Biodiversity/ Nature in Cork

UCC grounds, October 2009 

Abstracts from

Nature in the City, A Guide to Biodiversity in Cork City

 (published January 2010, Cork City Council,


Did you know?:


·         Biodiversity is short for biological diversity. Biodiversity is the variety of living things on earth, from the smallest insect insect to the largest mammal and tree


·         Biodiversity is the basis of all life on earth, including human existence; it is our life support system. Ecosystems regulate climatic processes, breakdown waste, recycle nutrients, filter and purify water, buffer against flooding, maintain soil fertility, purify air and provide natural resources such as wood, textiles and of course food.

·         All agriculture and marine and freshwater resources depend fundamentally on biodiversity.


Cork Biodiversity:


·         Cork supports a wide range of plants and animals. Some are common species, some rare, some legally protected and some are seen as pests. The green spaces of the city provide havens for species more usually found in rural situations whilst the structures of the city, the walls and buildings, provide homes to specialist species, which specialise in living in cities.


·         Cities do however offer habitats to some plant species that are rare or absent in rural areas in the form of hard surfaces such as walls, and specialist species of this habitat find a home in the city.


Some species:

·         Six of Ireland’s ten species of bat occur in Cork City. Brown long-eared bats are also associated with trees and are found in more extensive ‘green’ areas such as cemeteries parks and large gardens.


·         Otters are quite common along the river lee through the city and people have been lucky enough to see them swimming in the river. The shoreiine from Blackrock around mahon to the Douglas Estuary also provides excellent otter habitat


·         Hedgehogs are present in larger gardens and parks, and can be quite common in suburban areas preferring places with both undergrowth in which to shelter and open areas rich in earthworms, slugs, snails, beetles and other invertebrates on which to feed.


·         In a typical year more than 100 species of bird will be seen in Cork City. Of these approximately 40 breed regularly in the city. The remainder are mainly passage migrants seen in spring and autumn including the thousands of waders that can be seen on the outskirts of the city at the Douglas Estuary and Lough Mahon.


·         Of the most spectacular birds that nests in Cork City is the Peregrine. This large and magnificent falcon has used a few sites in the city to nest and can be seen regularly in the skies above the city.


·         A number of fish species can be found in the River Lee within Cork City. Atlantic salmon, a species protected under the EU Habitats Directive, pass through, adults heading upstream to spawn, juveniles heading downstream to the open sea.


Some important biodiversity sites:

·         Fragments of marshland persist at the city’s margins, for example along the Lee Road to the west of the city and at Douglas Estuary, where coastal habitats are also found.


·         The Lough is an oval spring-fed limestone lake of six hectares lying in a shallow depression. Until the 1930s, the island consisted of unstable swampy land dominated by great reedmace. Commonly but inaccurately known as “bulrush”. The lough supports important winter populations of ducks, particularly shoeveler.


·         The Atlantic Pond is a breeding site for grey herons and these magnificent birds can be viewed easily from the Marina Road where it passes the pond. The Pond is also home to other waterbirds and mallard, Little Grebe and Little Egret. In the winter Tufted Duck, Pochard and many species of gull can also be seen.


·         Fitzgerald’s Park includes alot of mature coniferous trees, which are favoured by Coal Tits and Goldcrests, Moorhens and Mallards can be seen on the small ornamental pond and the park’s beautifully maintained flower beds play host to bees, hover flies, butterflies and other insects.

*Publication is free of charge (numbers limited); contact 021 4924757 or email



Wildflowers of Cork City & County
Tony O’Mahony.


Cork is the largest county in Ireland yet no general account of its flora exists. After a brief account of the recording of Cork flora since 1745, this book describes the floristic features of the county and city. With a handsome mix of photography, maps and information, each chapter focuses on a specific habitat. Modern and historical botanical studies are combined to describe the particular species of each habitat, while plants unique to each are highlighted. From the serious botanist to anyone needing a quick tool for identification, no one interested in Irish flora should be without this book.







  St. Vincent's Church from UCC grounds, 8 January 2010



The National Biodiversity Data Centre is pleased to announce the release of its new website on . The revamped website is released to celebrate International Year of Biodiversity 2010, and to mark establishment of the Centre exactly three years ago today.

The website is a national resource presenting data and information on all aspects of Ireland’s rich biological diversity.  It also serves as a link between our expanding knowledge base and the need to provide high quality information to improve decision-making.

Some of the main features of the website include:

  • Easy access to 1.07 million observations of Ireland’s wildlife,
  • Provisional distribution maps of 8,545 Irish species, presented on a national GIS mapping system Biodiversity Maps
  • An online submission form to enable observers submit sightings of Ireland’s wildlife to the National Biodiversity Database;
  • An internet data portal linking the Data Centre with the other key national sighting schemes,
  • A latest news feature to highlight any new developments in wildlife recording and surveying in Ireland,
  • The Centre’s calendar of Events for 2010,
  • An on-line library of digital images of some of Ireland’s species freely available to download for use in publications, presentations and other uses.

            Further information contact: Dr. Liam Lysaght, Director. National Biodiversity Data Centre, Carriganore, WIT West Campus, Waterford

Phone: 00 353 51 306240




 National Biodiversity Plan:


Ireland, along with its other EU partners, agreed in 2001 ‘to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2010’ and to ‘restore habitats and natural systems’. If the decline in Ireland’s biological diversity is to be halted, then the resource needs to be described and quantified, and systems put in place to monitor changes to that resource. The National Biodiversity Data Centre’s role will be crucial in achieving this objective. The Data Centre will work to make data on Ireland’s biological diversity available for the following specific uses.

A significant milestone has just been reached where in excess of 1 million biodiversity records are now included in the National Biodiversity Database and made available through our online mapping system. Not only are these records now secured for posterity, but the information gleaned from them can contribute in a direct way to documenting Ireland’s biodiversity resource.

A full list of all databases held by the National Biodiversity Data Centre is available to view at along with the relevant metadata.  Some of these datasets are supported by project websites providing additional information and these can be accessed by clicking the links below.

  UCC grounds 8 January 2010