Minister Noonan launches new book showcasing Donegal’s native woodlands

Date Released: Friday, March 22, 2024

Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, has today, March 21st launched a book titled “Coillte Dúchasacha Chontae Dhún na nGall, Native Woodlands of County Donegal” at Glenveagh Visitor Centre. This book is written by written by Seán Ó Gaoithín, Foreman and Gardener at Glenveagh National Park, and describes the significance of Donegal’s native woodlands and their context in the Irish landscape.

The book aims to foster an appreciation of Donegal’s woodland biodiversity heritage, in particular the county’s old oak woodlands. The rich narrative on the history of native woodlands is augmented with a colourful selection of photographs celebrating the native woodland biodiversity of the county.  Glenveagh National Park has particularly rich woodland which is reflected in the name, Gleann Bheithe “the Glen of the Birch”. The native woodlands of the Park are a key habitat for biodiversity conservation and restoration.

This book gives fresh insights into the history of woodland cover in the county - how for example, so much of the land was cleared of woodland to make way for agriculture and how, in recent decades the conservation of our native woodland habitats has become an important priority.

Profiles of the common native trees of Donegal are included along with descriptions of some very rare native tree species such as the Rock Whitebeam and Bird Cherry. Twenty-eight woodland locations are featured, with an emphasis on woodlands that are accessible to the public – such as Glenveagh National Park with the Ancient Woodland of Mullangore. County Donegal has several other native woodlands of outstanding quality found in NPWS managed Nature Reserves at Ardnamona, Rathmullan, Ballyarr and Duntally.

The production of the book was supported by the ‘Local Biodiversity Action Fund’ of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, in association with the Heritage Office of Donegal County Council.

Speaking at the launch of the book, Minister Noonan said:

“I would like to congratulate author Sean O’Gaoithin on this wonderful book, which draws our attention to the rich woodland heritage here in Donegal, its history and its future. There has never been more focus on the value of what remains of Ireland’s native woodlands, or more attention on the urgent need to restore them. This is something that Sean is leading on through his work in Glenveagh National Park and I have no doubt that, with this wonderful publication, he will inspire even more people to take an interest in these unique habitats and encourage them to experience the woodlands themselves. This book makes an important contribution to biodiversity awareness and is an educational guide to the unique value of our native woodlands”.


Minister Noonan with Seán Ó Gaoithín

Joe Gallagher Heritage Officer, Donegal County Council, Malcom Noonan T.D. Minister of State for Nature, Heritage & Electoral Reform, Seán Ó Gaoithín, Head Gardener  Glenveagh National Park

Susan Callaghan, Divisional Manager with National Parks and Wildlife Service said:

“I am delighted that we are celebrating the stunning woodlands of Donegal today in Glenveagh National Park.  Sean O’Gaoithin has written an inspiring and important book that illustrates the importance of native woodlands in our cultural and natural heritage.  NPWS are actively carrying out a number of woodland management projects both in Glenveagh National Park and Ardnamona Woods Nature Reserve and we hope that these projects will be integral steps in the restoration and conservation of our woodland heritage.”


The Glenveagh Team

Malcom Noonan T.D. Minister of State for Nature, Heritage & Electoral Reform with management and staff of National Parks & Wildlife Service Northern Division and Glenveagh National Park