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Dublin: 15°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

Men's Sheds volunteers descend on Killarney National Park to fight invading rhododendrons

Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae previously called for the army to be sent in to deal with the invasive plant.

mens-1 Source: Irish Men's Sheds Association

VOLUNTEERS FROM MEN’S Sheds around Ireland have descended on Killarney National Park to help tackle the rampant rhododendron problem.

Rhododendron ponticum was introduced to Ireland as a form of hunting cover in the late 19th century. It thrives in the temperate, humid climate and poses a significant threat to Irish woodlands by starving native flora of light and food and preventing regrowth.

It has taken firmly taken root in the national park and efforts to manage it have been ongoing for more than 30 years.

mens-5 Source: Irish Men's Sheds Association

Last year Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said the rhododendron problem in the park was so bad that the army should be sent in to root out the invasive species.

Addressing Minister Michael Ring in the Dáil he said:

The rhododendrons are taking over completely, despite efforts to cut them… The rhododendron situation has gotten so bad in Killarney National Park, minister, that nothing short of calling in the army would put it right.

In response the minister said that €700,000 had been invested in combating rhododendrons in recent years.

For the second year in a row Men’s Sheds members from 23 sheds across Ireland have travelled to Kerry to help combat the pernicious plant. 

The 45 volunteers were trained to use the environmentally approved “snip and spray” by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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Last year they cleared 60 acres of the park, and a similar target has been set for this year’s efforts.

“The lads in the sheds have been champing at the bit to get back to Killarney and get stuck into the rhododendron clearance. Last year’s event was one of the most enjoyable men’s sheds projects I can remember,” Barry Sheridan, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, said.

mens-2 Source: Irish Men's Sheds Association

“This year, we’ve members from Tyrone to Cork and everywhere in-between travelling to lend a hand”.

The park is a national treasure, and this project just shows what men’s sheds are about; putting your skills and experience at the disposal of the community. It’s also going to be a tremendous social occasion, a great chance for members from across the country to mix with one another.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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