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A Shining and Inspiring Example of the Impact and Potential of the EIP-AGRI Approach 

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One of the huge success stories of the innovative, locally-led, farmer-centred EIP-AGRI initiative here in Ireland, co-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the EU Commission under the Rural Development Programme (RDP), is the MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project recently being named as Runner-Up of the International 2020-2021 UIAA Mountain Protection Award (MPA). The UIAA Mountain Protection Award recognises sustainability-focused projects supported by UIAA member associations which engage mountaineers and climbers directly in their initiatives. 

The MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project overcame stiff competition from some of the most well know mountain ranges around the world including The Alpine Club of Canada, The Alps Mountaineering Villages, The Himalayan Togetherness for the Sustainability of the Mountain Trails, the United Kingdom H20 Community Hub Scheme and The South American Clean Mountain Project. Speaking after receiving this global award, Patricia Deane, Project Manager of the MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP project highlights that ‘all involved – the Operational Group, Reeks Forum, our farmers, local collective groups and communities are undeniably thrilled and extremely proud of this achievement. It is great to have recognition of all the hard work and effort carried out over the past years by all involved, and demonstrates what locally led bottom-up approaches can achieve’. 

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project Details 

The MacGillycuddy Reeks in Co. Kerry is a unique upland landscape that encompasses over eight thousand hectares of Natura designated, privately owned HNV farmland. The Reeks landowners face increasingly difficult challenges farming this landscape largely due to economically unviable labour-intensive practices, coupled with rising pressures bought about by the largely uncontrolled and unmonitored recreational use by over 125,000 people visiting the Reeks annually to climb Ireland’s highest mountain. This EIP-AGRI Project aims to improve the sustainability and support the economic viability of farming in the MacGillycuddy Reeks, through the development of practical, achievable actions and innovative solutions in order to improve the conditions of the habitats of the Natura 2000 area, in close conjunction with the landowners/farmers in the area.  

Geographical location (NUTS3)  South-West (IE) 
Main Funding Source  Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for Operational Groups (in the sense of Art 56 of Reg.1305/2013) 
Project Duration  2018 – 2022 
Total Budget  €950,000  
  • You can find a full description of this project’s rationale, aims, objectives and activities on page 25 of the NRN’s ‘EIP-AGRI: Ireland’s Operational Groups’ Booklet. Please see: https://bit.ly/2Ptv0vA 
  • The EIP-AGRI Service Point Operational Group abstract for this project can be found here.

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project – Participating Farmer Insight 

The 3rd episode of the Irish NRN’s Video Blog (Vlog) series on farmers who are participating in Ireland’s 23 EIP-AGRI projects located throughout the country features Kieran Doona from the MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project who explains how this innovative, locally-led project is working on the ground, at farm level. 

You can view this video blog here: https://youtu.be/K1WWlec6pls 

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MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project – Lessons Learned to Date 

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project Manager, Patricia Deane, provided an update of the various innovative methods being tested by, and subsequent lessons learned from this EIP-AGRI Operational Group project at the EIP-AGRI Symposium entitled ‘Sharing lessons learned and how these might help to inform Ireland’s CAP Strategic plan’ at the most recent Burren Winterage School held via Zoom in October 2020.  

You can view this presentation here: https://youtu.be/fh79UOelfxs 

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project – Publication Examples 

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project – Videos and Training Material 

MacGillycuddy Reeks EIP Project – Contact Details 

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Dan Doona, Kieran Doona, Tim ‘Banker’ O’Sullivan, Margaret O’Shea, Jeffrey O’Connor pictured here at the official launch of the MacGillycuddy Reeks European Innovation Partnership Project, by Michael Creed, T.D., former Minister for Agriculture, Food an the Marine (DAFM) in December 2019at Cronin’s Yard Tea Rooms, Meallis, Beaufort, Co. Kerry. Photo credit: Valerie O’Sullivan.