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02 March 2009: Killeen marks National Tree Week as he officially opens Coillte Forest Park in Limerick

Tony Killeen, TD, Minister, Fisheries and Forestry, today officially opened Coillte Forest Park, Curragh Chase, where the facilities were upgraded under a Fáilte Ireland Project.

The upgrading of the Coillte Forest Park at Curragh Chase, located just 33km southwest of Limerick City, was co-funded equally by Fáilte Ireland, Limerick Co. Council and Coillte. Thanking the three bodies for their joint efforts in making the Forest Park in Curragh Chase available to the general public in such good condition and with such facilities, the Minister commented on the positive contribution such facilities can make to the health and well being of the local communities.

Minister Killeen also mentioned that it was particularly appropriate that the official opening was during National Tree Week and added that, ¿while the Tree Council is promoting awareness of trees all year round, a specific week designated as National Tree Week gives us the opportunity to highlight such wonderful recreational facilities as Coillte Forest Park, Curragh Chase¿. As part of the official opening, Minister Killeen planted a tree to mark the occasion and also to celebrate National Tree Week.

Commenting on the theme of this year's National Tree Week 'Our trees our Culture', the Minister pointed out that ¿Trees are part and parcel of our culture, featuring in mythology, placenames, sculpture, poetry, song and literature¿, citing that the earliest form of writing in Ireland was Ogham, a tree alphabet, which had twenty letters, each corresponding to one of our native species. He also added ¿Another example of trees being part of our heritage and culture is the use of ash in hurls for hurling and camogie, making it an integral part of one of our national games and therefore culture¿.

He commented that Curragh Chase Forest Park has a lot to offer visitors and concluded by wishing continued success to the historic park.

Date Released: 02 March 2009