We just weren’t content to sit back as great swathes of Ireland’s natural habitat and history was put to the sword, never to return, so we decided to act.-Lyn Nelson
I learned about Emerald Heritage through my friend Anita Daly. She told me that she supports the group passionately. She was wondering if I would cover them as I am primarily a music blogger. But then I told her about my other site and that’s how things took off. As a staunch supporter of environmentalism, this project is close to my heart.
I joined a local environmental group when I was in college studying Psychology and we travelled all over the island. We conducted seminars and attended summits to spread awareness about the severe consequences of deforestation to our environment. We travelled miles, injured harsh elements just to plant trees in areas that were severely affected. It was a great experience. Years later it’s by chance to meet Lyn Nelson. She is the founder of Emerald Heritage. You will learn more as you read this interview!
1. You are the founder of Emerald Heritage?
A: Yes, I am the founder of the company.
2 . What were the challenges you faced before this became a reality?
A: I became aware of the deforestation issues surrounding our native Irish woodland (Ireland is now the most de-forested country in Europe with only 1% of our native trees left standing) and decided I wanted to help. I knew that many of the charities and organisation relied on Government funding and the public’s generosity; equally I was aware that they were struggling to source funding in the current economic climate and this has resulted in recent closures of local organisations.
I needed to come up with a solution that would not rely on Government funding and enable them to continue their conservation work to restore our native Irish woodland. That funding would instead come from Emerald Heritage.
Faced with these issues I needed to create a unique plan – one that has never been done before and that would involve the global Irish community to support local communities, charities and organisations.
Little did I know that it would take years of research and planning, including many conversations with Government agencies and substantial capital to enable us to put the plan into action. I felt the best way forward was to work collaboratively with local and regional organisations to ensure that Emerald Heritage was well advised as to the conservation aspects of the area. Equally, we would have expert help when required. It transpired that the local council and Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust would manage the land for Emerald Heritage.
I also wanted to support local business and tourism. Therefore, we include literature within our packs and arrange annual Homecoming Events whereby the landowners are invited to a week-long discounted holiday to Ireland and participate in the planting of native Irish trees on their land.
We had a wonderful time this September (6 – 11) with our landowners who travelled from America to take part. We also organised a bespoke itinerary that visited many of the local tourist attractions and restaurants (plus delved into their ancestral links to Ireland).
I realised that this could become a worldwide community and together we could make a difference for our future generations.
Emerald Heritage was launched on February 26, 2014. We sell little plots of Irish land and the funds raised enable us to save the land from any further development and the opportunity to plant our much native Irish species.
3. Interesting! From which sector do you get a lot of support from?
A: We have been truly humbled by the support we have received, not only by the local population, but from countries all over the world, including and not limited to Australia, Canada, America, Europe and Asia.
4. It is sad that deforestation is a global problem. But instead of complaining and posting to social media, you really did something to make this happen!
A: We just weren’t content to sit back as great swathes of Ireland’s natural habitat and history was put to the sword, never to return, so we decided to act. There have been plenty of obstacles put in our path during the journey to this point but everyone at Emerald Heritage is a firm believer in the power of positive thought. When faced with a problem we just knuckle down and find a solution.
We Irish are known around the world for enjoying the craic. Our customers tell us that they always smile when they open their pack. They also feel pride in having made a valuable contribution to the preservation and protection of wonderful our Irish landscape forever. What could be better than that?
5. Game of Thrones is a popular TV show. Do you think that you will get more people to buy a piece of land if they see the connection between the TV show and Emerald Heritage?
A: Our plots are certainly the perfect gift for any Game Of Thrones fan. It’s like they own a piece of the real Westeros. So many of the show’s pivotal scenes were filmed in and around where our land is situated and the number of Game Of Thrones devotees visiting this area has increased dramatically in the past year. They are not only getting to see where the Starks and Lannisters played out their battles, but also one of the most beautiful parts of the world. To actually own a piece of land here has to be the ultimate Christmas gift (and they have the added bonus of knowing they are playing a valuable part in helping preserve the landscape that lured the Game Of Thrones location managers in the first place).
6. It is shocking to know that Ireland is the least wooded country in Europe with just 1% of native woodland remaining! Why do you think this happened?
It is very shocking to know that we are the least wooded country in Europe. I was devastated to learn this. It is a combination of de-forestation to create farmland (as far back as the 17th century), over-development, and a general lack of respect and ignorance of the damage being committed to our native woodland for centuries.
I have attached a PDF explaining what happened. This was literature I received by request from the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust as we began to form our relationship with them and learn more about how this crisis began. More importantly, how we could help the charity to continue their valuable work.
7. What is your message to our readers?
Please join the fight. Help us to reforest Ireland and help our local communities and organisations to protect our stunning landscape and heritage so it can also be enjoyed by future generations.
It makes a wonderful gift for Christmas and one they can hold forever within their family. In many ways it is like reclaiming a piece of their Irish heritage, what better way to assert your affinity and pride in the Emerald Isle than that? If you are a proud Irishman or woman, a huge Game of Thrones fan, a conservationist, or simply wish to help a worthy cause then why not own a piece of land in the famous Glens of Antrim? In addition to the one-foot square plots we have also recently introduced four and nine foot plots that also provide a way of remembering loved ones who are no longer with us. Christmas is often when we reflect on them and want to find a way to demonstrate that although gone they are not forgotten. A plot of land in the country they held dear is the perfect act of remembrance.
Our long-term goal is also to create a global network of Irish landowners who will have a say in the future of this island. Each will also be invited to our annual Homecoming where they can visit their land and take part in tree planting days. And it’s not just individuals. This can also be a great corporate gift whereby an employer could perhaps make a plot part of their Christmas gift to employees whilst also making a positive impact on the environment and their carbon footprint.
Emerald Heritage Limited
Tel: + 44 28 90 992447
UK Freephone: 0800 1337021
US Freephone: 1 844 404 7863