Native Irish red squirrel returns to Kilkenny city thanks to pine marten

Red squirrel fight back from near extinction

Sean Keane


Sean Keane


Native Irish species, the red squirrel seen close to Kilkenny Castle

The native Irish red squirrel back in Kilkenny city on Lacken Walk after absence of decades

The native Irish red squirrel is making a come back in Kilkenny city, easing worries about it's possible extinction.

A scurry of the beautiful little animals can be seen regularly along the Lacken Walk, opposite Kilkenny Castle by the banks of the River Nore.

It coincides with a rapid decrease in the numbers of the invasive, non-native species, the grey squirrel in the area.

This has come about because of the introduction of another Irish species to the popular walkway, the pine marten.

Because the grey squirrel is heavier and spends more time on the ground, it is easier to kill and eat than the smaller and lighter red squirrel and is a favourite of the predetatory pine marten.

For generations the grey squirrel had forced the Irish red squirrel out if its natural habitat and the grey squirrel also carries a disease which is not harmful to it but lethal for the red squirrel.