burren-life-DSCF2943The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) provides funding directly to Burren Programme (BP) participants (farmers) and covers most of the running costs of the local team based in Carron.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage contributes towards office overheads for the Carron office.

The Burren Programme also enjoys the strong support of the Burren branch of the Irish Farmers Association (Burren IFA) and Teagasc, both of which were centrally involved in the original BurrenLIFE Project, and from a range of other stakeholders including the Heritage Council and  National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. 

Our Team

The administration of the Burren Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and delivered under contract by High Nature Value Services (HNVS) Ltd, the directors of which are Dr Brendan Dunford, Dr Sharon Parr and Dr Bryony Williams. Their main roles include:

Dr Brendan DunfordProgramme Manager
Site assessments, farm plan admin checks and sign-offs, education and communication, liaising with project partners, chairing meetings of the programme steering group (PSG).
Dr Sharon ParrProgramme Scientist
Site visits, liaison with farmers and advisors, meadow assessments, monitoring, compliance – felling licences, notifiable actions etc.
Dr Bryony WilliamsProgramme Technical Officer
Liaise with farm advisors, manage office and project finances, farm plan admin checks, personnel support.

The Programme team also includes:

Paula McHale MScProgramme Assistant
Paula joined HNVS as an intern in August 2013 and as an employee in June 2014. Paula assists with data input, admin checks and general office support.
Neal Jeuken MScAgro-Ecologist
Neal joined HNVS in 2016. He assists with field scoring of farms, and the work planning process for farms.
Rebecca DavorenAdministrative Assistant
Rebecca joined HNVS as Administrative Assistant in July 2021. Rebecca provides administrative support by carrying out admin checks on I1 and I2 plans. Rebecca is responsible for keeping the BP database system up to date. Rebecca provides administrative support to all members of the Burren Programme team.
Tim O'Connell MScProgramme Administrator
Tim joined HNVS in June 2017. Tim assists with mapping and the admin checks within the planning processes for all the farmers in the programme.
Donal Hogan MScAgro-Ecologist
Donal joined HNVS in 2017. He assists with field scoring of farms, and planning, costing and verification of farm work plans. He liaises with farmers, NPWS and Clare FMA to ensure all work planned/completed follows guidelines.
Michael & Elaine LynchClare Field Monument Advisors (FMAs)
Michael and Elaine advise farmers and BP staff on planned work (such as access tracks and scrub control) and their impact on archaeology, including mitigation measures, permissions and notifications. Michael and Elaine are highly experienced, qualified archaeologists who also farm in the Burren. Their role as FMAs is funded under the Clare FMA Scheme by the Heritage Council and HNVS Ltd, (most of this work is carried out on BP farms but other landowners and interested groups also avail of their assistance). This project, the Clare FMA Scheme, is supported by the Heritage Council under the Heritage Sector Support Fund 2021.

We are very grateful that the Clare FMA Scheme has received financial support from the Heritage Council since 2004, Clare County Council (2004-2010), the Burrenbeo Trust (2011), HNVS Ltd (2012-present), and the National Monuments Service (of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; 2018-2020).

Please visit the Field Monument Advisor Programme Co. Clare on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FMAProgramme) for up to date events and posts.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank former team members of the Burren Programme,  Lynda Weekes and Anne Mullen, for all their hard work and contribution to the Programme.

The BP Team is based in Carron in the centre of the Burren and supports BP farmers (and other farmers in the Burren and beyond) directly through office or site visits, phone communications and training, and indirectly via their farm advisors.

Farm Advisors

burren-life-DSCF7433Central to the success of the Burren Programme is the cohort of trained farm advisors. A panel of DAFM-approved trained advisors has been drawn up for the purposes of the Programme and is available  here or through the Burren Programme office in Carron. These trained advisors have undergone intensive training and must participate in annual refresher courses on farming for conservation in the Burren. Participants in the Burren  Programme can select from this panel of advisors.

The farmer must pay for the services of his/her Burren Programme Advisor.

Trained advisors liaise with farmers, conduct farm audits and assemble farm plans. This entails working closely with the farmer and advising on priority tasks, and where, how and when they should be done. The trained advisor also assesses grazed habitats on the farm which are eligible under Intervention 1 (I-1) and award them a score using standardised methodologies and an Excel-based ‘I-1 calculator’. The trained advisor works closely with the Burren Programme Team and the farmer, and farm plans, actions and scores will be cross-checked by the Team. The trained advisor also signs a declaration on the finalised farm plan to confirm that they have fully briefed the farmer on its contents.