Dundalk Men’s Shed help tackle Killarney's 'invasive rhododendrons'

Dundalk Men’s Shed

David Lynch

Reporter:

David Lynch

Dundalk Men’s Shed help tackle Killarney's 'invasive rhododendrons'

Volunteers from Dundalk Men’s Shed who went to Killarney National Park: John Casey, Peter Gray, John Freeman, Peter O’Neill, and Paddy McGeeney.

Last week, five members of Dundalk Men’s Shed joined men from sheds right across the country and went to Killarney National Park to help tackle the problem of invasive rhododendrons.

Killarney National Park teamed up with Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Haven Pharmacy and the Irish Men’s Sheds Association to help protect a vital part of Ireland’s natural heritage. Killarney chamber and hoteliers provided accommodation for all the volunteers.

The Dundalk volunteers, Paddy McGeeney, John Casey, Peter Gray, John Freeman, and Peter O’Neill, were fully trained in using the approved ‘snip and spray’ method which has proven to be effective at restricting the regrowth of the invasive plants.

Killarney National Park is one of Ireland's natural treasures, an unspoiled habitat of lakes, mountains and unique wildlife, but it has been fighting a rear-guard action against rhododendrons for over 30 years. The growth of the rhododendrons is a danger to flora and fauna, and therefore a real threat to the park's natural beauty and delicate ecosystems.

The sheer size of the 10,000-hectare park presents serious challenges and this operation represented an attempt to harness the efforts of the whole community against this threat to one of Ireland’s most-visited sites of natural beauty.

‘It’s an absolute pleasure for us to be involved,’ said Barry Sheridan, CEO of the Irish Men’s Shed Association. ‘Men’s sheds are rooted in their local communities, but they also form a national network of like-minded men. Projects such as this show just how much our shedders have to contribute’.

Paul O’Neill of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce said the initiative brought communities together on a national scale and they were delighted to extend their hospitality to the men’s shed volunteers.

The initiative took place under the auspices of the Killarney National Park Mountain Meitheal which is sponsored by the Trustees of Muckross House – the meitheal being an ancient Irish agricultural practice which brings rural communities together in common cause.