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Wild Loop Head’s Nature Weekend 2022 will take place on June 18 and 19 and draws on a number of diverse attractions on the peninsula.

Go Wild on Loop Head this weekend!

THE natural beauty of Loop Head and its rich biodiversity will be showcased this weekend through a wide range of activities.

Wild Loop Head’s Nature Weekend 2022 will take place on June 18 and 19 and draws on a number of diverse attractions on the peninsula.

It is supported by the efforts of Loop Head Peninsula Together, Purecamping, Carsten Krieger Photographer and Author and sponsored by Wild Atlantic Hemp and Hemp4Soil.

On June 18, the day will begin at 10am with a walk and talk hosted by Cormac McGinley of Cormac’s Coast, observing the Loop Head bird colonies such as fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and choughs. Tickets are €25.

McGinley has degrees in zoology and marine biology, and is an expert on all coastal wildlife, running tours and talks around the Cliffs of Moher all year round.

This will be followed by a talk by Mary Kate Bolger of Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt at 2pm at Halla Eoin Kilbaha, while Kilkee Sub-Aqua Club is hosting a tour of the Pollock Holes at a time yet to be decided, with donations welcome.

Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt was founded by Geoff and Susanne Magee in 1992, and was taken over by Mary Kate Bolger this year – Mary Kate has degrees in zoology and biology, having studied bottlenose dolphins in Spain and Australia and has been working for Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt since 2016.

Carmen’s Riding School joins the event from 4pm to 6pm with a pony trek taking participants on a discovery tour of Loop Head’s hedgerows, their plants and animals. Tickets are €25 for children and €40 for adults.

The riding school was established in 2011 by Carmen Maguire, who has been working with horses since her early teens and is also a trained social worker specialised in children and teenagers with special needs and behavioural difficulties.

Also at 4pm, Sonas Studios will be running a workshop showing how to achieve good quality nature art with printing methods using transfer dyes and local grasses – entry is €15 to cover the cost of materials.

Leading the workshop is Kim Thittichai, an artist and tutor based in the north-western corner of the peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, her work heavily influenced by the local wildlife and scenery.

Sunday June 19 will kick off with free whale watching on Loop Head with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and Purecamping’s Trea Heapes; those interested are asked to meet at the Loop Head parking area at 10am.

The IWDG is one of Ireland’s major conservation organisations with a focus on maritime habitats, offering lectures and courses in addition to their public whale watching events.

Entomologist Nick Larter will lead a free talk called “Insects of Loop Head’s Sod Hedges” at 1pm, beginning at Halla Eoin Kilbaha, while Laura J Foley of Wild Atlantic Hemp will follow it up at 3pm with a talk on the Hemp4Soil Project.

Based in Ennis, Nick is university-trained in his field, having studied the insect fauna associated with Loop Head’s sod hedges since 2015; his lecture aims to reflect on the importance of this habitat and summarise some of his most exciting findings to date.

Laura J Foley, who will be talking after Nick, is a hemp farmer who has been running Wild Atlantic Hemp together with her husband Daniel since 2018; the Hemp4Soil Project, which explores the impact of hemp and biochar on soil health, was launched in 2021 and will enter its practical phase this year.

At 4pm, Sonas Studios will host a second Nature Art workshop, and Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt will host a boat trip on the Shannon Estuary to see the Shannon dolphins and other wildlife for €35 for adults and €20 for children.

The time for the boat trip is yet to be decided.

To finish the weekend, participants are invited to explore and discover the plants and animals of the Purecamping Woodland at the Biodiversity Blitz, venturing into the young ash woodland and adjoining wildflower meadows.

Purecamping is run by Trea and Kevin Heapes, offering accommodation and yoga retreats on the peninsula while also home to a small-scale rewilding project which features the very habitats available to explore this weekend.

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