Monday, 9 September 2019

25th August 2019 - Rockpooling in Portmarnock

The August outing of the Dublin Branch of IWT saw us rockpooling in Portmarnock, led by our knowledgeable volunteers Kevin and Leyla. Overall there were some 35 participants - mainly young kids, and the weather was fine, but a bit dull. Kevin and Leyla were absolutely wonderful, and helped everyone to find lots of really cool things. As well as both brittle starfish and a common starfish, some fish species were found including Rock Goby, blenny, butterfish and a 5 bearded rockling.

Other highlights included a nudibranch - orange clubbed sea slug (Limacia clavigera), which was feeding on the sea mats (bryozoans) attached to rocks in the rock pools. We also found Elysia viridis, or the sap-sucking slug (photo below).

Some of the birds that hung around with us during the rockpooling included cormorants, common tern, heron gulls, greater black-backed gulls, oystercatcher and turnstones.

As well as all the wildlife, Kevin and Leyla talked to the children about marine pollution (plastic), and sure enough several kids picked up plastic items which they found in the rock pools. a very enjoyable and enlightening day was had by all.

Monday, 15 July 2019

7th July - Bull Island Wildflower Walk

Dublin Branch held its annual Bull Island wildflower walk led by Niall Mac Coitir of IWT Dublin Branch. This was a particularly good year, with an amazing variety of wildflowers to be seen, including six species of orchid! The six species were early purple orchid, common spotted orchid, pyramidal orchid, marsh helleborine, twayblade, and the elusive bee orchid. Other wild flowers seen were lady's bedstraw, restharrow, wild violets, hares foot clover, bird's foot trefoil, centaury and eyebright. It is not an exaggeration to say that the display rivals anything that can be seen in the Burren.

Common Spotted Orchid

Another common spotted
- they come in a variety of colours

Twayblade orchid with its green flowers

Wild Violet or pansy

Marsh Helleborine

Pyramidal orchid

Green Drinks 2nd July - Marine Protected Areas

For July's Dublin Green Drinks Regina Classen, of the IWT talked about the aims of the Bigger and Better Marine Protected Areas (MPA) initiative. Regina, IWT co-ordinator, campaigns in partnership with Coastwatch and Seas at Risk to promote the establishment of a Marine Protected Areas Network. MPAs are a proven way to achieve much needed ecosystem restoration, sustainable fishing and climate change mitigation. In theory, MPAs provide safe havens for animals and plants to grow and reproduce without the threat of human activity. An properly policed and extensive MPA network would provide a vital safe haven for wildlife. You can read more about the MPA campaign on the IWT's website: IWT Campaign 'Bigger and Better'

Monday, 1 July 2019

June 9th and 22nd - Ireland's Eye Trips

Dublin Branch held its annual Ireland's Eye trips on 9th and 22nd June, and as usual both trips were booked out. We were lucky with the weather as there was no rain, and our guide John Fox did an excellent job on both occasions. However, there were altogether fewer birds and chicks than in the past, and NO peregrine Falcons. There was also an unusual profusion of Hogweed everywhere. Despite this the trips were both enjoyable and informative.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Green Drinks 7th May - Field of Dreams

This month Bob Salisbury told of how he and his wife Rosemary transformed a barren corner of County Tyrone into a wildlife haven. When they took over the land it was a sterile landscape for wildlife, with open boggy fields that had been let go fallow. However Bob and Rosemary began a programme of tree planting and they created a series of ponds to drain off the flooded land, which led to a resurgence of wildlife.

Their renowned wildlife garden is now home to hares, owls, hawks, otters, woodcock, bats and many other species that hadn’t been seen in the area for years. It has become what Bob calls his FoD - 'Field of Dreams' and he has published a book about his experience…/field-of-dreams-how-we-trans…/

2nd April - People for Bees

This month's Green Drinks is about the IWT People for Bees programme. The alarming decline of our bees and other insects is clear, but what can you do about it? The People for Bees programme aims to support communities and individuals in Ireland to take action to help fight bee decline. IWT Coordinator Kieran Flood provided an update on our People for Bees plans for 2019 to let you what you can do to help out, including making your gardens and green spaces more pollinator friendly. Volunteers can also learn field skills like bee identification, bumblebee monitoring and biodiversity record taking. The project is aimed at community groups and members of the public in every province of Ireland.

You can learn more about this important initiative on the IWT website:

Kieran at a bee identification workshop

31st March - Killiney Beach Walk

This month Kieran Craven of CHERISH brought us on a walk along Killiney Beach. CHERISH (Climate Heritage & Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) is an EU funded Ireland - Wales project, that will increase cross-border knowledge and understanding of the impacts (past, present and near-future) of climate change, storminess and extreme weather events on the cultural heritage of reefs, islands and headlands of the Irish Sea.

Kieran told us all about the the geology of the Killiney Beach area, including the fascinating fact that granite from Ailsa Craig in Scotland is to be found on the beach - carried there during the last Ice Age! Kieran also told us how the whole of Dublin Bay is at risk from rising sea levels due to Climate Change.

You can learn more about the CHERISH Project at

Kieran talks about tectonic forces

A look at some of the different rock types to be seen

Coastal erosion is happening at Killiney
and will only get worse with climate change