Kerry red deer could be moved from Killarney to capital’s Phoenix Park

Sixty one golden eagles released in Ireland since 2001 and 10 chicks reared since 2007

Young deer or fawns in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.Photograph: David Sleator

Young deer or fawns in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.Photograph: David Sleator


The possibility of relocating native species of deer from Kerry to the Phoenix Park in Dublin will be examined by Department of Heritage officials.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan said he would support moving some Irish red deer from Killarney national park to the capital’s main park if it could be done. “There may be some issue with mixing two species and there may be some reason this has not happened.”

But he agreed “red deer would be a major attraction and a major addition to the Phoenix Park, which is one of the most spectacular parks in any city in the world”.

Fianna Fáil heritage spokesman Seán Ó Fearghaíl made the suggestion during Dáil question time.

He said “it has always struck me as strange that the magnificent Phoenix Park in this city is populated by a herd of fallow deer”.

Fallow deer and the sika species were quite common and he suggested it would be desirable to relocate some Kerry dear so that “our primary city park” could have “examples of that magnificent species, the Irish red deer”.

Deer census
Mr Deenihan said no national census of Irish red deer had been undertaken because many lived in dense cover in forest plantations but their range had increased five-fold in the past 30 years.

Referring to the golden eagle breeding programme, Mr Deenihan said 61 were released in Glenveagh National Park in Donegal between 2001 and 2012 and they had dispersed widely. “Some have been seen in counties Kerry and Antrim as well as in Scotland, ” he said.

Twenty are known to be in Ireland “with the whereabouts of another 20 or so unknown. At least four birds have died of natural causes and to, my great disappointment, some have been poisoned illegally.”

He said 10 Irish-bred golden eagle chicks had been reared in Donegal between 2007 and 2013.