Carlow Garden Festival’s “Fantastic Wild, Seeing the Bigger Picture”

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30th July 2023, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Carlow Garden Festival’s “Fantastic Wild, Seeing the Bigger Picture” with Randal Plunkett.

With Ireland falling behind on every single one of its climate goals, what is there left to do?! Randal Plunkett, the man behind the Dunsany Nature Reserve, Ireland’s only large-scale rewilding project will present his talk entitled “Fantastic Wild, Seeing the Bigger Picture” focusing on nature’s ability to recover, regenerate and even adapt against the odds. The talk discusses the transformation of Dunsany’s project, the evolution of the plants and the changes rewilding has had on the animal population but most importantly how the public can make their own micro changes and help boost biodiversity. A complling speaker, this is one talk on the festival programme you can’t afford to miss.

An Gairdin Beo in the centre of Carlow Town is the perfect location for this talk, a project which, since its inception has focused on the small incremental changes that each individual can make to tackle the much bigger issues facing the future sustainability of the planet. A two-acre community garden where people work together and then reap the rewards together, the overall vision of this project is of a space in which diverse people can connect more to nature, to the growing and making of food and to each other. The ethos of this garden is based on an ecological orientation, on valuing diversity, sustainability and indigenous species.

Venue: An Gairdin Beo, Old Dublin Road, Carlow Town, R93 E1HF.

Time: 11. a.m.

Admission:  €10

Carlow Garden Festival's "Fantastic Wild, Seeing the Bigger Picture" at An Gairdin Beo with Randal Plunkett

Randal Plunkett


Commonly referred to by the media as “The Death Metal Baron”, Randal is an award-winning Irish film director, writer and producer from Dunsany, County Meath. His most recent feature film “The Green Sea” was a critical success and has been described by critics as “unapologetically original” and “beautiful and carefully crafted”.


Randal was brought up in the Plunkett family’s ancestral home of Dunsany Castle, where 900 years of family history and a sprawling collection of art and antiquities have left an indelible impression on Randal’s work. Many of his famous relatives include Ireland’s patron saint Oliver Plunkett, Horace Plunkett, founder of the Department of Agriculture and the CO-OP movement and Lord Edward Morton Drax Dunsany, known as the godfather of fantasy.



Carlow Garden Festival's "Fantastic Wild, Seeing the Bigger Picture" at An Gairdin Beo with Randal Plunkett

Randal Plunkett

Having taken over his family estate in 2011, he felt obligated to tackle a looming problem which had not yet become as mainstream an issue as it is today. This issue, was the loss of bio-diversity and the quickly disappearing wild landscape that has been a major factor propelling climate change.

Randal took a leap of faith and took a third of his estate (around 700 acres) and adopted a radical rewilding program in a bid to restore the natural heritage of the once forested lands. Risking his future for an unproven idea, he embarked on this crusade with no support and at his own cost.

He quickly set up Ireland’s first rewilding project commonly known now as “The Dunsany Nature Reserve”. The success of the project has been active for almost a decade and has had a massive success with lost species returning every year in high numbers.

Randal has risen to become a pioneer and a leading figure in this movement and has received much praise and distinctions for his noble endeavour worldwide this includes receiving the “Saint Hubert Award” from “Catholic Concern for Animals” for his work defending the animals of his reserve from illegal poaching.

Randal is currently working with prestigious institutions such as Trinity College and Dublin City University to study the long-term effects of this type of environmental restoration with the hope his endeavours may one day lead to knowledge which could be used to help combat climate change, long term.

He is also now actively involved influencing others to adopt a more ethical and environmental attitude to business and lifestyle or as he describes it “planting the seeds of change”, something he feels is crucial if we are to survive another millennium.

The Carlow Garden Festival is supported by Carlow County Council under the Festival and Events Scheme and by Fáilte Ireland

Carlow Garden Festival supported by Carlow County Council

Carlow Garden Festival supported by Fáilte Ireland
Carlow Garden Festival supported by Ireland's Ancient East


30th July 2023
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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