Sustainability & Biodiversity

We strive to improve sustainability and nurture the remarkable biodiversity of the natural environment that surrounds Johnstown Castle.

Our gorgeous heritage gardens and the ornamental lakes on the Johnstown Castle Estate are already home to every single species of Irish mammals, from bats and red squirrels to otters and pine martens. Our Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens team is actively involved in monitoring and research throughout the year to help support some of Ireland’s most endangered species.

So, while you enjoy the peace and tranquillity of our gardens and lakeside walks, rest assured that our dynamic gardening team is working tirelessly to protect and enhance the rich variety of flora and fauna that flourish across the estate.

Over 50 enthusiastic and green-fingered volunteers from the local area spend time on the Johnstown Castle Estate each week helping Head Gardener Ciarán Fitzgerald with his ambitious plans.

The plans are to revive Johnstown Castle’s beautiful outdoor spaces, care for our heritage plant collections, restore fascinating architectural details, and pursue innovative projects that will benefit new species, as well as our local community and visitors from further afield!

Biodiversity in our hay meadow

Supporting Ireland’s Bats

One of the largest colonies of Soprano Pipistrelle bats in Ireland has its home in the tower near the Irish Agricultural Museum building. The tower serves as a nursery roost each Spring for a population of over 700 bats.

Why not join one of our Summer sunset bat walks, to see Daubenton’s bats skimming the waters of the Johnstown Castle Estate’s lakes?

Evening Bat Walks
Beekeeping in our Apiary

Sustaining Black Bee Populations

Our native Black Bee hive which started off in the battlements is the only native population left in Western Europe! We are working on a study with NUI Galway which may see the Johnstown Castle Estate’s bees helping to re-populate other countries.

Johnstown Castle has been declared a conservation area for the native Irish black bee which is thriving in wild colonies on the Estate. The scheme is administered by NIHBS (the Native Irish Honey Bee Society) and will ensure that no other non-native strains of honeybee can be introduced to the Estate.

Our Glasshouse Revival

We’re thrilled to have begun restoring Johnstown Castle Estate’s glasshouses, which are set to become the hub for lots of planting, propagation, and education initiatives that will support sustainability at a local level and grow environmental awareness for our visitors.

Our Sustainable Vision

The Irish Heritage Trust cares for and manages Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens on a non-profit basis, and it aims to make them sustainable in financial, environmental and social terms. The Trust strives to:
  • Achieve financial stability and independence for our properties, so they can remain open and cared for.
  • Improve the natural resilience and diversity of our gardens, woodlands, and estates.
  • Contribute to social cohesion and wellbeing through education, our volunteering programme, and community outreach.
  • Generate economic and cultural benefits at local and national levels.

Steps Towards Sustainability

Sustainable thinking is at the heart of all the decisions we make, and you can see its influence in all kinds of actions across Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens.

Embracing the circular economy

Our on-site woodchipper enables us to re-use the precious resources found within the estate as we care for its gardens and woodlands in a sustainable manner.

Taking climate action

We employ permaculture and organic techniques in our formal gardens resulting in fewer inputs and less carbon, minimising our environmental impact.

Promoting local wellbeing

The vast and accessible green space at Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens is an important amenity for the local community. It is used as a place to meet family and friends, take a walk, and connect with nature, all of which are essential for our health and wellbeing.

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