A fabulous conference in October 2016 proved that the Ring of Gullion is “Nut” just about red squirrels by attracting over a hundred delegates from Ireland, England Scotland and France to run rings around the Ring’s Pine martens.
The 2nd All Ireland Pine marten conference was held in Tí Chulainn conference centre in Mullaghbane. As well as highly authoritative talks on diverse subjects ranging from Pine marten DNA to citizen science surveys, delegates were treated a virtual tour of South Armagh’s heritage with local historian Una Walsh and a real tour of the lovely Slieve Gullion forest park.
The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership and AONB team bought together a huge array of supporters and funders to enable them to bring this high profile conference to south Armagh. . The principal conference partners were the Vincent Wildlife Trust who jointly organised the event with the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership which is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s programme to conserve and enhance some of the region’s most treasured landscapes.
Newry Mourne and Down District council made a significant contribution along with funding from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s 2016 Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding scheme that helped bring the conference to life with music and art.
Music featured strongly with traditional Irish music and dance from the Traditional Arts Partnership and a lively session with members of the local band Bóthan. Arts and crafts were also on the agenda with a gorgeous display of work made by children at the recent Red Squirrel celebration event in partnership with ROGHA (the Ring of Gullion Handcrafts and Arts). ROGHA also showcased some of their professional work in their Gallery at Tí Chulainn. The conference finished on a high note with a chance to dip into the new discipline of Geomythography at an evening talk from Stuart McHardy which covered everything from oral tradition and storytelling to archaeology and landscape study.
This weekend showcased all that is great about south Armagh – the wildlife, the culture, the people and the landscape. Attendees and the local community got to enjoy the entrainment on Friday night which provided the attendees with a warm south Armagh welcome to the area.
Well done to all the members of the Ring of Gullion and Cooley Red Squirrel Group for their work in protecting the population of Red Squirrel in the area and their work in investigating the relationship between the Red and Grey Squirrel and the Pine Marten.”
It is through this work, that the area was able to host this important conference. The Ring of Gullion team would like to give a massive thanks to Dave Tosh and the Vincent Wildlife Trust for helping to organise the conference and choosing the Ti Chulainn Centre and south Armagh for the venue.
There was also a competition run in St Mary’s Primary School for the pupils to come up with the best picture, art work, poem, or story about the Pine marten. The efforts were showcased for the attendees of the event.