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  Island Bioblitz and Cape Clear Heritage Week

Island Bioblitz and Cape Clear Heritage Week by Geoff Oliver

In November of last year I was contacted by Paddy Sleeman and Liam Lysaght. Liam runs the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford, and for the last 5 years they have organised an annual Ireland’s Bioblitz. This involves selecting 4-5 sites around the country and inviting a team of taxonomic experts to identify as many animals and plants as they can on each site. Members of the public are also invited to participate or spectate. This annual event has turned into a competition between the sites and gradually become more popular, and is now televised.

This year they want to select 5 islands on which to hold this event and early on expressions of interest were received from Cape Clear, Bere Island, Inishmore, Tory and Rathlin. Liam came to Cape in November to assess the feasibility of the event and met Geoff Oliver, Ann O’Regan, Fiona MacLachlann, Michael John Cadogan, Mairtín Ó Mealóid, Mary Cadogan, Steve Wing and Mary Gade. He was only here for 4 hours and could not meet everyone, but was generally encouraged by what he saw. In addition to the Bioblitz weekend, Liam would like to see the islands organise other heritage events leading up to the weekend, which would form a Heritage Week, culminating in the Bioblitz weekend

This is still in the planning stage and nothing is finalised but it looks like it will go ahead.

If so, the Bioblitz will be held from noon Saturday 11th June – Sunday 12th June. This is the official 24 hours for recording species, but as the sites are islands, the recording period may be extended for a few days before the weekend in case of bad weather.

            The Data Centre will pay for accommodation and food for 15-20 people. Most of these will stay in the Youth Hostel, but other visitors can stay in B&Bs, holiday cottages, Bird Observatory, Camp site etc.. The recording of species will be on the internet and hopefully will take place in the National School.

Other Heritage Events (all provisional !!)

At the moment we are proposing to have the following events taking place daily:

From Monday 6th (Bank holiday) – Friday 10th

09.00 – 11.00  Bird walk (ringing)                           Steve Wing (and others ?)

11.00 – 13.00  Flower walk                                       Geoff Oliver

15.00 – 17.00  Stone walling                                     local builders

19.00 – 21.00  Traditional evening meal                  Restaurant/Cotter’s

21.00 – 22.00  Bird Observatory log                        Bird Observatory/Cotter’s

22.30 – 23.30  Bat walk/star gazing                         Paddy Sleeman (+others)




Other non-scheduled ideas: 

Heritage walk                                                                  Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil

Advanced canoeing  trip                                                  Seamus O’Driscoll

            Goat husbandry                                                   Ed Harper

Maritime photographs                                                     Pat Con

Music, Poetry, Dance                                                      An Club, Cotter’s

Fastnet and/or Bay trips                               Michael John, Cailín Oir

Heritage Quiz                                                ???

Seaweed buffet/lunch                                   ???

Wildlife Art workshop                                  ???

            Mara Farm Shop                                          Fiona Mac Lachlann

            Heritage Centre                                             Eamon Lankford



So far,

The National Biodiversity Data Centre will cover the expenses for up to 20 of the experts who participate in the wildlife surveys.

The Heritage Council have offered to provide financial support to cover some of the costs of holding additional heritage events.

Seamus will ask Údarás, and the Cailín Oir have made a donation.

To ask for funding we need an official name, so we are calling it “Cape Clear Heritage Week”  “Seachtain Oidhreachta Chléire”. Michael John has volunteered to act as chairman and Geoff Oliver as treasurer.

If anyone has any other suggestions/ideas/comments let me know.

Nothing is finalised !!

Geoff Oliver

email:   telephone: 028 41923