The first Inishbofin Corncrake Festival takes place at The Dolphin Hotel this May Bank Holiday 3rd-5th May 2019.
This exciting new festival, the first of its kind in Ireland, aims to allow visitors to hear and see this iconic bird, while raising awareness of the plight of this endangered species.
The call of the corncrake was once a familiar sound in rural Ireland. Intensification of farming practices caused numbers to plummet during the 1980s and the 1990s. Birds are now only found in more remote areas of Donegal, Mayo and Connemara and offshore islands where early mowing for silage is rare.
In 2018 Birdwatch Ireland estimated only 151 breeding pairs remained in Ireland.
Conversely, on Inishbofin in Co. Galway, numbers have steadily increased, with 18 calling males reported in 2018. So this tiny island is now home to over 10% of the country’s breeding population. This elusive bird has become synonymous with Inishbofin.
The weekend will include early morning and afternoon walks to corncrake habitats, led by well known birder, photographer and author Anthony McGeehan. Anthony will be exhibiting some of his stunning bird photographs at the Dolphin Hotel over the weekend. There will be after dinner talks and midnight walks to hear the nostalgic crex crex call.
Conservationist Feargal O̒Cuinneagáin will describe the fantastic work he has done on his land on the mullet peninsula to create a corncrake habitat .
As well as corncrakes, Inishbofin attracts breeding birds such as wheatear, skylark, chough, lapwing and ringed plover.