The second event hosted by MulkearLIFE as part of Heritage Week 2013 took place today, Saturday 24th August 2013. The half-day field trip entitled ‘The Magical Mulkear: A Field Trip Of Discovery’ was a great success with a good variety of sites visited.
Working through dense infestation of Himalayan Balsam (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The bus excursion was designed to start at the confluence of the Mulkear and Shannon rivers. From there to progress upstream to visit a range of exciting sites throughout the catchment with a focus on the rich biodiversity of the Mulkear catchment (from source to mouth).
Above the confluence of the Mulkear and Shannon rivers (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The field trip was a very enjoyable outing and the weather held-off for the most part. The event started at the confluence of the Mulkear and Shannon Rivers where issues including alluvial woodlands, non-native invasive plant species and flooding was discussed.
Site visit to Ballyclogh weir on the Mulkear River (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Progressing upstream, the field trip included visits to various barriers on the lower section of the Mulkear River reviewing both the natural and built heritage at various sites including Annacotty and Ballyclogh weirs. Grey Herons, mallards, dippers and kingfishers obliged us at various sites.
Riparian zone along the Mulkear River below Ballyclogh weir (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
The field trip also included a review of the work of the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers over the past three years, including of the work undertaken in the Clare Glens.
Site visit to the Clare Glens on the Clare River (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Site visits were also undertaken to review the work of MulkearLIFE / Inland Fisheries Ireland and its main project partners, the OPW and Limerick County Council, to restore instream and riparian habitat. The rubble mats downstream of Brittas Bridge were viewed. This work, which was undertaken by Limerick County Council earlier this summer, has proven to be a great success.
Site visit to Bilboa Bridge on the Bilboa River (Image: Ruairí Ó Conchúir)
Stimulating discussions took place on a range of issues as the group moved from site to site. This included topics such as conservation farming in High Nature Value (HNV) areas, otters and mink, the use of dippers boxes, protecting species rich grasslands and meadows, protecting our built heritage, tree planting and forestation and the industrialisation of upland areas of the catchment. The rain, as predicted, arrived in the afternoon but this did not dampen the spirits of the participants and a great day was had by all.