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Heritage Ireland

Biodiversity Week 2024 – Homes for Wildlife

Celebrating National Biodiversity Week with Over 40 Events across Heritage Ireland sites

A female kestrel sits on top of a wedge shaped tomb at Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. The iconic outline of Ben Bulben mountain is visible in the backdrop.

 

Welcoming National Biodiversity Week, Kieran O’Donnell T.D., Minister of State with Responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said:

I am delighted to welcome the arrival of National Biodiversity Week- celebrated by the OPW with over 40 events taking place at more than 12 of our heritage sites nationwide from 17 May to 26 May. Families around the country are spoiled for choice this National Biodiversity Week – there’s truly something for everyone, young and old. We are proud to be able to showcase our rich natural heritage across these sites, which are maintained by OPW staff to the highest standards of excellence. I wish to commend them for the hard work they undertake year-round and for organising such engaging and creative events across our magnificent historic houses, estates, castles, gardens, parks and prehistoric monuments.

A view over placid waters of Lough Gill and Parkes Castle
Parke’s Castle occupies a striking setting on the northern shores of Lough Gill in County Leitrim.

Families will find plenty to enjoy across the week, with a range of workshops, tours, trails and other fun activities on offer. Other events include in depth talks on biodiversity and conservation by leading experts. A full day of family-friendly fun is on offer at Céide Fields, Co. Mayo, where cliff-side telescope viewings, guided tours of the blanket bog and a wildlife scavenger hunt are open to the public free of charge.

 

Lorcán Scott, Biodiversity Officer at the Office of Public Works, said:

It is great to see such a diverse range of events across OPW sites, celebrating our rich biodiversity that exists throughout the country. Under the OPW’s stewardship, these sites support a myriad of habitats and species that we want to ensure are there for future generations to cherish. The theme for International Day for Biodiversity 2024 is ‘Be part of the Plan,’ with the implementation of our Biodiversity Action Strategy, the OPW is demonstrating we can play our part in addressing the global biodiversity crisis, and the expert work of our gardeners and guides play no small part in this mission.

Pathway with view of the Atlantic Ocean, at Ceide Fields, Co Mayo.
Céide Fields at the edge of Atlantic, Co. Mayo.

In John F. Kennedy Arboretum, Co. Wexford, children can learn through play about the wonders of our natural world by crafting a ‘mandala’, a circular design that radiates out symmetrically from its centre, in the heart of the woodland environment. In this interactive workshop, children can use plant materials sourced around the Arboretum, including rhododendron petals, fallen cones and palm leaves, to create their own unique, natural creations.

 

At Parkes Castle, Co. Leitrim, botanist and ecologist Dr. Dolores Byrne will lead a hands-on, family friendly exploration of the biodiversity around the castle and along the lakeshore at Lough Gill. At the lake, the whole family will learn about the steps we can take to preserve the biodiversity of this essential natural resource. Children will get the opportunity to collect invertebrates on the lakeshore, as well as a chance to meet and get to know Lough Gill’s bugs and fish.

 

Visitors to Glendalough Monastic Site, Co. Wicklow, can uncover hidden worlds in the biodiversity treasure hunt and be in with a chance to win an OPW Heritage Card. This card provides 12 months of unlimited access to over 50 OPW sites and visitor attractions with guided tours. While at Glendalough, visitors can hear first-hand from OPW guides about the importance of biodiversity in our built and cultural heritage.

 

These are just a few of the great events we are running for National Biodiversity Week 2024. This calendar of events is sure to engage and educate young children about the ever-growing importance of biodiversity, and the magical range of flora and fauna alongside which we all coexist. There’s a lot for grown-ups to learn as well, with talks and guided tours on offer from key specialists at the ‘International Conifer Conservation Programme’ at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow.

 

 

 

Cover image: A female kestrel sits on top of a wedge shaped tomb at Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. The iconic outline of Ben Bulben mountain is visible in the backdrop. Photo by Sally Siggins.

A birch tree is surrounded by a mandala made from flowers, cones and leaves. Concentric circles are divided into segments. White rhododendron flowers feature.
A nature mandala made by visitors at John F Kennedy Arboretum

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