In early June, the Burren, abloom with an astonishing abundance and diversity of wildflowers, will host an open summer-school on the theme of saving our wild pollinators.
With guided walks, outdoor workshops, butterfly and bee surveys and thought-provoking discussions, the Burren in Bloom festival, from 7th-9th of June, will provide a rare opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to experience first-hand Ireland’s finest repository of plants, flowers and insects at the height of their seasonal splendour, all in the company of inspiring ecologists, farmers and gardeners who are working to secure a better future for our pollinators.
The Burren in Bloom Festival was developed 14 years ago to heighten the appreciation of this landscape and also to hear from the people that are key in maintaining its rich biodiversity. It is coordinated by the Burrenbeo Trust, a community-led landscape charity, working in partnership this year with the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the All Ireland Pollinator Plan. This year the festival is also supported by The Environmental Protection Agency and the Heritage Council, key organisations in supporting Ireland’s pollinators.
“The aim of Burren in Bloom is to encourage everyone to figure out what action they can take to help our pollinators,” says Annalisa Murphy, Coordinator at the Burrenbeo Trust. “Children, nature lovers, gardeners, botanists, farmers, business owners, community groups and everyone interested in preserving our natural heritage will come away with practical skills learned from local and national specialists in this beautiful hotspot of Irish biodiversity.”
Burren farms, areas of the Burren national park, village centres of Kinvara and Ballyvaughan, the Burren perfumery and many more places around the Burren region that provide diverse habitats for bees and butterflies will serve as some of the outdoor locations for the Burren in Bloom events.
Walk and workshop leaders include Dr. Úna Fitzpatrick, Project Coordinator of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, Dr. Liam Lysaght and Dr. Tomás Murray of National Biodiversity Data Centre, Priest and ecotheologian Sean McDonagh, Burren Programme farmers such as Oliver and Pat Nagle, Harry Jeuken and Michael Keane, botanists Dr Cillian Roden and Michelene Sheehy Skeffington, entomologist Dr. Dara Stanley, gardener Carl Wright and many more.
“The Burren is a landscape of pure wonder and sublime beauty,” says Brendan Dunford, co-founder of the Burrenbeo Trust. “This small area, sculpted by thousands of years of geological forces and conserved through unique farming practices, barely covers 1% of the country, yet it is home to 70% of Ireland’s plant life. The Burren also offers an inspiring story of a positive relationship between humans and nature; if you want to know how to get things right for our pollinators, surely there is no more fitting a landscape for learning, and there is no more urgent an issue right now than addressing the calamitous decline in our biodiversity?”