Spotlight on the Beauty of Ukraine's Natural World

On Saturday last the Tuatha volunteers and members of the local Ukrainian community enjoyed a cultural meal together in the Terryland Forest Park.

Since 2022 and the brutal invasion of their country by the imperialistic Putin regime, Tuatha volunteers have worked with Ukrainians to develop a small woods in the forest park planted with trees native to both Ireland and Ukraine, namely oak, birch, alder and willow.
The destruction of forests, meadows, rivers and seas of Ukraine along with their indigenous trees, insects, fish, birds and mammals due to the war has been enormous.
Since time immemorial, the hidden innocent victims of human warfare has always been the natural world and its denizens.
Modern high tech weaponry has only increased the level of destruction as we sadly witness today all over the world including in Gaza, Congo, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine.
On Saturday we unveiled a preview of a planned exhibit of a Ukrainian artist from Kharkiv based primarily on the theme of nature and femalehood

Lending a Helping ARM to the Forest Park

 Congratulations to the staff of the world-renowned technology company Arm who today celebrated 1 year volunteering in Terryland Forest Park as a Champion of the Galway National Park City initiative.

I was so happy to have been invited to speak at their celebratory event today which also represented 10 years since the company started in Galway city.

Over the last twelve months, their staff on a weekly basis have undertaken a range of meaningful projects in the park including monthly surveying of the water quality (solids, temperature, pH levels etc) at different sites along the Terryland River, planting trees, litter picking, bio-blitzing and cleaning heritage signage. I thank them so much for their wondering meaningful volunteering - ARM is making a valuable contribution to the natural environment and sustainability of Galway city.

A Pheasant in Hare's Corner: A Good Omen for our Nature Restoration Plans!


As members of the Tuatha volunteers of Terryland Forest Park entered on Saturday a field designated for an exciting and ambitious rewilding project, I was somewhat taken aback when a startled cock pheasant rose up from the long grass at my feet and took flight into the sky.

Everyone of us present though considered it a good omen for plans towards a field recently purchased by City Council, after years of community lobbying, that has been absorbed into Terryland Forest Park.
Thanks to the collaborative approach and vision of City Council’s Biodiversity Officer Paula Kearney, City Parks’ Foreman Kevin Nally, Parks’ groundsman Edward Skehill and Deputy Parks’ Superintendent Lisa Smyth, a partnership with the Tuatha will transform the field into a large multi-layer pond and surrounding marsh with a viewing platform, a wet woodland, a native orchard, and an extensive hedgerow. The installation of a wooden bridge over the adjacent Terryland River will connect this site onto the Ogham Heritage Trail on the western side whilst the neighbouring fields to the north that also lie within Terryland Forest Park will become a major wildlife sanctuary (no human footfall).
An first step in making this ambitious plan become a reality was for members of our Tuatha of Terryland Forest Park volunteer group to meet onsite with the wonderful Rob Gandola, one of Ireland’s leading Pond Development Officers, to discuss our submission to Burren Beo under the Hare’s Corner initiative. Rob was so excited about our pond/wetlands proposal and feels that if successful it could become a gold standard and a case study for all Local Authorities. So fingers crossed that our Hare’s Corner submission will prove successful and will start the process in transforming a grassland into a significant nature restoration volunteer project.

Ireland's largest Urban Forest Park Community Project

The Terryland Forest Park was the largest urban neighbourhood forest project in the history of the Irish state when it commenced in January 2000. Initiated as a result of years of campaigning by resident groups, 120 acres was zoned by Galway City Council for a new woodland and riverine park.
Over a five year period, approximately 100,000 native Irish trees were planted by the people and schools of Galway city, thus creating an expansive natural habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna located not far from the city centre that connects into the vast Lough Corrib waterways, one of the most cherished areas of biodiversity in the country.
Within its grounds or on the park’s periphery, lies a rich fabric of Galway city’s history that includes working farmlands, the ruins of medieval castles, forgotten canals, the remains of a Georgian garden and WW2 urban allotments, Victorian railway lines and engineering waterworks.
A multi-sectoral steering committee was re-established in 2012 to help promote community engagement and to develop a long-term strategic plan for this wonderful green resource. Under the auspices of Galway City Council, it includes representatives from the City Parks’ department, Galway Education Centre, HSE, An Taisce, the Community Forum, GMIT and NUI Galway.
Unfortunately it was cancelled by city council in 2014 but it is expected to reconvene later this year with a new format.

Regular annual events include nature detective walks, native tree plantings, wildflower seed dispersal projects, third level science research programmes, organic gardening and a harvest festival. One particularly interesting initiative is ‘Slí na gCaisleán’, a pioneering pedestrian and cycling Greenway connecting Terryland Castle to six other castles that has the potential to become a world-renowned amenity to be shared by tourist and local alike. 

From the early years of its formation, a programme of family picnic days, outdoor theatre, art workshops, community tree and school children bulb planting days took place in the park that often attracted thousands of participants.