OPW delighted to announce the Annual Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is delighted to announce the return of the Annual Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival, which will take place from Friday, 10 September to Sunday, 12 September 2021. A full programme of outdoor events is scheduled for each day commencing at 9.30am and booking details for each event is available at www.phoenixpark.ie.

The Biodiversity Festival brings together different aspects of citizen science and biodiversity and is a FREE fun filled event with family activities suitable for young and old alike. The 3 day outdoor festival is filled full of walking and talking events on topics like bats, bees, trees, aquatic habitats, gardening, citizen science and lots more. Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, Patrick O’Donovan TD commented, “Biodiversity is essential for life. Our planet, society and our economy depend on it. The Phoenix Park is a highly important site for biodiversity in Dublin and is an extremely rich biodiversity re­source. It is wonderful to see the return of the Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival. This year’s festival has something for everyone, both on line or at the many outdoor activities planned over the weekend.

The Dark Sky Event in the Phoenix Park is one of our most popular events each year and returns on Friday, 10 September at 8pm. This event gives participants the chance to observe the night sky with experts from the Irish Astronomical Society. On Saturday and Sunday, we will have demonstrations on traditional hay saving with Michael Jacob, a walking tour with Niamh Fitzgerald, Birdwatch Ireland where you will learn all about the birds of the Phoenix Park and learn all about the aquatic habitats of the Park with Rob Gandola from the Herpetological Society of Ireland. Leave No Trace Ireland will also give a talk on the key principles to follow when using outdoor spaces.

Other fantastic events include on Saturday, an evening Bat Walk with Dr Tina Aughney from Bat Conservation Ireland and on Sunday a grass identification session with Dr Fionnuala O’Neill, Director of Ecology with BEC Consultants. A number of the Office of Public Works staff will also give expert talks on wild deer, becoming a citizen scientist, trees of the Park and gardening for pollinators.

Rosemary Collier, Principal Officer of National Historic Properties also commented that “The Phoenix Park supports 50% of the mammal species found in Ireland and about 40% of bird species. Among the 351 different plant species to be found in the Park, three are rare and protected. The Park has retained almost all of its old grasslands and there are 25 different types of habitats spread throughout the Park. The Festival offers a chance for families to learn more about the Park while interacting with a wide range of experts in the field of biodiversity”.

This year, a series of lunchtime talks on various biodiversity topics will take place in the days leading up to the Festival. These lunchtime talks will commence on Monday, 6 September at 1pm and will be available on the OPW YouTube channel.