The new bird observatory at the Navy Bank Dundalk project is the brain-child of Dundalk Tidy Towns group and Dundalk Town Council’s engineer Peter McVeigh
This funding paid for a substantial amount of the project including sourcing the containers, customising them at alocal coachbuilders, Peader Byrne, Coes Rd; painting and transporting the containers plus the manuafacture of a steel staircase.
Dundalk Town Council provided the land. The observatory is based on two standard containers, as seen on the back of a lorry or on a container ship, adapted to meet their new purpose. Peter was inspired by seeing a similarly adapted double-decker used to make a café and storeroom in his native north Belfast. One container stands on top of the other, to give height.
The upstairs container, reached by metal stairs at the back, acts as a viewpoint. Not only can you see birds from it but there are wonderful views of the Castletown and Ballymascanlan river estuaries and the mountains backing them in both north Louth and south Armagh.
The downstairs container has an educational resource room including 35 pairs of binoculars sourced from Leavy’s chemist, and space for the possible future provision of a toilet - there are no toilets there at the moment.
Three local primary school principals attended the opening and showed great interest and enthusiasm for bring their pupils to the observatory to find out about Ireland’s top site for migratory birds and the wide range of species that use Dundalk Bay.
Dundalk Tidy Towns groups has taken on two TÚS workers who will open it, together with volunteers, between 10 and 12 from Monday to Saturday and on five afternoons a week - Monday to Friday - from 2 to 4 pm.
It is hoped that other local social groups, such as BirdWatch Ireland and the local astronomy club will also be able to make use of the new facility.