Friday 23 March 2018

Red Kite Walk opens in Avondale

THE Vale of Avoca has another string to its bow with the opening of the Red Kite Walk, a wonderful new amenity brought to fruition by the Vale of Avoca Development Association (VADA).

Large numbers turned out on Thursday for the official opening by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring. The launch of the walk marks a vast amount of work by VADA to make the stunning woodland route accessible to the community and visitors alike.

Known as the Red Kite Walk, the route is aptly named given Avoca's recognition as a model for the reintroduction of extinct birds of prey. The area is now also the official showcase venue for observing these magnificent birds in Ireland.

As if on cue the clouds parted and a red kite graced the sky for the duration of the event which certainly added to the sense of occasion.

Marc Ruddock of the Golden Eagle Trust spoke at the event about the reintroduction of the Red Kites and their absence in Ireland since the 18th century. In the first initiative of its kind in Ireland the Golden Eagle Trust will be placing a webcam in a red kite nest within the next two weeks and footage will be streamed live back to the Old Courthouse Heritage Centre via satellite.

The health benefits of having such a walk in the community were highlighted by Edel of the Irish Heart Foundation who encouraged regular walking for heart health and said the Red Kite Walk was the perfect place to get started.

Special thanks were given to Pat Irwin of VADA and his daughter Hazel and also the VADA committee chaired by Bernie Ivers for their drive and determination in seeing the project to completion. Tributes were also paid to the contractor, Kevin Harper, Siobhán Geoghegan of the Wicklow County Partnership, Ruairi O'Hanlon Area Engineer of Wicklow County Council along with the local area Council workers all contributed to getting this project completed. The event concluded with a presentation to the minister of a fine framed photograph of a Red Kite in full flight, taken by Paul Kavanagh and presented by Bernie Ivers Chairperson of VADA.

'This was a great community project led by VADA & supported by many agencies which had a great conclusion. The minister was impressed by the community effort and said this project clearly indicated just what communities can achieve by working together in conjunction with government agencies. The Red Kite trust were delighted that the efforts to make Avoca the home of the Red Kite came from community initiative,' said Bernie.

Afterwards everyone retired to the Community Hall for a fantastic spread put on by Avoca Active Retirement Committee.

Bray People