President Higgins opens the inaugural Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival Pollinators Plans, Honeybee Hives & Foraging Schools among Activities Taking Place to Highlight Importance of Ireland’s Biodiversity

14 September 19

President Michael D. Higgins today officially opened the inaugural Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival and Honey Show at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.

The free festival is being held by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to celebrate the Park’s rich biodiversity and natural heritage and to drive awareness of the relationship between biodiversity and natural resources.  

An extensive festival programme is underway including foraging tours, pollinator talks, bee keeping lessons and bird walks as well as music, art and activities to keep adults and children engaged an entertained.

President Higgins opened the festival to indicate his support for efforts to raise awareness of the importance, and fragility, of our ecosystems, saying current practices have resulted in significant damage to nature and to the natural environment on which all human existence depends.

Speaking at the opening, President Higgins said "The message is clear: nature, biodiversity – the life that we share on this planet and the contributions it makes to human existence – is in trouble. As with climate change, the scientific evidence is unequivocal that the primary causes are human-driven. The situation is urgent, but solutions are possible, and each of us must do our part to reverse these deeply worrying trends that threaten humans’ future survival on the planet."

The festival is taking place within the magnificent Victorian Walled Garden of the Park, a two and a half-acre garden set in the grounds of Ashtown Castle, cared for and managed sustainably by the OPW.

Speakers at the festival include Dr Simone Cinti from UCD will draw inspiration from the wild herds of deer in the Park for his talk. Margaret Gormley, the Chief Superintendent of the Park, will explain how the Park is managed in a sustainable manner and the biodiversity it supports. While Dr Jane Stout, Professor in Botany at the School of Natural Sciences in TCD, will give a talk on the ‘Buzz about Bees’ with tips on how people can improve the presence of bees in their gardens – window box to walled – and why they should. 

The Park is also home to 28 beehives and tomorrow, Sunday the 15th of September, it will host the fifth Annual Honey Show which gets underway at 10am as part of the Biodiversity Festival.  Held in association with the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (F.I.B.K.A.) the Honey Show is an opportunity to explore the ancient craft of beekeeping and brings together all the different aspects of the craft, highlighting the importance of beekeeping.

Minister of State for the OPW and Flood Relief, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said "We are very grateful to President Higgins for opening the inaugural Phoenix Park Biodiversity Festival and in doing so highlighting the importance of protecting and protecting Ireland’s biodiversity. Right across the country I know there is a tremendous appetite among people to know more and do more about biodiversity and this weekend’s festival is about providing people with some of that knowledge."

The Biodiversity Festival programme also includes information stands from various biodiversity organisations, such as, the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association, the Tree Council of Ireland and the Irish Wildlife Trust at the Biodiversity Festival. For more information about the festival please visit http://phoenixpark.ie/

-ENDS-

Note to Editors

The Phoenix Park has been awarded the 2019 All Ireland Pollinator Award for the Victorian Walled Garden, by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The Phoenix Park has also been awarded two international Park Management awards; the Gold International Large Urban Park Award and the Green Flag Award. Both awards recognise well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces.

For further information please contact OPW Client Services and Communications at 087 947 5552 or opwcsc@opw.ie

Photography will be available after the event from Kelvin Hughes at kelvin.hughes42@gmail.com or 086 264 8196

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