Tallaght: Help the Hills

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Project Status: August 2015 – present
Location: Ireland

Our goal has been to become a voice for our mountains, to educate and promote Tallaght, Ireland as a gateway to our mountain areas. To introduce and recruit school’s as ambassadors and guardians to Ireland’s mountains. To develop trails from our schools, creating partnerships with landowners and farmers, and introducing students to local working farms, and the obstacles that they face on a daily basis. Through these relationships we have secured access, building confidence and friendships, creating change and awareness for all that live, work and recreate, on or close to our mountains. We have taken to date over 400 students on educational workshops, recording biodiversity on our local trails. We truly believe that the next generation are now standing up to the strains that affect our natural environments. As we open doors for our youth they are now holding the room, and taking it very seriously, while enjoying the adventure and fun on offer from the mountains they are now proud to call Home.


Our educational workshops deliver a fun way of learning about our mountain environment, and the impact we can have by being responsible when we recreate in those special areas we love so much. Creating awareness,understanding and respect has been the core of our initiative and communicating that has been made simple and concise. Promoting the mountain experience for young students that remains fun and positive. We have seen the benefits from our work from all of the students we have engaged with. The energy and enthusiasm but mostly the care they gave to the whole experience. Most importantly we listened and we learned ourselves that our young people are more in tune than we give them credit for and so designing our workshop around them has become the template to protect and educate in all that we do. Our job is to invite them to “The Big Show” that is nature on their doorstep, as one student put it. Provide youth with the tools and we have the finest environment ambassadors for the future of our most special places. Our initiative is working and is a very first from this side of the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains. Help the Hills has created a new way of engaging with young people who will become the future and the voice for our Mountain Areas.

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Initially we set out on a trail development project however we stumbled upon many hurdles the biggest was dumping and fly-tipping. To have trails that we could use we required clean gateways to the mountains. We looked for help from councils and seen very quickly that if we wanted change then we had to be a big part of that change. We got to work and removed over 60 tonne of dumping from 10km of mountain access routes around Tallaght. Help The Hills was born and we soon had the help of a huge part of our community. Young and old came out to help with what was to last six months every week picking and clearing all that stood in our way. We soon got local and national press coverage which ignited a new energy all over the community and so lots of other initiative set out to work on projects similar to ours. Our stance was one that was to promote Tallaght as the Gateway to The Dublin Mountains and create a new sense of place with pride. That is now firmly the agenda in all of the community plans including South Dublin Count Councils development plans. We kick started something that has taken on a new life and energy where all of our community will benefit from in many different ways.


We have been invited in to both local council meetings to discuss tourism strategies and future plans. We have been guests of both senators and the TD’s on two occasions offering support. Senator Lynn Ruane and John Lahart FF TD have both been out to clean ups and given support to our educational workshops. We have also taken Eamon Ryan from the Green Party out on a guided tour of our local River Dodder.

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Our work is totally voluntary and funded by ourselves for the benefit of both our community and our mountain environment. We believe that giving back for all of the adventure and pleasure we have received from our mountains, is business as usual, for the love we all share and wish to pass on to others. We now stand proudly as a voice of our community, for or our mountains. That is our duty.

We are just two men known to be mountain/outdoor enthusiasts who donate as much time as we can juggling work and family time to protecting our mountains. We have some friends who believe in what we are passionate about and so have helped in small ways financially, (all local) We manage to persuade family and friends that what we are doing is for the benefit of the mountains of Ireland. That’s our way of championing our cause so we can see the pleasure others get on our local trails. We want adventure and fun to be associated with where we live. Change is coming and we are managing to be a small part of that change. Managing and protecting.


We believe that happy landowners and farmers are more inviting to tourists through partnerships like ours. We are here to stay and so when we do the background stuff then the show is far more fun for everyone that happens upon our hills. We are very aware that the fragility of our mountains is also the very same with regard to partnerships with many others. We promote the principles of Leave No Trace and we live them too, we invite and welcome volunteers to join us and we regularly help others in their mountain endeavours.


Simon Sweeney
E: simonsweeney2@gmail.com
W: www.helpingthehills.ie