The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark has passed an important test and been given a green card to continue to promote tourism development, education and conservation.

The world's 88 Global Geoparks are inspected by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) every four years to ensure they are up to standard.

The Co-ordination Committee concluded that the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is operating to an extremely high standard and was happy to award it a "green card" revalidation certificate for the next four years.

Global geoparks are special places that have been recognised by UNESCO because they have outstanding geology, landscapes and culture that is used to support tourism and education.

The inspection verifies an individual geopark's performance during the previous four years and confirms that the geopark is carrying out tourism development, education and conservation to the required standard.

Richard Watson, manager of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, said: "We are delighted to hear that our geopark has been awarded a green card for another four years. UNESCO revalidation inspections are a major event for any geopark and something that we always take very seriously. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to meet the required standards year in and year out but it is well worth it because of the tourism benefits our geopark brings to this part of Ireland."