Restoring the Oak Forest

A large primeval oak forest once covered 75% of the land of Ireland.


Here in East Clare, once stood the ancient oak forest known as the Forest of Suidane.

Most of it was cut down from the 1500s onwards.

Some remnants of this ancient forest still exist here in the Lough Grainey Valley, including stands of rare ancient oak trees. But these trees are in great danger of being cut down when land comes into agricultural use or for other kinds of development.

As part of setting up the Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary, we set out to restore the native oak forest by protecting existing trees, planting native trees in suitable areas, and encouraging natural regeneration of native woodland.


As the nature sanctuary grows, so will the numbers of trees.

oak leaves oak sapling hawthorn berries



* restoring the natural ecosystems, giving home to a variety of birds, animals and insects, and reversing the loss of biodiversity.

* offsetting carbon emissions: one tree can offset about 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, up to 1/2 a tonne of carbon dioxide throughout its lifetime. Planting trees can be a very effective way of mitigating the effects of climate change and helping the planet.

* providing CO2 sequestration: through the biochemical process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere by trees and stored as carbon in the trunk, branches, leaves and roots. Scientists calculate that naturally restored forests can sequester (take out from the atmosphere) several tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. (According to a report by Rewilding Britain).

* protecting biodiversity: an oak tree supports hundreds of species of insects, birds and mammals! An oak woodland becomes a haven for wildlife, and a variety of ground flora and wildflowers can thrive here.

* restoring the cultural link between people and woodlands: an oak tree is a symbol of strength and endurance and is one of Ireland’s most sacred trees, revered since the times of the Druids.

* protecting water from pollution and protecting the soil from erosion.

How You Can Help


you are contributing to buying the land for the Nature Sanctuary, restoring an oak forest, rewilding, and protecting biodiversity



A natural oak forest consists of many trees. We will plant 60% oak trees and a mix of other tree species, based on the types of soil in each particular area:


  • OAK (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea)
  • BIRCH (Betula pubescens)
  • ALDER (Alnus glutinosa)
  • HAWTHORN (Crataegus monogyna)
  • HOLLY (Ilex aquifolium)
  • ROWAN (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • HAZEL (Corylus avellana)

We envision Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary to
become Ireland’s flagship project
in rewilding and protection of biodiversity.


Receive updates on the project