The Central Bank of Ireland began exploring biodiversity in 2017, when it held two nature walks for staff. The first brought employees from their Headquarters on North Wall Quay out to Irishtown Nature Reserve, where they learned about the ecology of the site, and the associated folklore and foraging potential of the species of flora and fauna that were present. The second nature walk was held at Currency Centre in Dundrum, which benefits from extensive grounds. It was during this nature walk that the Central Bank of Ireland recognised for the first time the value of the grounds, including a number of mature stands of trees and what appeared to be an especially biodiverse hedgerow.
In 2018, they set out to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan that would integrate employee and community engagement with environmental actions to enhance the habitats they have on site, in order to support biodiversity conservation and contribute to their achievement of the Business Working Responsibly Mark. To date, they have completed Phase 1 of the project. This involved undertaking an ecological survey of both the North Wall Quay and Currency Centre sites to record the species present. The survey was primarily botanical, focusing on herbs, trees and shrubs, but it also recorded incidental observations of birds and mammals. While most of the species at our city centre Headquarters at North Wall Quay were ornamental and non-native, some such as harts-tongue fern and bush vetch did have biodiversity value. A plan is currently being prepared to enhance the biodiversity value of the planting schemes there.
Currency Centre, however, revealed some interesting findings, most notably in an old, long, double-ditch hedgerow that features on some of Ireland’s oldest maps. It features mature native trees, including ash, scots pine, bird cherry, crack willow, holly, elder, blackthorn and whitethorn, as well as a rich understorey containing bramble, dog rose, meadowsweet, willowherb and water mint. These species support a biodiverse community of flora and fauna, which is especially important in such an urban location. The hedgerow also features wych elm trees, a species that has largely disappeared from the Irish landscape due to disease, as well as a watercourse nearby and a wide
base, both of which add to its biodiversity value. The Central Bank of Ireland have begun phase 2 of the Biodiversity Action Plan in 2019 and look forward to learning how to manage and enhance our lands to support biodiversity, and engage our colleagues and communities in the process.