Project Coordinator, The All Ireland Pollinator Plan
Úna has a Ph.D. in botany. She worked on a project on the conservation of Irish bees before joining the National Biodiversity Data Centre in 2007. She is responsible for the plant, vegetation and pollinator work programmes of the Centre. She is the chair of the steering group that produced the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 and oversees its implementation.
DR. LIAM LYSAGHT
Director, National Biodiversity Data Centre
Liam Lysaght is Director of the National Biodiversity Data Centre, and heads up a small team based in Waterford. The Data Centre is responsible for collation, management and dissemination of data and information on Ireland’s biological diversity and operates some monitoring programmes to track change. He also serves as Head of Delegation for Ireland to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and is 1st Vice-Chair of GBIF’s Budget Committee. He is a very experienced conservationist, having worked in the nature conservation sector for 30 years. Previously he was employed as Wildlife Officer with the Heritage Council and as a Park Ranger at the Burren National Park.
DR. TOMÁS MURRAY
Senior Ecologist, National Biodiversity Data Centre
Dr. Tomás Murray is a Senior Ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre and is responsible for the co-ordination of the national butterfly and bumblebee recording schemes, national biodiversity indicators measuring Ireland’s progress on national and international conservation targets and investigating the conservation biogeography of Irish invertebrates. He has 15 years of research experience on insects having completed his doctorate on the conservation biology of wild bees in Queen’s University Belfast, working as a Research Officer in Teagasc on pollination biology, disease ecology and genetics of commercially-reared bumblebees, and then onto Martin Luther University as an Assistant Professor of Zoology.
Grasslands Ecologist, National Parks and Wildlife Service
Maria is an ecologist with nearly 20 years' experience. She did her PhD in the Burren, looking at both plants and snails! She has worked on botanical surveys across most of Ireland, including searching for some of Ireland's rarest plants. Maria teaches on a regular basis, and opening up the world ofplant identification to new eyes is one of her favourite things. She worked for almost seven years as the Irish Officer with the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and has recently accepted the role of Grasslands Ecologist with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Sean an Irish Columban missionary priest. He worked among the T'boli people in Mindanao in the Philippines where he first became aware of the ecological crisis. He is also an ecotheologian. He has written many books on ecology and faith belief - To Care For the Earth (1986), The Greening of the Church (1990), Climate Change, the Challenge to Us All (2006), The Death of Life, the Horror of Extinction (2014) and :Laudato Si' An Irish Response 2016). Currently, he is the president of An Tasice.
Landscape architect, environmental consultant & volunteer with the Green Sod Trust
Janet is a volunteer with the Green Sod Trust / An Fóidín Glas, an organisation that aims to protect and conserve land in Ireland for the sake of its indigenous inhabitants: animals, plants, soils, rocks, micro-organisms, watersheds and the like for their own sake, and for the sake of present and future generations. Janet is a landscape architect and environmental consultant and runs the Bee Aware programme in conjunction with the All Ireland Pollinator Plan: it's a two hour workshop in which children identify different bumblebees and come up with ideas on how to make their school grounds more pollinator friendly.
Burren farmer and Beekeeper
Neal Jeuken is a hobbyist beekeeper and nature enthusiast. He completed a BSc. Ecology degree at University College Cork in 2016. That led him to pursuing a MSc. degree in Environmental Protection and Agriculture in Stuttgart, Germany, where he has spent the last couple of years. He was lucky to return to the Burren region over the past 3 summers, working with and learning from the Burren Programme team, to help with the annual conservation-targeted farm winterage field assessments.
Researcher, Ecology and Conservation of Pollinators
Michelle graduated from her undergraduate degree in undenominated science from NUI Galway in 2013 and with an MSc in Ecological Assessment in 2015. Michelle is a PhD researcher in the Stanley Ecology Lab based at NUI Galway, studying the ecology, monitoring and conservation of pollinators in semi-natural grasslands. Her interests include the impacts of agri-environmental schemes on pollinator diversity and the ecology and monitoring of the rare bumblebee Bombus sylvarum. Over the past three years she has worked closely with bumblebees, studying their behaviour and interactions with plants. She has given lectures on pollinator conservation and bumblebee identification as part of the “Bees and bee keeping” course at NUI Galway and is regularly involved in a variety of public events involving pollinators.
Engagement Officer, National Biodiversity Data Centre
With a background in ecosystem sciences, Ben is now the Admin & Engagement Officer for the National Biodiversity Data Centre. He manages and monitors the Data Centre’s engagement activities and also coordinates its identification & training workshop programme. As a participant recorder of both the Bumblebee Monitoring and 5-visit Butterfly Monitoring Schemes, he has an interest in bees and butterflies. He’ll always keep his binoculars and hand-lens close-by though as he likes to record anything that greets him along the way using Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal.
Pius Murray has his own guided walks business, Walk With Pius (walkwithpius.com). He is a member of the Burren Ecotourism Network and is a founder member of Pilgrim Paths Ireland. He is a member of the Burrenbeo Trust and is a Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteer. He organises and leads walks in the Burren and on Inisheer. He lives in Corofin, County Clare with his family.
Owner & Manager, The Burren Perfumery
Sadie Chowen owns and manages The Burren Perfumery, which has been a working factory for 45 years and attracts over 50,000 visitors each year. The business draws its entire identity and inspiration from its location in the heart of the Burren. With 20 years’ experience and a firm focus on product design and product formulation, Sadie draws inspiration from the flora and beauty of the unique Burren landscape to create the Perfumery’s signature scents, organic creams, artisan range of hand-crafted soaps and candles, using the very best natural and organic ingredients, sourced from all around the world. Visitors are welcome year-round to experience the manufacturing workshops, gift shop, Tea Rooms and award-winning organic herb garden at The Burren Perfumery. For more, find us on Facebook or visit
Founder, The Burren Flower Farm
The Burren Flower Farm was established by Sarah Wall in 2015. It consists of 18 acres, the vast majority of which is left to nature with minimal management. About half an acre is used to cultivate flowers of all types, with a particular emphasis on choosing species which assist bees and other pollinators. Sarah adheres to organic principles in managing the farm with no pesticides used anywhere.
Ecologist, Lecturer, University College Dublin
Dara is an ecologist interested in biodiversity, conservation, sustainable agriculture, and ecological interactions involving insects and plants. She has worked extensively in Ireland, the UK, South Africa and East Africa. She was a Lecturer in Plant Ecology at the National University of Ireland Galway before moving to take up a position as Lecturer in Applied Entomology in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin.
Farmer, Member of Burren Farming for Conservation Programme
Michael is a landowner of the beautiful lowlands areas of Muckanagh Lough near to Tubber in the Burren. Amongst other things he grows his own vegetables and fruit. He has many stories from the land in this area. He is a member of the Burren farming for conservation programme - The Burren Project.
Farmer, Member of the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme
John is the landowner of Clonclouse farm. His family have farmed there for generations. It is home to some of the best views across the Burren, including over the iconic Mullaghmore mountain and many different habitats – hazel woodland, wetlands, limestone pavements and more. John is a participant in the Burren Programme and he is a strong advocate for farming for conservation, based on his experience working for nature on his own farm. He is also a very active member of the Burrenbeo Trust, volunteering as walks coordinator for the monthly members’ walks, as well as working with the Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers.
Award-winning Farmer, Member of the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme
Oliver Nagle manages a traditional Burren winterage farm on the slopes of Slieve Carran in a way that benefits both his farming system and the rich biodiversity and archaeology found on the site. He has carried out a wide range of conservation works over the years, including restoring old field systems and protecting natural springs. Oliver is a great communicator and when he shares his first-hand experience of practical conservation, his passion for both farming and nature is clear! Oliver recently won the national ‘Farming Together for Biodiversity’ Award announced at the National Biodiversity Conference.
Botonist, Plant Ecologist
Cilian Roden is a naturalist living in Doorus near Kinvara. He trained as botanist and plant ecologist with a special interest in marine and freshwater algae. He also loves the land plants of the Burren and has written several articles on the flora. He lectured on natural heritage in the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and helped develop courses which encourage students to experience and understand nature in the field rather than from textbooks. He has worked on the mountain flora and the vegetation of lake islands in the west of Ireland, as well as the distribution of rare plants. Current work includes studies on the impact of excess fertiliser on limestone lakes and marine lagoons. He has a special affection for Muckanagh Lough as it has a wonderful algal crust which both indicates clean water and “eats” or erodes the limestone bedrock. He suspects that we greatly underestimate the role living organisms play in the shaping of the Burren.
Lynda Weekes is a botanist that lectures in Wildlife Biology in the Institute of Technology, Tralee. She is a regular visitor to the Burren, and was lucky to spend last summer doing field work with the Burren Programme team. She has a long-standing interest in Botany and Biodiversity and her career has included working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford. Her botanical interests include bogland and heath, freshwater aquatic, limestone karst and grassland vegetation.
"I live in Kilkeedy, Tubber, and there is nothing better than getting out early, before dawn, to capture a magical sunrise. It's a beautiful way to unwind in the evening, to watch a sunset, or even the night sky. Taking photos makes you slow down and appreciate nature at its best. Planning for the image is part of the enjoyment: watching for the weather and tides, studying the behaviour of an insect or animal. I also take the camera underwater, and that brings its own challenges! I always have the camera ready - you never know what will appear as you are driving around the next bend..."
Carl has lived in The Burren for over thirtyfive years and for the past twenty has been developing his unique garden near Fanore. His interest in gardening has evolved from a background in ecology, a combination which has allowed him to create a garden which blends harmoniously into the surrounding landscape and capitilises on the native flora and fauna in the vicinity. His many interests include all aspects of natural history, geology, fungi and photography. He is a well known speaker and garden writer both in Ireland and overseas and has featured in many books and magazines.
Education and Conservation Officer, Burrenbeo Trust
Kate is regularly teaching place-based education for the Burrenbeo Trust and is also the coordinator of the Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers. Kate holds a a degree and masters in Geology and a PGCE in secondary Geography. Kate worked as a geography teacher and a field studies instructor prior to joining the Burrenbeo Trust.
Gráinne’s work focuses on the running of Áitbheo educational programme for schools and facilitation of the Áitbheo programme in the community. She has a masters in Sustainable Resource Management from University of Limerick & NUI Galway and has worked for several years as an environmental scientist
DR. SHARON PARR
Programme Scientist, The Burren Programme
Sharon is a naturalist and works as Programme Scientist with the Burren Programme where she is in charge of farm site visits, liaison with farmers and advisors, meadow assessments, monitoring, compliance – felling licences, notifiable actions etc.
MICHELINE SHEEHY SKEFFINGTON
Botanist Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington recently took early retirement from the Botany Department, NUI Galway, where she taught plant ecology. She has led annual botanical field courses in the Burren for 30 years and has supervised postgraduate students in the Burren, focusing on sustainable agriculture and working with the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme staff. She specialises in wetland ecology, including turloughs, flood-meadows (the Shannon callows) and peatlands and has published widely on these subjects.
Eileen Hutton is an emerging international artist and educator whose practice aims to generate reciprocal relationships with the natural environment and create replicable models for informed environmental actions. She developed the MFA in Art and Ecology at the Burren College of Art. Current artistic projects include Voicing the Bridge: A Cross Borders Project supported by the Finnish Institute of London and the co-editing of a collaboratively produced book with the Ecoart Network addressing ecoart and pedagogy.
DR. BRENDAN DUNFORD
Programme Manager, The Burren Programme
Brendan Dunford has been instrumental in re-invigorating biodiversity within the Burren through his initiative around Burren LIFE and the Burren programme. He has applied science to a societal problem of biodiversity and heritage loss, working with communities to produce more sustainable food systems. He is the Co-founder of the Burrenbeo Trust.