World Wetlands Day 2002: Ireland


World Wetlands Day in Ireland

World Wetlands Day 02.02.02
Ramsar World Wetlands Convention
Coastwatch Europe - Ireland

Report on the World Wetlands Day, Ireland

World Wetlands Day 2002 was celebrated in Ireland for the first time ever since our Government signed the convention in 1971 and entered its convention into force on 15th March 1985. It was also the first time for Tobias Salathé, Ramsar's European Coordinator, to visit Ireland officially. But that wasn't the only exciting thing that happened. Dublin experienced the worst storms with very high spring tides and extremely strong winds since the 1920s. Settlements in Irishtown, Ringsend, Sandymount and many other places along the coast were severely flooded.

The Celebration was inaugurated with an informal dinner and a following Ceili on Friday night in Monkstown, Dublin. The true World Wetland Day though began on Saturday, 02.02.02, out on Bull Island. Thanks to Pat Corrigan, the Chief Warden of the island, Coastwatch was able to welcome the participants in the Interpretive Centre. Unfortunately due to the storms electricity had broken down and only 17 participants appeared out on the Bull.

But all the same and with not less enthusiasm the group made its way to go on the trail. As it was very windy and not that many people we didn't have three separate groups but went all together. The trail led the WWD participants to the upper salt marsh where they sighted a flock of Light Bellied Brent Geese, Branta bernicula hrota, winter visitors from Bathurst Island in the Canadian Arctic. After some information on the Brent we had a look at the salt marsh and the mudflats. On the mud flat we saw tracks of the tiny invertebrate Mud Snail, Hydrobia. Karin Dubsky also informed the participants about the Lugworm, Arenicola marina, that is living dug down in his U-shaped burrow. In the meanwhile we got word that the seal had arrived and so the whole group returned to the Interpretive Centre where we were got a brief overview of Ireland's Seal Sanctuary. A little while later we all met on the sandy beach to see the Grey Seal, Halichoerus grypus, being released back home to the sea.

Then we all went to the next stop, the Natural History Museum where the second part of the trail was to be held. Damien Walshe, the Museum's education officer all welcomed us in this old Victorian building just beside the Governmental buildings on Merrion Street. Now the participants were asked to test the wetland trail and to give some feedback to Brendan and Karin. After all had a stroll around the Museum we headed on the National Museum on Kildare Street where the Natural History Museum hosted a light lunch.

In the afternoon we had a seminar and panel discussion organised to discuss the protection, uses and abuses of wetlands. Different specialists came together to give a greater picture of the topic. Coastwatch had Jim Ryan, Dúchas, Dr Paul Johnson, TCD, Frank McManus, Birdwatch Ireland, Mary Caroll, IFA, Laurance Gill, TCD, and Tobias Salathé, Ramsar. The panel discussion was moderated by Michael Gunn, Coastwatch. The discussion gave the participants a greater overview on wetlands, from the Heritage Service's function to the IFA's role, from wetland construction to risk management in wetlands.

During the WWD, participants learnt more about wetlands, their functions, as archives for Irish history and remains of its heritage, the threats to them. Coastwatch was delighted to have set up this celebration, to have Tobias Salathé with us and all the other speakers. I believe even though not as many people appeared as expected the day was a success. Coastwatch will now try and follow up a bit of a wetland campaign, taking the newly gained energy from the WWD to highlight Ireland's wetlands situation and make it a more public issue.

Where to get further information:
- Pat Corrigan, Chief Warden, Bull Island Interpretive Centre
+353 (0)1 833 8341
Open Daily 10am to 4.30pm

- Damien Walshe, Educational Officer, Natural History Museum
+353 (0)1 677 7444,

- The Ramsar Convention Bureau
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)22 999 0170, Fax +41 (0)22 999 0169, E-mail, Web

- Karin Dubsky, Brendan Logue, Coastwatch Europe - Ireland
Dept. of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Trinity College Dublin
Tel. +353 (0)1 677 3428, +353 (0)55 25843; Fax +353 (0)55 25842
E-mail,, Web

For even more information go to the following websites:
- (Report on our WWD 02)
- (Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Northern Ireland)

Thank you all very much for coming!

With friendly greetings
Brendan Logue
Coastwatch Europe - Ireland

Name E-mail / Telephone Organisation
Tobias Salathé Ramsar Convention

Pat Corrigan Bull Island, Interpretive Centre

Damien Walshe Natural History Museum

Karin Dubsky Coastwatch Europe

Brendan J. Logue Coastwatch Europe

Jérôme Lobet Coastwatch Europe

Jim Ryan 01 647 2395 Dúchas

Frank McManus 01 843 6367 Birdwatch Ireland (Fingal)

Dr Paul Johnson Civil Eng., TCD

Laurence Gill Civil Eng., TCD

Michael Gunn 041 982 7476 Coastwatch

Frank O'Reilly 041 982 7871 Coastwatch

Michael Bloom 098 36244 Coastwatch

Jeanette Bloom 098 36244 Coastwatch

Lorna Kelly Coastwatch

Ann Fitzpatrick Dúchas

Cormac McDonnell

Bronagh Byrne Student, TCD

Don Byrne

Mary Lou Lauria Komex

Leonie Dransfeld Marine Institue

Robert Bracken Komex

Moira Byrne Wicklow Co. Council

Jay Hester 043 21907 Lough Ree

Sophie Walsh Soton University

Linda O'Dwyer
Rosaleen Miller

Billy Flynn NEEC

M. Willis

John Malone 01 843 5106
Birdwatch Ireland (Fingal)
R. Sullivan 01 843 5106 Birdwatch Ireland (Fingal)

Richard Collins 01 845 3414, rco@… RTE, Mooney Goes Wild

Patricia McKenna TD


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