HIDDEN away on the northern bank of the river Shannon in Limerick city is the region’s newest wildlife attraction.
An unusually large family of a swan and nine cygnets has already attracted quite a few visitors to the area, including the local Salesian primary and infant schools on the North Circular Road.
Mute swans usually lay between four and six eggs; however this Limerick swan had a clutch of nine cygnets in recent weeks.
“Nine is an incredible number. The average is four to six although we did have up to 10 cygnets sighted before,” says Westfield Wetlands committee member Sean Ryan.
“The swans had hidden themselves away quite well at the far side of the lake.
“The family are a relatively recent addition to the wetlands and naturally they are very protective of their family. I had a lucky escape from the male swan the other day. A dog frightened them and of course the male swan spread his wings prepared to fight,” he added.
Deputy principal of Salesian Infant school Catherine Walsh said that the experience was “very educational for the children”.
“The children really enjoyed all the wildlife such as the flower meadow, the mallard ducks and especially getting to see the cygnets,” she said.
“The enthusiasm from the children was unbelievable. It was great to see their reactions and for them to be so interested in the environment and nature,” adds Mr Ryan.
“It’s a great facility on the school’s doorstep and this visit has encouraged the children to bring their parents and use it as a local amenity,” adds Ms Walsh.
While people are welcome to feed the swans and ducks Mr Ryan also urges people do so in moderation. “Its easy to over feed them which can be dangerous,” he says.