Liam Lysaght, the director of the The National Biodiversity Data Centre (an organisation that collects and manages data relating to Ireland’s biodiversity) based in Waterford, is about to embark on a one month adventure cycling around Ireland to take in some of the wonderful wild places and sites around the country. Aside from Liam’s keen interest and wide knowledge of all things wildlife related, Liam is also an avid cyclist. I guess it might be fair to say, that this trip of this will be a perfect merge of two of his greatest interests.
Liam was on the Ray D’Arcy Show this morning to promote the Wild Ireland Tour, taking place next month. When asked what his inspiration was for this roughly 3000 km round trip, Liam described how wildlife conservation is often portrayed in a negative light on the media, which tends to give people a bad impression of conservation. Ireland has some amazing sites and species assemblages that do not occur collectively elsewhere. Liam intends to showcase some of this by visiting almost 70 sites across the country and talking to the people that work to promote and protect them.
Liam has an interactive map of the ‘People and Places’, that he plans to visit next month. The first place on Liam’s list is Fenor Bog in Co. Waterford, a rare alkaline fen habitat and home to a large number of plants and invertebrates, and is supposedly a great place to spot dragonflies! The little fen bog may not be the most exciting or the biggest of the attractions he plans to visit, but one of the interesting things about Fenor is that the local community came together to purchase this bog, and it is now a great community and educational resource, and an attraction that brings visitors to the area.
Liam has listed the ‘Top Ten Species‘ he hopes to encounter on his travels. Those species include the Natterjack Toad, only found in a small area of Co. Kerry in South West Ireland, and the Brown Hairstreak Butterfly, restricted to the Burren Co. Clare and a small part of Galway. Also on his list is the Pine Marten, which is starting to increase in numbers across Ireland, but is probably one of Ireland’s most elusive mammal species. Liam will be documenting the species he encounters using a new app designed to record wildlife on the go, called ‘Biodiversity Ireland’.
I’m looking forward to reading the blog updates that Liam will be posting to his site over the next month, as he showcases the little gems dotted around the countryside and introduces us to the people who are passionate about their preservation. Perhaps others will follow in this pedals and re-create this itinerary, offering great opportunities to promote both eco-tourism and agri-tourism across Ireland. Be sure to check out his Facebook page and Twitter Account @LiamLy for regular updates throughout August.