National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022 – Heritage Award Winner

Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary is the National Heritage Winner of the National Lottery Good Causes Awards 2022!

Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary is a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to preserving a vital area of wilderness in the Lough Grainey valley, protecting its biodiversity, rewilding and restoring its ancient oak forest, and helping children and adults to reconnect with nature.

Lough Grainey valley in East Clare is an area of immense natural beauty and huge ecological value. It is the setting and birthplace of the most famous poem written in the Irish language, The Midnight Court. Named after the ancient Irish Sun Goddess Grian, it is home to some of Ireland’s most endangered species of animals and plants, including the hen harrier, Blue-eyed grass, and Marsh fritillary butterfly. There are precious stands of old oak trees such as the majestic Bunshoon Wood, a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Brian Boru.

The team of the Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary were delighted to receive Good Causes funding that allowed them to conduct a bat presence survey and to install a NatureCam trail camera on the land of the Nature Sanctuary, to study the wildlife without disturbance.

Marina Levitina, PhD, chairperson of Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary, said, “Rewilding and nature restoration is one of the aims of our project, it is about giving the land back to Nature and allowing Nature to restore herself with minimum human intervention. At the time of the global climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, when we are losing so many species of plants and animals, with 1 in every 5 of the assessed species in Ireland being threatened with extinction according to a recent report, we need to ensure that the few existing places of wilderness and wildlife corridors are protected. Our nature sanctuary is such a place, and it needs to be protected for all its beauty and for the vital habitats that it provides to wildlife.”

“All of us are completely interconnected with Nature. We are part of it, we are not separate from nature. A healthy and sustainable community includes not only humans, but also all the plants, trees and animals, the healthy soil and pristine waters, rivers and lakes that we depend on for our health and well-being.”

“We are already observing such an abundance of wildlife here at the Nature Sanctuary! We are also restoring the oak forest, by planting native trees and helping natural regeneration of native woodlands. Trees ensure stability of the global climate by absorbing and restoring carbon. Currently, only 10% of Ireland is covered with forests, and only 1.2% is native woodlands. We need more trees!”

The team of Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary were absolutely delighted to have won the National Lottery Good Causes Heritage Award 2022! This was announced recently at the Good Causes Gala event. Many other fantastic community organisations and finalists were also present. Big congratulations to all the other finalists and winners in the other categories! It was so inspiring to hear everyone’s stories!

NatureCam footage Spring 2022

More from our NatureCam!

We have downloaded some more footage from our NatureCam… click below to see some rare shots of a badger (a nocturnal animal who is rarely seen in the wild), an elusive pine marten (one of Ireland’s rarest mammals), a majestic fallow deer, and more…  

With thanks to our funders, the Heritage Council of Ireland,  who made this NatureCam project possible.

Planting trees

Bealtaine Blessings from the Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary!

As we move towards Bealtaine and the beginning of summer, Nature is bursting out with vitality in the Grainey valley. Today, we heard the welcome sound of the first cuckoo of the year! The sap is rising, blossoms are opening, and a carpet of green is spreading over the land.

In the past few weeks, we have planted 210 native trees on the Nature Sanctuary land.

    These include oak, alder, birch, blackthorn, hawthorn, spindle and scots pine. Grateful thanks for all your donations that have made this possible.   

Springtime is here!

Happy Imbolc and greetings from the Grainey Valley!

Spring has arrived here in Ireland, the days are getting longer, and there is excitement in the air as so many beings of Nature are starting to awaken from their winter slumber… The first lesser celandine flowers and even an occasional bright dandelion are already shining their golden light here and there… And gorse is already in bloom. We are getting ready for tree planting! We plan to start planting the first native tree saplings here on the land of the Nature Sanctuary very soon. We will keep you posted! Green blessings from east Clare, The LGNS team    

More footage from our NatureCam

Here is the latest footage from our NatureCam!

Here is the latest footage from our NatureCam, it is so exciting to be able to see more of the elusive inhabitants of our Nature Sanctuary! Click Play to find out more….  

With thanks to our funders, the Heritage Council of Ireland,  who made this NatureCam project possible.

Our New NatureCam

Our new NatureCam is here!

We now have a NatureCam trail camera on the land of the Nature Sanctuary and it is allowing us to find out what animals and birds live there.  It was so exciting to watch the very first video footage from the land! Here we have compiled some of the first video clips recorded by the NatureCam on different days and nights. We will be posting more footage in future blog posts. Once you click Play, you will see several animals and birds including a beautiful wren (one of Ireland’s smallest birds), a robin, a blue tit, a very curious great tit, and a… pine marten, Ireland’s rarest native mammal!  

With thanks to our funders, the Heritage Council of Ireland,  who made this NatureCam project possible.