Bikes & Biodiversity Events 2024 – Report

For the first time in our history, Irish Cycling Campaign formally took part in National Biodiversity Week. The week itself is organised by the Irish Environmental Network (IEN), with their funding for it coming from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

We received a lovely positive response from our Local Groups when we contacted everyone back in February about the idea of running biodiversity themed cycles. The bicycle is a gentle way by which we can explore nature – and the near silence of cycling means we can hear the birdsong and sounds of the sea while on the move, which is quite unlike the experience of motoring. 

In this article, we have reports from nine of our Local Groups who ran a total of eleven events (with further details on one of the events to be added). A sincere thanks to all of our volunteers who helped to organise everything and who sent the reports below afterwards. Much appreciated! 

And a sincere thanks also to the Irish Environmental Network for their support in running these biodiversity themed cycling events. It’s great to be a part of the IEN network. 

Clonakilty Bicycle Festival

Clonakilty Bicycle Festival ran three events as part of National Biodiversity week. We had a lovely turnout with lots of new faces and lots of sunshine. Photos below taken by Allison Roberts.  

On Saturday 17th June a sunset cycle of the estuary was co hosted by Birdwatch Ireland – we saw a baby heron in its nest, heard chif-chaffs, curlews, whimbrels, a cormorant, teal ducks, baby ducks and more. 

  • 25 people attended
  • Attendance met our expectations, and was especially great to have a user for our ‘Cycle without age’ trishaw attend
  • Always a very popular event and great way to show off the beautiful biodiversity of our estuary 

On Sunday 18th we had a morning lap of the town on bikes and arrived at Bennett’s Field Biodiversity Garden where Justin Grounds hosted a special biodiversity themed session of his weekly ‘Stop Look Listen’ event. He spoke about the links between human, animal and natural sounds and the evolution of music and we listened to three pieces of music: ‘Oiseaux Tristes’ by Maurice Ravel, ‘The Night the War Ends’ by David Rothenburg and ‘The Voice of the Whale’ by George Crumb.  

  • 15 people attended
  • Attendance was lower than we anticipated, but we had a great mix of new people
  • It was a lovely event, one we would like to repeat.

Later the same day we had a family river cycle out into the forest to stop and study the river Feagle. Co-hosted by local river group ‘Clochan Uisce’ (see this report about them in the West Cork People), we did kick sampling to identity critters living in the river as well as doing water testing to send in to the EU ‘drinkable rivers’ database. We also stopped at a natural reed filtration field and spoke of the important roles plants have in keeping our rivers clean.

We submitted a short article about this in the West Cork People which was published here:

  • Approx 20 people attended
  • Attendance was as expected 
  • We had a local man come that was a bit of an expert on reed beds for water filtration, so we were also able to work that in to the event and that was a great extra talk about biodiversity

Cloughjordan Cycling
Saturday 18 May 2024
Cloughjordan Bike Week / Biodiversity Week cycle to Scohaboy Bog.

Cloughjordan Cycling hosted a `Nature Cycle` – a guided looped cycle to natural heritage locations in the wider Cloughjordan area. The cycle included a visit to a small family run organic farm to learn more about their diverse agri-ecosystem. We saw a woodpecker’s home in a tree along the way!

Further details to be added here.

Cork Cycling Campaign
BikeODiversity Meets Biodiversity at Tramore Valley Park, Cork City – 26th May 2024, 11am – 1pm

The Tramore Valley Park Biodiversity cycle was a truly fascinating event. We learned how the former city landfill site (known in Cork as De Dump!) is being transformed by Cork City Council and local volunteers into a biodiversity-rich park. Huge thanks to Biodiversity Officer Rosemarie McDonald and to the volunteers at the KinShip EcoLab  for their generous insights. Thanks also to City View Wheels for providing Rosemarie with an e-bike and for acting as our canteen in the rain! 14 people attended and feedback was very positive.

Dublin Cycling Campaign
Community Garden Cycle focused on Biodiversity, Dublin, 18th of May 2024Report by Miren-Maialen 

The Community Garden Cycle focused on Biodiversity, co-organised by Dublin Community Growers (DCG) and the Dublin Cycling Campaign, was a great success.

On the southside route there were 15 participants and around 20 participants in the North Side route. We arrived at Mud Island Community Garden at around 1pm. Aaron Foley, Biodiversity Officer with DCG, gave a talk about urban biodiversity and the role of urban gardens in protecting biodiversity and how we can help by leaving compost heaps, building small ponds and planting native wildflowers.

The talk was well received and we had some sandwiches by Cloud Cafe and refreshments. Thanks to Miren-Maialen and John O’Donogue from DCG, Will, Donna, Hugh, Siobhan, Christina and all the stewards and hosts in the Community Gardens, as well as Maeve and Nathalie from Mud Island Community garden. A great event – and thanks to IEN for the support!

Link to photographs: 

Gorey Pedestrian and Cycling Association Biodiversity Ride

Gorey Pedestrian and Cycling Association (GPCA) has held its first ever “Biodiversity Bike Ride”

on Sunday 19th May from 11am-1pm which brought together 15 community members to explore and appreciate the biodiversity in Gorey town.

The bike tour was guided by Natasha Ariff, a biodiversity and landscape consultant based in North Wexford. Natasha led participants through the town, making informative stops at several key sites. Attendees learned valuable insights into how they can help protect and appreciate the local environment.

A significant highlight of the ride was a stop at the River Banogue. Natasha emphasised the critical importance of safeguarding this river, which is often mistakenly treated like a drain. Recently, fish were spotted in one area of the river, a positive sign that highlights the need for continued conservation efforts.

Overall it was a great event, was well attended, and we had positive feedback. On the back of it, two members of our cycling group will complete Community Bike Ride Leader Training (see here) in order to facilitate further similar events. 

Gorey Pedestrian and Cycling Association
Email: [email protected] 

Wexford Environmental Network
Email: [email protected]

Kerry Cycling Campaign
Nature cycle along the Tralee to Fenit Greenway
Date: Saturday, May 18th

Attendees: 15 – less than expected

Kerry Cycling Campaign ran a nature cycle along the Tralee to Fenit greenway, the group met opposite the train station and cycled approximately 4 km along the greenway to Fenit and back to Tralee. 

The event was led by local nature educators Cathy Eastman of Biodiversity Partners and Niamh Ní Dhúill of Natural Wild Gardens/Transition Kerry who highlighted the differenrt plant and animal habitats along the way. 

The event was engaging and enjoyable but attendance was less than expected.

Leitrim Cycling Festival & Leitrim Hawthorn Project

Event title: Hawthorn Cycles
Date: 18th May 2024
Time: 2pm
Attendees: Approximately 30 – exceeded expectations

As part of the 2024 Leitrim Cycling Festival in Keshcarrigan (see, the event celebrated the natural and cultural heritage of the Hawthorn tree through music, storytelling and sharing the folklore and medicinal properties of the tree and discovering its key role in supporting biodiversity. It was facilitated by Tara Boath Mooney, an artist, singer and facilitator who has helped to lead the community heritage project and its research into the Hawthorn traditions throughout Leitrim.

The hawthorn was bursting into blossom just in time for our celebration in sound and word of its magnificence. We gathered under a hawthorn tree to drink its precious infusion of heart helping tea. We listened to Tara Baoth Mooney and Gerry Bohan speak of its magic, lore and healing properties accompanied by guitars and gongs.

We then sang the hawthorn together through the hagstones and co-created and spoke our own short haikus in communion as a celebration and acknowledgement of its majesty.

It was a beautiful event. We all hope to do more next year. 

Sligo Cycling Campaign – Coastal Biodiversity Cycle to Strandhill
May 23rd, 5.30pm to 9pm

Sligo Cycling Campaign held its Coastal Biodiversity Cycle on the evening of May 23rd with a total of 10 cycling  participants. Five of these had not cycled with us before so we were very pleased to attract new attendees. Two further participants who were unable to make the cycle joined us in Strandhill. 

The cycle and subsequent exploration of the sand dunes made for a hugely enjoyable and informative event. The sunny evening coupled with a strong North West wind meant both sunglasses and woolly hats were required! We stopped en route to look across Sligo Bay towards Ben Bulben and learn about this unique marine and coastal environment, protected by EU Environmental law. Our guide, ecologist Will Woodrow, indicated the high cliff areas which are popular nesting sites for birds of prey. 

Once in Strandhill we made our way into the dunes via the Shelly Valley. Will was a fount of knowledge and a great communicator!  He explained about fixed dunes and gray dunes. He identified: speedwell, milkwort, ladies bedstraw, yellow rattle, mouse ear and spotted, bee and pyramidal orchids for us. Alas, the orchids were not yet in bloom! We walked up onto a high dune so that we had a view of Ballysodare Bay, another protected area and home to large numbers of harbour seals. From time to time Will reminded us to be silent so that we could hear the skylark and meadow pipit. 

The return cycle was as exhilarating as the outward one with thankfully a few more downhills! Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Irish Environmental Network we were able to reward ourselves with coffees and welcome pizza slices from Bianconis on our return!

Future visits to the dunes will see us so much better informed and more aware of the fragility of our coastal eco-system. 

If we were to do a Biodiversity Cycle again next year we would consider doing it on one of the weekend days during Biodiversity Week. Due to the length of the cycle (17km for the round trip, plus the distance from home to the start point) and the lack of a protected cycle route, the group was self-selecting not just in terms of interest in biodiversity but in terms of being able to cycle confidently in traffic. In retrospect, a shorter event on a weekend day might have attracted more participants. However, for those who did participate it was a hugely enriching experience and we are most grateful to the IEN for the sponsorship and the idea. There was something special about being part of a larger web of biodiversity cycling events being held around the country in the same week.


Joan Swift

WexBug (Wexford Bicycle User Group)
Biodiversity Cycle to Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

Date: Sunday, May 19th

WexBUG hosted a cycling tour from Ferrybank to Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. We had coffee and cake on Wexford quay afterwards. We had 10 attendees and the weather was great. 

We headed off from the quay and traveled down a beautiful country lane, reaching the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. The group had the opportunity to meet either a National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger or a member of the Wexford Naturalist Field Club. The guided tour of the North Slob facility gave insights into the diverse and captivating life within this Special Protection Area. 

We were prepared for more attendees (18), but did not have full take up in the end.

Cormac Mac Gearailt Chair of WexBUG & Georgina Gaul (WexBUG Committee member) 

For more on National Biodiversity Week, see 

And to take a look at some of the lovely posters that our groups prepared ahead of the cycles, see