Mid-conference Excursion: Killarney National Park
Native woodlands in Killarney National Park and surrounding plantation forests
A one day excursion to Killarney National Park and surrounding areas in Co. Kerry will take place on the third day of the conference (www.killarneynationalpark.ie/). In the morning we will visit some typical forest plantations where scientists will discuss recent developments in Irish forest biodiversity research for a range of taxonomic groups. After lunch we will visit Killarney National Park located in the heart of County Kerry and designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1981. Located to the east of the MacGillycuddys Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland, this 10,000 hectare National Park includes the world famous Lakes of Killarney and their surrounding woodlands and mountains. With a mild climate and varied habitats the park is home to an interesting array of plant and animal life and contains many features of importance including native Irish Oak and Yew woodlands and only herd of native Red Deer remaining on the island of Ireland.
Date: Thursday 30th August 2012
Cost: Included in the registration fee for conference participants. €40 for guests. Transport and lunch included in the price.
What to bring: Water bottle, shoes for hiking, warm clothing, a waterproof jacket and insect repellent. Sun hat and sun screen just in case!
Post-conference Excursion: Blarney Castle and Gougane Barra
An optional post-conference tour is offered to Gougane Barra National Forest Park and BlarneyCastle. This tour will give participants the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural heritage of CountyCork.
Blarney Castle is just six miles from Cork city. It was built by one of Ireland 's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, nearly six hundred years ago. It is home to the famous Blarney Stone at the top of the tower. Legend has it that after kissing the stone, the gift of eloquence is bestowed, and the lucky patron will never be lost for words again (www.blarneycastle.ie). The visit will include a walk round the castle and grounds, and the chance to kiss the stone!
Gougane Barra is situated 44km south west of Cork city. This area of outstanding natural beauty comprises 142 hectares of forest park, Gougane Barra lake and St Finbar’s oratory. The forest park was afforested between 1938 and 1942 with Sitka spruce, Lodgepole pine, Japanese larch and Scots pine. Many of these areas have now been restocked, having reached commercial maturity. However, one of the finest stands of Sitka spruce in Ireland still exists in the valley bottom with trees reaching 38 meters and carrying a volume of up to 3 cubic meters each (www.coillteoutdoors.ie) . The Gougane Barra area is composed of old red sandstone and the characteristic layering or bedding of the sedimentary rocks can be clearly seen in the high cliffs around Com Rua at the head of the valley. Gougane Barra Lake lies in a rock basin carved out by the ice but nowhere does it reach depths greater than 12 meters (www.gouganebarra.com).The visit will include a 90 minute walk up through the forest with stunning views of the valley below, a visit to the oratory and lunch at a local venue.
Date: Saturday 1st September.
Cost: €50 per person. This fee includes bus transport, mid-morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch at a local venue near Gougane Barra and entrance to Blarney Castle .
You should bring with you clothing and shoes for hiking in wet weather (hiking boots/shoes, rain jacket, water proof pants, warm clothing). The hike of 1hr-90mins will involve some ascent (a moderate level of fitness is required). An easier walk is also available, if preferred.
Excursions can be booked at the time of registration
All guides will be in English.
Excursions will take place if sufficient numbers attend.
Destinations are subject to change with or without notice.
Transportation will be by chartered bus.