Quarter Block Party Feb 2017
The wonderful team at Quarter Block Party allowed me to host 3 days of tours in Cork's historic quarter. Wildlife in the Walls was combined with a new tour - snazzily entitled 'Nature & History Tour' which looked deeply at the social, religious and political changes to Cork's physical landscape, and the responses made by the city's Wildlife.
Developed as part of Cork City's Urban October 2016, the Wildlife in the Walls tours of Cork City reveal the many opportunities for wildlife to thrive unseen. Wildlife in the Walls and a new tour, The Nature & History Tour, was hosted again in this year's Quarter Block Party 3, 4 & 5 February (http://quarterblockparty.com/)
As the city has developed since early reclamation of marsh land in the 1200s, the natural space available to support wildlife has dwindled. In the modern city, what survives does so through utilising the man-made structures as perches from which to spot prey and predators, in which to find refuge, on which to grow. The limestone mortar and blocks which construct our walls, much of which was quarried from just beyond the city to form the original walls, provide the calcareous nutrients required for many shell-forming species from snails to birds.
The development of the Lee in the city from a network of streams amid marshy soil to its current guise has excluded some life, yet enhanced others. Pigeons, swifts and bats utilise the stone-work of the quays and bridges. Swifts, being migratory, rely on long-standing, solid spaces within which to roost and raise young. Many Cork's quay walls and bridges have stood in their current state for between 200 and 300 years, thereby offering constant, reliable roosting structures for swifts to find on their arrival from Africa each summer.
This tour brings together the aspects of ecology and Cork City's historical development to illustrate how wildlife persists, often obscurely, in our midst.
Booking can be done via Bernadette Connolly of Cork Environmental Forum: Bernadette@cef.ie
Future tours to be announced in the New Year. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details