  

Council of Europe, European Landscape Convention - Associated Public Events 13th June - 17th June 2005 

Council of Europe, European Landscape Convention Workshop, Cork 16th - 18th June 2005

The following proceedings have been added to the 1998 Natioanl Landscape Forum Proceedings.

World Landscape Lecture, The Role of Public Art in Ireland by Brian Fallon

Updated on 21st December 2004 

The following proceedings have been added to the 1998 National Landscape Froum Proceedings. 

Landscape character assessment in Northern Ireland by Joyce McCormick

Teaching a design process as youth empowerment by Erik van Leenep Hyland.

Et in Arcadia by Des Gunning

Feng Shui in the Landscape by Anne Walsh

Updated on 30 April 2004
Notice Board
Submission Consultation Draft of Guidelines for Planning Authorities in relation to Sustainable Rural Housing.

Updated on 29 April 2004
Notice Board
European Landscape Convention Workshop, Cork 2005

Updated on 29 April 2004
Notice Board
Report on the 2003 Forum

Updated on 6 February 2003
Notice Board

Update: 17 April 2002
Notice Board:
Report on the 2001/2002 Forum

Landscape Forum Proceedings:
Birds as an Indicator of Environmental Quality