Clane Community Council and its Tidy Towns Sub-Committee marked International Biodiversity Day, Sunday 22nd May, in style with the official opening of its Liffeyside Nature Park and the unveiling of its two new “Wild About Clane” information panels.
The showers blew over and the sun came out just in time for the evening’s events.
Supported by experts Niall Tierney and Deirdre Moran from Birdwatch Ireland Kildare Branch, Terry Walsh from Clane Trout and Salmon Anglers Association, and Philip Strickland from Moths Ireland, John Kennedy from Clane Tidy Towns led the enthusiastic crowd on a guided nature walk. People were introduced to the variety of native trees, wildflowers, birds, insects, fish and animals present in and around the park. They were also treated to a glimpse of a kingfisher that bolted out from under Alexandra Bridge, and to stories of otters seen lying on their back in the river, feasting on freshwater mussels picked from the riverbed.
The nature walk was followed by the official opening ceremony, with the crowd addressed by Chairman of Clane Community Council Mr. Nick Fitzgerald, coordinator of the project John Kennedy from Clane Tidy Towns, and special guest Mayor of Kildare Cllr. Brendan Weld.
After describing the 15 year history of the project, the individuals and groups that had contributed to the park, the signs and the day’s events were all sincerely thanked. The importance of biodiversity was also highlighted. The park was then officially opened by Mayor Weld and the two local children whose photographs featured on the signs: Jessica Doran and Stephen Doyle.
The celebrations moved on to the Westgrove Hotel for some refreshing teas, coffees and finger food. This was followed by the final event of the day: a batwalk down by the Liffey. Tina Aughney from Bat Conservation Ireland provided a fascinating insight into these surprisingly small insect-eating mammals, and thanks to Tina bringing a supply of bat detectors, everyone was able to listen in to the clicks and calls of the three species of bats that were identified on the walk.
A great evening seemed to be had by all, with people commenting that all the hard work may have turned the former sewage works into not just a wildlife refuge, not just a wonderful amenity for the people of the town, but an important attraction for visitors to Clane too.
Why not take a walk down by the park yourself. We hope you find the new signs helpful in introducing the beauty of the natural world…
…Wild About Clane.
Our thanks to John Power for supplying all the photographs…