May Mona Newsletter

____________ May Coill Dubh News___________

Ballinafagh Lake

A working group to consider bog and lake development was established in February 1999.The group would hope to call on other interested individuals and local groups such as fishermen, former Bord Na Mona workers and any others with an interest in conserving and developing areas such as Garavogue bog and Ballinafagh Lake for information, suggestions and assistance.

We have been in touch with Dick Warner, the well-known environmentalist, who is a local resident. He has made a number of useful and helpful comments to the group. He has carried out his own observations on the lake area and has pointed out to us that Ballinafagh Lake is an over-wintering site for whooper swans (a visitor from Scandinavia) as well as being visited by many commoner species of wildfowl and waders. Dick Warner has also told us that the Ballinafagh area contains many rare plants and an unusual variety of botanical biotypes in a small area which makes it very suitable for field trips by amateurs or students of botany.

We feel that the heritage status of the area has to be highlighted as the bird population has suffered a decline in recent years. We consider that the areas we have under consideration have considerable potential for sustainable and benign development for walking, angling, bird-watching and botanical field trips. We feel that by putting an emphasis on the conservation aspect of our work we can help to protect and enhance the environment for the flora and fauna in the lake area as this will help to discourage those who might abuse the heritage status of the area.

Initially the group intends to focus on the Ballinafagh Lake area. The car park area at the lake needs to be tidied up as it has become somewhat overgrown and there is a slight litter problem at the site. It is hoped that if the lake was made more accessible to walkers and those interested in the flora and fauna of the area it would discourage casual dumping. Access to the lake itself is difficult as a bank and marshy ground lie between the car park and the lake. We plan to open up a walk around the lake. This will require some on going clearing of briars, bracken, etc. which are currently blocking the path. The group intends meeting at the lake every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. to carry out this clearance work and we invite anyone with a little time to spare to come and help.

In the long term we hope to replace the boardwalks and bridges in place on certain parts of the path. We also intend to erect signs at points around the lake detailing the flora and fauna which can be observed at these various locations. We would also intend to put life belts in place at strategic points around the lake. We would also hope to construct bird watching hides around the lake so that visitors can observe the birds on the lake. Ballinafagh Lake is a little gem in our midst. It is a little oasis of peace and tranquillity which soothes the spirit with its pleasant combination of water, woodlands and wildlife. With a little effort we can make it accessible so that many more people in our neighbourhood can come and enjoy it. Please give us a hand if you have an hour to spare on a Wednesday evening.

The group feels that this amenity is woefully neglected. We hope to involve Kildare County Council, Duchas the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the local communities of the Tir Na Mona area and Prosperous to improve the Ballinafagh Lake area for the benefit of both man and beast.

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