“Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay are of themselves beautiful living remnants of our ancient past. Today they may be reduced in size and confined to very small, fragile, and precious remnants, but they are no less precious for that, in fact they are more so because of it. We are blessed to have and to be the caretakers of, for the present and for future generations, these beautiful places we and the many species in them call home.
Within Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay are not only gems of our natural history but our cultural history too. These ‘gems’ are alive and well for us to cherish and nurture. Many of us who waltz through the woodland or along the bay while on our walks aren’t aware, (as of yet at least), of some of these gems as we walk by them.
Many of us don’t know, for example, that within Barna Woods among the myriad wildflowers, birds, and mammals, grow some of the oldest oak trees in all of the west of Ireland. These giant venerable oak trees, so revered by our ancestors, still stand tall and proud in Barna Woods. And in their gentle shadow lies Saint Enda’s Well, a monument of our cultural heritage that dates back to the 5th/6th century, which is still used for prayer and contemplation by many of us to this day.
Amidst our daily routines driving by, or on our weekend walks having a gossip with friends, all too many of us pass by without noticing as hundreds of species of trees, flowers, birds, mammals, fungi, and fishes, live out their lives in the woodland and bay. They live out their lives right under our very eyes, and on our watch now, in this ancient place. The cultural heritage of Saint Enda’s Well, (and more archaeological sites within Barna Woodland and Rusheen Bay), have also been passed down to our care and protection now. The oldest of those ancient oaks, the tiniest of fragile wildflowers, the cunning fox, and the majestic herons above the still waters of the bay, they are all under our care now.
We have been blessed to inherit these natural and cultural treasures of Barna Woods and Rusheen Bay. May we now protect them wisely so we too may pass them down to future generations: intact, protected, healthy, and thriving.” Ryan Crowell
Habitats: Woodland, Seashore, River, Grassland
Flora(sample): Oak, Ash, Alder, Ash, Wild Garlic, Bluebell
Fauna(sample): Grey Heron, Red Squirrel, Badger, Fox, Otter.
St. Enda’s Well
Car Park / Bus Park