Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, is calling on members of the public to get to know the “natura in your neighbourhood” during National Biodiversity Week.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is supporting this call by showcasing some of the protected areas that make up Ireland’s Natura 2000 network.


Throughout the week NPWS staff will host guided walks, dawn chorus events such as ‘bird and breakfast’, and talks from conservation rangers who protect nature and wildlife on a daily basis. Community bioblitzes will also bring ecologists, wildlife enthusiasts and citizen scientists together to carry out wildlife surveys over the course of one day.

Minister Noonan said: “Most of us live near a Natura 2000 site, so this week I’m encouraging everyone to learn about the precious places for nature in their neighbourhood and get outdoors and enjoy them. Ireland’s precious natural heritage can be found in cities, towns and villages, as well as farms, forests and coasts, and of course in National Parks and Nature Reserves.

"Many Natura sites are in public ownership and are easily accessible, while others are privately owned and require permission to access. The NPWS is hosting events across the country that anyone can take part in. It’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in the natural world and celebrate the wonderful diversity of life on our doorsteps.”

Natura 2000 day

Natura 2000 day, Tuesday 21 May, seeks to highlight Europe’s most precious places for nature. These are sites that have been designated for species or habitats that are important at a European level under either the Habitats Directive, which are known as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), or the Birds Directive, which are known as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), of which there are over 600 in Ireland. According to the European Commission, 65% of people in Europe live 5km from one of the region’s 27,000 Natura 2000 sites.

National Biodiversity Action Plan

National Biodiversity Week follows the launch earlier this year of Ireland’s fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan (2023-2030). The plan sets the national biodiversity agenda for the period 2023-2030 and aims to deliver transformative change to the ways in which we value and protect nature. While the majority of actions within the plan are assigned to public bodies, the National Biodiversity Action Plan is a whole of society initiative.

International Biodiversity Day

Other important dates during National Biodiversity Week include International Biodiversity Day on Wednesday 22 May. The theme of the day this year is ‘Be Part of the Plan’. European Day of Parks takes place on 23 May and celebrates the creation of national parks around Europe.