tropical butterfly world, rossaveal, galway

Dr Lucille Ryan O'Shea lryan at
Thu Aug 26 16:49:45 EDT 1999

About a month ago ago,with two American friends of mine, John and Anne
who are part-time residents in Tourmakeady,on Lough Mask, i went to the
Tropical Butterfly Gardens in Rossaveal in Galway.  I was apalled,
disappointed, and soon saddened by the obvious neglect at the place.
I had seen a portion of Dick Warner's Programme on Network Two, wherein he
visited the place, and looked forward to seeing it.  It was dreadful.  It
was redolent with lack of care at best and cruelty at worst.
Here is a quote from an email from my  good friend Anne Kilmer Hillis, who
among other things, constructs butterfly gardens in  the US - Florida; has
been a garden and wildfllower and butterfly columnist for the Palm Beach
newspaper for several years.  Trevor and David may already have gotten this
part .  .  .

"We went to the Rossaveal butterfly place ... it's a mess, David. Is
there some special problem, or just lack of money? The Ficus benjamina
was breaking through the ceiling screen, and the butterflies were all
flying up into the roof and dying and lying about dead on the screen
They have three huge ficus plants, and they should really get rid of
them; there's nothing but trouble.
The place was overgrown with passionflower, but they don't seem to have
any of the butterflies tht use it as host plant. Is there a regulation
against rearing exotic butterflies? Are they not allowed to have the
The boxes where the chrysalids hatch were filthy, wide open, and dead
and dying butterflies were lying around.
You expect some mortality, but this seemed excessive. And scraping out
the dirty gravel is not that hard to do.
I admit that I am accustomed to Butterfly World, which has oceans of
money, and I'm sure that this place is not wealthy. But a great deal of
money is being wasted by allowing so many butterflies to escape and die.
And it distresses butterfly enthusiasts.
The staff had no interest in talking to butterfly gardeners.
I don't want to seem to be a know-in-all American ... but other bug
fanciers seem to have the same opinion. What do you think? "

This was written to David Nash of the Dublin Naturalists' Field Club, in
My question is this - what can be done about this - one several fronts:
a. it constitutes  neglect and cruelty  to living organisms;
b. it is making use of the media to present one image - that of caring for
species, which image is incorrect at best, or misleading at worst;
c. in the interest of tourism, which is not high on my list of priorities,
it presents a bad image of ireland vis a vis our care of living organisms -
the celtic tiger not withstanding;
all suggestions are welcome.
 one of the people this has been sent to, gerry boland, is the past [ or is
it still current,? gerry] policy convenor and spokesperson on the
environment for the Irish Green Party/Comhaontas Glas, who might have some
suggestions for us.
What action could we take about this?  Does anyone have contact with Dick
Warner, at RTE, to see what he has to say?

dr. lucille oshea ryan
ballintleva, clogher,
westport, amyo
republic of ireland
phone - 353-98-27730
fax: 353-98-27475
email: lryan at

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