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First Irish sighting of beetle is on the grounds of Birr Castle

Story by Laura Ryder

Tuesday, 6th May, 2014 11:48am

First Irish sighting of beetle is on the grounds of Birr Castle

The oil beetle at Birr Castle Demesne pictured by John Denham.

In what looks likely to be a first for Birr Castle Demesne, it’s probable Dubliner Carmel Lynch discovered the first sighting of an oil beetle in Ireland on castle grounds on Easter Sunday.

The healthcare administration worker from Terenure enjoys visiting Birr Castle Demesne throughout the year. On Easter Sunday she was wandering around the grounds with two others when they came across what she described as an enormous beetle lumbering across a grass path at one of the bridges crossing the Little Brosna river on the property.

“He was enormous - two, maybe three inches long,” Carmel told the Offaly Independent. “He looked initiatlly like a very large ant. There were three of us and none of us had seen anything like him before.”

On her return to Dublin Carmel set about comparing the picture she took of the beetle to online images. She guessed the creature she’d seen was an oil beetle - or Meloe proscarabaeus to give it its Latin name. Naturalist and conservationalist Eithne Viney confirmed that as fact the next day, and also confirmed that no sighting of the beetle has been reported to date in Ireland.

Carmel has now reported her find to the National Biodiversity Data Centre, which is the national organisation for the collection, collation, management, analysis and dissemination of data on Ireland’s biological diversity.

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