Bat boxes to help protect Ireland's most misunderstood mammal


Steps are being taken in County Clare to help protect Ireland’s most misunderstood mammal.

The Clare Bat Box Project 2008, which recently received €3k funding from the Heritage Council, aims to erect 20 specially ordered bat boxes at five locations throughout the county. It is hoped that the boxes will provide valuable homes for Clare’s many bat species and encourage local communities to learn, watch and protect their resident bat populations.

Brigid Barry, Clare Biodiversity Officer, said - “Many people are surprised when they hear that bats do not always live in caves. Some bats spend winter months in caves, but most bats spend summers in trees, under bridges or in old buildings, where they give birth and rear young. Bat boxes act as nurseries for these protected species.”

Nine of the ten species of bats in Ireland are found breeding in Clare - underpinning the county’s status as one of Europe’s most important bat population centres. The Daubenton's bats, for example, are endangered in parts of Europe and are ‘endangered’ in the Irish Red Data Book, but are still considered relatively common in Clare. Clare also has internationally important populations of Lesser Horseshoe and Leisler’s bats. The mammals are strictly protected in Ireland under the Wildlife Act (1976) and the EU Habitats Directive.

The Clare Bat Group has organised a series of public events at the bat box locations in Flagmount, Ennis, Kilrush, O’Briensbridge and Two Mile Gate/Ballycuggeran. Ms. Barry explained that one of the main objectives of the upcoming events would be to expose people to the highly complex lives of bats and help to dispel the myths that exist about them.

“To celebrate the Clare Bat Box Project 2008, the Clare Bat Group has organised a number of events throughout the summer. These include Bat Walks - where young and old get to see and hear bats in their local communities - and a children’s bat talk - where children learn about the world of bats through pictures, video and sounds.”

Event details -

  • 12th June 2008 - Bat Walk - White Sands, Flagmount (10.15pm)
  • 26th June 2008 - Bat Walk - Two Mile Gate/Ballycuggeran, Killaloe (10.15pm)
  • 10th July 2008 - Bat Walk - Vandeleur Gardens carpark, Kilrush (10.15pm)
  • 17th July 2008 - Bat Walk - riverside carpark, O’ Briensbridge (10.15pm)
  • 28th August 2008 - Childrens Bat talk and walk - Clare Museum, Ennis (Talk)/ Abbey Street Carpark, Ennis (Walk) (8pm).

For further details, email: [email protected]