Men’s Sheds back in the trenches to fight rhododendron
MEMBERS of 23 Men’s Sheds from across the island were in Killarney National Park this week to tackle its continuing rhododendron problem.
For the second year in succession, Haven Pharmacy and the Irish Men’s Sheds Association teamed up to combat the scourge of rhododendron ponticum. In collaboration with the NPWS and Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, 50 Men’s Sheds members from 19 counties reported for duty in Killarney National Park from Sunday to Tuesday.
Under the guidance of the NPWS, volunteers employed the environmentally approved ‘snip and spray’ method to help curb rhododendron growth. Last year, men’s sheds volunteers cleared a remarkable 60 acres of the park, and a similar figure was reached this year.
Despite its attractive purple flowers, rhododendron ponticum poses a serious danger to habitats, starving native species of light and obstructing pedestrians.
“The lads in the sheds were champing at the bit to get back to Killarney and get stuck into the rhododendron clearance and this year we had members from Tyrone to Cork and everywhere in-between travelling to lend a hand,” said Barry Sheridan, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association,
“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 chance for members across the country to mix with one another, and we really can’t thank Haven Pharmacy, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Killarney Chamber enough for the opportunity”, Sheridan concluded.
The rhododendron project was the brainchild of Finbarr Kennelly of Haven Pharmacies in Killarney.
Meanwhile, as a member of Killarney’s Meitheal, Cllr Michael Gleeson said he was delighted to welcome the Men’s Shed members to Killarney on behalf of Killarney Municipal District council.
“The shed people who have come from throughout Ireland committed to spending two days working hard to combat the invasive rhodo. These men are following in the steps of a group who last year came to work in the dense thickets. The fruits of their labours are clearly evident,” he said.
Jimmy Hutton, of Carlow Men’s Shed; Morrogh McMahon, Skerries Men’s Shed; Tim Cahillane, NPWS, Manager rhododendron and Johnny Maguire, Chairman, Killarney Meitheal Volunteers.