Gardens Birr Castle Ireland
Post Primary Biodiversity, Birr Castle

Wild Connections - Biodiversity

Wild Connections Wellness Walks

Wild Connections for Wellness recognizes the potent healing potential immersing oneself in nature can have. The effects of nature on mental and physical health are interconnected and is woven into our very being.

As people spend more time on computers and phones, we find it is imperative for visitors of the Demesne to reconnect and become as one with nature. To truly achieve this, we have created an area within the walls of the Demesne that encourages forest bathing (shinrin yoku), a traditional Japanese culture encouraging people to simply spend time in nature. This tranquil area has proven very popular with our visitors and we have been truly amazed as to how this practice has been adopted by the general public and spread awareness on the healing effects of nature.

We want to invite people from all walks of life to our Wellness Walks. Inclusivity is an imperative component within the walls of Birr Castle Demesne and we want to ensure that members of the community, that may not normally be involved in nature-based events, get this opportunity and get as much benefit from it as possible.

Suitable for groups of 20 per walk, each walk lasting 60 minutes

Pre-booking is essential

€8 per student


STE(A)M dates & weeks - September-December 2022 & Wild Connections


Junior Cycle & Transition Year
Recommended workshop readings will be sent once the class booking is confirmed along with workshop impact evaluation and where possible, post workshop projects.

To enquire about STE(A)M week workshops or to make a booking, please email


October 3rd - World Habitat Day!

We are excited to welcome Dr. Alex Copeland to Birr Castle Demesne to host his workshop: Biodiversity at Birr Castle Demesne.

Within Birr Castle Demesne, there is a vast array of habitats that are home to a diverse range of species, comprised of river, woodland, lake and grassland habitats.
During this workshop, we will visit these various habitats around the Demesne, talk about the unique characteristics of each habitat.

2 workshops:
Workshop 1: 10.00-11.00
Workshop 2: 11.30-12.30
€10 per student (partly funded by SFI)

Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear for this workshop

For more information about Dr. Alex Copeland, click here


Space Week

4th-10th October

Telescope best photo

October 4th & 5th - Earth Observations 'Look Down to Look Up'

Meet space reporter, influencer, writer & communicator Dr. Niamh Shaw as she provides an interactive workshop for secondary schools about the fleet of satellites observing our planet, how they impact our life and why Earth Observation can help us take better care of our beautiful planet.
For more information about Dr. Niamh Shaw, click here

Each workshop is suitable for a class of 25-32 students. Minimum charged per private workshop will be for 25 students. Prebooking and full payment in advance of the workshop.

Workshop 1: 10.00-11.00
Workshop 2: 11.30-12.30
Class Size: 30 Junior Cycle & Transition Year
Fee per student: €10 (partly funded by SFI)

October 6th & 7th - Climate Changed

Climate change events have occurred several times in Earth’s history, however the current emergency is the first caused directly as a result of human activity. From meteorites to the Industrial Revolution, the reason behind each mass extinction on earth is complex & far ranging.
Space research is now helping climate scientists to mitigate against climate change. Organisations such as NASA & the ESA have over 150 satellites in orbit around the planet examining oceans, land, ice, atmosphere & biosphere.
This interactive workshop will look at Earth’s previous mass extinctions, the reasons behind them, what the current biodiversity crisis means for our future, and how space research is helping us understand our climate, help fight forest fires and monitor our global air quality.

Workshop 1: 10.00-11.00
Workshop 2: 11.30-12.30
Class Size: 30 students
Fee per student: €8 (partly funded by SFI) 


Maths Week

17th-21st October

8c Winter Tree

Facilitator: Catherine McGuinness

If we told you that maths is happening everywhere you looked, would you believe it?

Scientists have been able to create equations that show us how leaves on a plant love their own personal space and will grow with a certain distance between the neighbouring leaves. This is called Fibonacci. When growing off the branch, Fibonacci can be viewed in their stems as well as their veins. The more they grow outward, the higher the Fibonacci sequence is visible. We also see this in pinecones, seed heads on flowers and in petal patterns.
Dendrochronology is the scientific process of dating a tree. In temperate climates like ours, many trees grow one ring around the trunk of their tree. If the tree is cut horizontally across the trunk, these rings are clearly visible and can be counted to estimate the age of the tree. Good growing and moisture conditions within the year can result in a wider ring while a drought can result in a narrower ring – showing us the rate of growth corresponding with growing conditions that year. Fascinating, isn’t it?

For Maths Week 2022, we want to inspire you in the realm of nature and mathematics through fun activities that will open your eyes to the amazing intelligence of Mother Nature.

Measuring the age of a tree through measuring the circumference of the trunk – fun activity for children.
Workshops twice daily from Monday-Friday. Pre-booking is required with a maximum of 30 per workshop.
Self-guided option can be added on pre or post your workshop.

Limited workshops, pre-booking is required
Workshop 1: 10.00-11.00 each day
Workshop 2: 11.30-12.30 each day 
Fee per student: €10 (partly funded by SFI)


Science Week

15th-18th November


Wild Connections, Aquatic Invertebrate/Pond Dipping Ecology Workshop

Facilitator: Catherine McGuinness

This workshop is suitable for Secondary School students from 1st Year to Transition Year and focuses on the ecology habitat study aspect of the Junior & Senior Cycles.

Ecology is an important subject within the Junior & Senior Cycles, covering not just habitats but environmental awareness and conservation. A hands-on engaging workshop of the aquatic invertebrates and their food webs within the depths of the lake habitat located within the Demesne.

Students will collect, identify and describe species from the lake and compile a detailed fieldwork report when onsite. Food chains and food webs will be pieced together, and the workshop will finish with a discussion on why aquatic invertebrates are a key component in recording Irish water quality and habitat health.

With the aid of a telescopic net, trays, magnifying specimen pots and an identification key. Students will record what they find and will have an opportunity to bring a sample of water back to our lakeside classroom. From this, the workshop facilitator will help them identify the micro-fauna with a microscope. An electronic field workbook will be provided before the visit and teachers are asked to ensure that students bring copies with them. A separate electronic teacher’s notebook will also be provided before the visit.

Maximum 30 Students per Workshop
Pre/Post Self-Guided Tours of the Demesne Included in Fee.
Fee per student: €10 (partly funded by SFI)