“I was very pleased to get to know some very wonderful natural reserves and heritage places in Ireland through Sanctuary in Nature and Heritage. You are doing a wonderful job. I truly appreciate your great efforts. All thanks to both of you.”
We seek to use the natural world both as a meeting point for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and Irish people, and as a refuge from the stress and tedium often inherent in the predicament of those in ‘direct provision’. There is compelling evidence worldwide that direct contact with nature is vital for physical and mental health, and that engagement with local historical and cultural heritage assists immigrants to understand the society in which they have come to live. It is also clear that pleasurable informal contacts between immigrants and citizens breaks down barriers, dissolves fears, resolves misunderstandings and contributes to building a vibrant society that is both diverse and harmonious.
The project offers participants opportunities to enjoy and learn about Irish wildlife, wildflowers, landscapes, and historically and culturally significant architectural and archaeological heritage. Because we see the project as an exchange between equals, we also stress the opportunity it gives participants to inform Irish people about nature and heritage in their home countries. A very important by-product is the informal socialisation between individuals and small groups, in a relaxed context in beautiful settings, and over picnic lunches and refreshments.