The Burrenbeo Trust team consists of various paid part time staff and voluntary advisors. See below for the full team.
Trust Coordinator and Research
Áine Bird (2012-present)
Formerly an education officer for the NPWS, she has a background in diverse activities from botany to scientific writing. Áine holds a BSc (Hons) in Science, an MSc in Science Communications and an MEd where she focused her research on the Primary Teachers perspective on place-based learning. In 2018, Áine’s commenced an Irish Research Council funded employment-based PhD in partnership with the School of Geography at NUI Galway. This project looks to evaluate the role of place-based learning in community stewardship and share the learnings from Burrenbeo Trusts work with others.
Conservation, Outreach and Membership
Kate Lavender (2012-present)
Kate has been keeping on top of our membership systems since 2012, is also the coordinator of the Burrenbeo Conservation Volunteers and manages our outreach and Burren field trips. Kate holds a BSc (Hons) in Geology, an MSc in Palynology, a PGCE in secondary Geography and a Diploma in Archaeology. She is currently researching part time for an MLitt in Archaeology, specifically looking at the Doolin area of the Burren. Kate worked as a geography teacher and a LC geography field studies instructor and local cave leader prior to joining the team. An avid out door enthusiast, Kate enjoys all aspects of heading out with people to experience the Burren.
Community Programmes and Education
Mary Dillon (2019-present)
Mary manages the Heritage Keepers training programme. She has a broad interest in both built and natural heritage. She has a degree and masters in Archaeology from NUIG and has worked in many different aspects of archaeology from excavations to archaeobotany. She is passionate about environmental issues and biodiversity and has a PG Diploma in Environmental Protection from Sligo IT and a certificate in Field Ecology from UCC.
Communications and Events
Pranjali Bhave (2019-present)
Pranjali’s role includes managing Burrenbeo’s communications work and facilitation of its conservation projects and events. With a background in life sciences and postgraduate qualifications in social communications as well as natural history communications, Pranjali has worked for more than ten years as a media professional producing content for television, film, radio and digital media. From biodiversity, agriculture and social impact, to health and history, she has produced a diverse range of stories for clients like RTE Radio 1, TG4, the Irish Film Board, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Children’s Medical and Research Foundation. She also has experience developing educational media and has worked as a mentor in community-based training projects in Galway.
John Lambe (2021-present)
John founded and operated a Chartered Accountancy practice in Tipperary from which he retired recently after 40 years. He is now living in, and enjoying, the Burren, and it’s many wonders. John is delighted to bring his skills and experience to the Burrenbeo Trust as its accounts and administration officer.
The Hare’s Corner Officer
Lee Worrell (2022-present)
Lee Worrell holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology where she focused on Ecology. She has over 10 years of experience working in NGOs as a Naturalist Educator. Although she is relatively new to Ireland, she has worked as a Raptor handler and Tour guide in Clare – leading and educating the general public at the cliffs of Moher and around the Burren. Lee’s passions include sustainability, good food, traditional music, and exploring the natural world via human power (biking, climbing, hiking, kayaking). Lee is very excited to join the Burrenbeo team as the Hare’s Corner Officer, helping make more space for nature, one pond, orchard, or woodland at a time.
Heritage Keepers Officer
Brian has a BA in Sociology and English from the University of Galway. After spending a number of years teaching English in Ireland and abroad, he joined the civil service and worked across a number of departments helping to protect the most vulnerable in society. Brian is passionate about music and the arts, and loves hiking. He joins us as Heritage Keepers Officer with a strong belief in the power of imagination, exploration, and working together.
Farming for Nature Coordinator
Brigid Barry (2018 – present)
Brigid is the Coordinator for the Farming for Nature project since June 2018. Prior to this initiative, she was the manager of the Burrenbeo Trust for 9 years, biodiversity officer for Clare County Council and a project officer on numerous conservation projects abroad for the previous 10 years. Brigid comes from a suckler and tillage farm in Co.Cork. Listen here to a podcast on how she got involved in conservation and the background to Farming For Nature. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Farming for Nature Programmes Officer
Lucy Bowler (2021 – present)
Lucy is the Programmes Officer for the Farming For Nature project since March 2021. Growing up on a small mixed farm in Co.Wexford, she has always had a keen interest in nature, animals and growing food. Following completion of a BSc Food Science in UCD in 2017, she completed an 18-month graduate programme with Bord Bia in Dublin. Having spent some time travelling and volunteering on farms in South America, she recently completed a course in permaculture/sustainable horticulture in Kinsale College. Lucy works 2 days a week with Farming for Nature between March and November. Lucy can be contacted on email@example.com
Education and Outreach
Karen van Dorp (2021-2022)
Karen is trained as an all-round biologist, with an MSc degree in Evolutionary Biology and Phylogenetics and a broad interest in natural and cultural history. She has worked as an Ecologist in most parts of Ireland, including the Burren, and enjoyed bringing people on and under the limestone pavement as a guide for NPWS and Doolin Cave. As Field Technical Officer for The Hare’s Corner programme, she liaised with farmers around County Clare during ecological site visits and helped coordinating the programme.
Grainne Burke (2019-2021)
Gráinne’s work focused on the running of Áitbheo educational programme for schools and facilitation of the Áitbheo programme in the community. She has a masters in Sustainable Resource Management from University of Limerick & NUI Galway and has worked for several years as an environmental scientist.
Annalisa Murphy ( 2018-2021 )
Annalisa’s role included strategic management, supporting the other Officers’ work and facilitating community-led events. She holds an MSc in Rural Development and a Certificate in Charity Governance. Having spent over ten years supporting community development in Latin America and Africa, Annalisa worked for a further nine years as a project manager and facilitator with community and voluntary organisations promoting social change in the west of Ireland, before joining the Trust in June 2018. Annalisa is a firm believer in the power of communities to make the world a better place!
Mark O’Callaghan (Oct 2017-Apr 2018)
Mark O’Callaghan joined the Burrenbeo team from Galway to cover Brigid’s maternity leave, working on communications and place-based education. Mark is interested in landscape and heritage and holds a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and an MSc in Ecosystem Conservation & Landscape Management. He previously worked as a field ecologist throughout Ireland and as a guide in the Burren National Park, as well as at sites as diverse as the Skelligs, Glendalough and the National Botanic Gardens.
Elaine Williams (2015-2016)
As part of her PhD research on landscape and communities (NUIG Geog), Elaine was subsidised to be based in the office 2 days a week between Septembers 2015-2016 as Community Engagement Officer.
This is a voluntary role that ensures that overall running of the organisation is in accordance with the objectives set out by the Board. The Secretary provides guidance to the Trust Coordinator and support in reporting back to the Board.
Brendan Dunford (2008-present)
I come from a farming background but trained (initially, mistakenly!) as an electrical engineer before spending a happy decade travelling the world and then returning to college to do a Masters degree in ‘Environmental Resource Management’ which led to a PhD research project in, and on, ….the Burren! That was almost 20 years ago so…The Burren is special to me because it is my home, my place of work, my community and my inspiration. I volunteer with the Burrenbeo Trust because I feel it is a wonderfully inclusive, creative and professional mechanism through which I can engage meaningfully with this special place and its care. The skills that I feel I can bring to the Burrenbeo Trust are a passion for this place and for the Trust, a good working knowledge of the Burren and its communities and, well, a willingness to help out as and when needed.
The Board of Directors meets quarterly on a voluntary level whose role is:
- to ensure that the organisation is maintaining its vision, mission and values through its work
- to decide on the strategy and the structure of the organisation annually
- to delegate authority to the management and receive quarterly feedback from the Trust Manager and Secretary
- to exercise accountability on behalf of all the stakeholders
|Martin Hawkes (Chairman)||2008-present|
|Brendan Dunford (Secretary)||Sept 2021 - present|
|Daire O'Criodáin (Treasurer)||2019-present|
|Dr Stephen Ward||2008-2014|
Martin Hawkes (Chairman of the Burrenbeo Trust). Personal statement:
Following a career spanning the public service, commercial banking and promoting businesses my main focus now is on civil society engagement such as climate change and language revival as well as facilitating creativity and leadership at the Burren College of Art. Based in Dublin, I discovered the Burren through family connections and it has become a part of me by stealth. Over time I have come to appreciate its unflinching beauty and powerful presence as well as its unique heritage both natural and human. At a time of seismic change in human civilisation the invisible and ancestral qualities of the Burren and the Irish tradition have huge potential in reconnecting us with a sensibility about the natural world that has been dulled and providing a hosting space for the audacious conversations that are needed at this time. There was only one possible answer when the call came to support the transition of Burrenbeo from a private to a public vehicle as part of the holistic vision of its founders who saw people, not as a problem, but as an essential part of an inhabited landscape shaped by the dance between the natural and human heritage of the place. It is a privilege to bring governance and organisational skills developed in other contexts to the work of a trust dedicated to connecting people and place in a whole-system’s approach. I whole-heartedly share and support its ambition moving out from protecting and cherishing this special place to bringing the insights of its journey to wider and wider contexts.
Michael Davoren (Director). Personal statement:
Michael is a sixth generation Burren Farmer. He is founder member of Burren IFA and served as chairman for many years. He is a member of the steering committee of the Burren LIFE project, actively involved for the past twenty years as Burren farmer representative at national level of the IFA. Michael is a committed community activist involved in local GAA and a serving member of many community groups in the Burren area. The Burren is my place of birth, where I live and raised a family, the land is my means of income. The importance of its preservation cannot be overstated and this relies on productive farming. We must pass on these lands to the next generation, along with the traditional skills that ultimately will deliver the most important result of protecting a unique national asset and one of the most special landscapes in Europe. I am part of the Burrenbeo Trust to keep the needs of farmers on the agenda. I believe that Burrenbeo Trust is a valuable asset to the farming community providing information and education and through the major contribution to the local activities such as the Winterage weekend and Burren in Bloom. Burrenbeo Trust provides a focus gathering people together, improving communication and stimulating local discussion. All which leads to better understanding of how the Burren can be managed to the benefit of all stakeholders. I bring experience and practical knowledge of Burren farming, community involvement in all aspects of the Burren, and local knowledge and organisational skills to the organisation.
Risteard Crimmins (Retired Director). Personal statement:
Risteard Crimmins, a native of Newmarket-on-Fergus, living in Sixmilebridge and working in Shannon. Married to Mary and together had with five children. His interests are in organic gardening, playing traditional music and anything that gets him into the outdoors in rural County Clare. Risteard has worked as a solicitor since 1985 and is now practising under the partnership Crimmins Howard Solicitors.
I love County Clare and I don’t think I am ever happier than when I am out in the countryside, whether it is in the Burren, the hills of east Clare or the limestone areas around Newmarket-on-Fergus or Sixmilebridge. Nobody that has seen the Burren could not be but struck by its beauty. For myself, I feel a very close connection to the landscape of County Clare which I know intimately and instinctively, since I first crawled about in it as an infant.
I can’t remember precisely how I became involved in the Burrenbeo Trust, but I remember very distinctly the impact that Brendan Dunford’s book, Farming and the Burren, made on me. I have now been a director for a good few years. I don’t know that I have made any huge contribution, although I suppose it’s always useful to have a lawyer about, and thirty-five years’ experience of the Irish legal system can be useful at times. I have personally benefitted greatly from my association with the Burrenbeo Trust and the people involved in it. I never fail to be amazed (impressed isn’t strong enough a word) at the work that the team in Kinvara get through in any one year, on such a shoestring budget. I have no doubt that it is an honour for all of us Directors to be associated with such a dedicated, committed and imaginative team. Furthermore, the Board of Directors itself has assembled a very impressive range of expertise, and the wider committees and volunteers that support the work of the Burren Beo Trust, bring a tremendous breadth of experience and expertise to the organization. Long may it continue.
The role of the Treasurer is to ensure that the organisation is working within its financial means, to ensure that the monthly accounts are up to date by staff, to ensure that an annual audit is carried out and to feed back to the Board on the financial forecasts of the organisation. This is a voluntary role.
Daire O’Criodan (2021 – present)
Martina Moloney (2017-2021)
Richard Morrison (2012-2017)
Tom Kelly (2010-2012)
L&M Accounting and Taxation services, Kinvara, Galway
Michael O’ Connor of O’ Connor & Forde Accountants, Briarhill, Galway (2012-2020)
Patrons are varied from local to nationally-known individuals that lend their name to the Trust and communicate the work of the Trust where possible in their communities.
|Mary Hawkes Greene||2009-present|
|Mary Angela Keane||2009-present|
|Ann Madden Le Brocquy||2009-present|
|Bishop William Walsh||2009-present|
|Dr Stephen Ward||2016-present|
|Prof Carleton Jones||2009-2013|
|Ann O'Connor Dunford||2009-2015*|