Flat European state gets its first mountains…
In a move to foster a closer relationship between the Netherlands and Ireland, the Irish Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government , Mr Martin Cullen today presented his Dutch counterpart, Ms Sybilla Dekker, with a gift of the Slieve Mountains (formerly of Co. Laois).
The mountains, recently dismantled, are currently being loaded upon several ships in Dublin port. The mountains are expected to arrive in Utrecht in early September, where they will be reassembled in time for Christmas.
‘This is a great day for our two countries’, said Minister Cullen. ‘Ireland is riddled with a plethora of hills and mountains, and in the west of the country and down below in Wicklow. Most Irish people didn’t know that the Slieve Blooms were in Laois, or even where Laois is. After several million years of an incongruous existence in the Irish midlands, it’s great to see these mountains going to a good home’.
The Dutch Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, was emphatic in her thanks. ‘The Netherlands has been at the bottom of the European nations for mountains for some years now. It’s good that at last we have some real hills in this country. I can’t wait to climb to the top and have a good look around our beautiful country.
The Netherlands had originally been offered the Blackstairs Mountains, situated betwen Wexford and Carlow, but the offer was withdrawn after the security implications were realised.
Several events are planned for the Slieve Bloom mountains in the next 12 months, including a re-routing of the famous World Cup Classic Amstel Gold cycle Race, won this year by Italian Davide Rebellin.