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Royal Canal Biodiversity Walk — getting up close to nature in our locality

The sun shone last Friday evening for our first nature walk this year along the Royal Canal. Led by Valerie and members of the Biodiversity Group, we explored the flora and fauna to be found between Crossguns Bridge and Lock 7.

Many thanks to everyone who came along for the walk and who made so many lovely contributions along the way. It was a great night to share information about this amazing resource.

The Phibsboro' Village Tidy Towns Biodiversity Group has created a map to showcase some of the diverse flora and fauna that can be found here during the month of July.

It's uplifting to see so much biodiversity thriving on the Royal Canal in such an urban part of Dublin and some of what can be found there is very rare indeed.

A recent insect ecology survey commissioned by Phibsboro' Village Tidy Towns and a second survey on aquatic ecology for Shandon Residents Association both discovered red-listed plants and animals in the Royal Canal between Crossguns Bridge and Lock 6. This rare clean slow-moving water habitat provides a good home for Hydravore Water Beetles, Glutinous Snails and the rare Clustered Stonewort (Tollypella Glomerata).

Birds, Bats, Plants and Fish

As the seasons change on the canal, you can easily see many different plants and animals come into their own. During July, flying high up in the sky are the Swifts and lower down nearer the canal are where you can find Swallows and Sand Martins seeking out insects to provide for their new chicks.

Along the Royal Canal at night, there are at least four species of bat (Leisler's, Daubenton's plus Soprano and Common Pipistrelles) foraging along this valuable waterway with its mature hedgerows.

There are many native plants growing there too. Once the Yellow Flag Iris flowers fade after May, the fragrant creamy Meadowsweet blooms along with pink Rosebay Willowherb. Lots of pollinators depend on these flowers and you can also see Butterflies, Damselflies and Dragonflies. Nettles and Dock provides food and egg-laying sites for many species of moths and butterflies. Ragwort is a very important food source for Cinnabar Moth caterpillars. There are tiny Irish native dark pink Orchids also living along the canal verges. Lots of insects also live in the canal and provide a great source of food for Pike, Perch, Rudd and Tench. Some of the more unusual animals found by Etymologist Nessa Darcy in her canal survey were underwater Diving Bell Spiders and Freshwater Shrimp.

And this is all free to enjoy anytime you want to spend some time with nature!

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye on our social media for details of our next nature walk. We're planning a bat-themed event for late August, and we hope to have another walk in September, in conjunction with Buzzfest 2024!

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