Animal-loving Irish Baron opens his castle grounds as nature reserve for injured wildlife
Life & Style

Animal-loving Irish Baron opens his castle grounds as nature reserve for injured wildlife

AN IRISH Baron has opened up his home to care for Ireland's injured wildlife.

Randal Plunkett is an Irish film director, writer, and animal lover -- as well as holding the title of Baron of Dunsany in County Meath.

Mr Plunkett has teamed up with Ireland's first-ever dedicated wildlife hospital-- the WRI Wildlife Hospital which is based near Navan, County Meath-- to ensure the animals that they rescue and rehabilitate have a safe place to resume their life in the wild.

As reported by, Mr Plunkett has opened up his 1,600 acres on the grounds of his County Meath castle to offer a sanctuary to the newly-released animals, and has so far taken in otters, fox cubs and buzzards on to his property.

The keen conservationist has been 'rewilding' 750 acres of his sprawling property in recent years, allowing plants and flowers to grow unabated rather than keeping the grass tightly cut, to help the local ecosystem to thrive.

Mr Plunkett immediately showed an interest in helping the WRI Wildlife Hospital after they opened in February this year, "partly because they don't get much State subsidies... and rely on donations," he told

But despite offering a sanctuary for the animals which have already suffered, he revealed that he has already seen poachers on his land-- and WRI volunteers are regularly patrolling the area to stop hunters targeting the rescued animals.

There are fears that the new media attention on Mr Plunkett's offer of a home for the wild animals will attract more poachers, but he has warned that he will be ready: "If I have to erect cameras, fences, gates and barbed wire to stop them killing these animals, I will," he told the outlet.

The Baron of Dunsany, who gained the title and property following the sad death of his father in 2011, is already noticing massive changes since rewilding the grounds and accepting rehabilitated animals-- he revealed that "the first pair of woodpeckers recorded in over 100 years were spotted here last year and these have increased in number to 12 — with two breeding pairs now".

"Some of the animals released by the hospital will end up here and others will move on, as is their nature, but it's great to be able to give them a head start and it all adds to what I am trying to do here in Dunsany," he told the outlet.

"Since rewilding started, animals and birds have reappeared and we have pine martens, kites, sparrow hawks, foxes and otters again."

You can follow updates from the Dunsany Nature Reserve on Instagram here.

To keep up with the vital work from the WRI Wildlife Hospital, you can check them out on Facebook here.