Gas Networks Ireland supports Laois Barn Owl Project

Draw with Don – it will be a hoot!

Don with Barn Owl

Gas Networks Ireland has teamed up with artist, activist and TV legend Don Conroy for a special free 'Draw with Don' online event on Wednesday 24 March to celebrate the launch of its partnership with the Laois Barn Owl Project.

To help broaden awareness of Barn Owls, increase their conservation and grow their population locally, the national network operator is funding 20 outdoor Barn Owl nesting boxes made from a material intended to last for 20 years in an outdoor environment.

Gas Networks Ireland’s Sustainability Manager, Anne Moore, said:

“As part of Gas Networks Ireland’s commitment to sustainability, we are delighted to support the Laois Barn Owl Project, which is a wonderful community conservation initiative that forms part of our Biodiversity Action Plan.”

Don has spent many years merging his love of drawing and wildlife to highlight the importance of barn owl conservation and is looking forward to sharing his passion with others.

“The Barn Owl or as it is also known, the Ghost of the Night. My first encounter with this remarkable bird was aged 9, while on a visit to my uncle’s farm in Co. Laois. It was late October as we strolled about and a heavy mist hung over the fields. Then I heard an unearthly shriek! I quickly held my uncle’s hand. ‘Don’t worry, he reassured me, it’s only a ‘White’ Owl. Moments later, through the mist, came this ghostly bird on silent wings.

Since that special encounter I have become fascinated with Owls, especially Barn Owls, also called White Owls or Church Owls. I’ve drawn this bird hundreds of times, painted pictures, written children’s novels and poems about the Barn Owl.

Barn Owls are the farmer’s friend, helping to control the rodent population. All they need for this service is a roof over their heads. Barn Owl boxes can be a great way to attract the bird to your area. Barn Owls are sadly in decline so any help we can give this iconic bird is great news.

So, if you’re out for a walk in the countryside and you hear a strange shriek, look out! You might just see a barn owl flying on silent wings, a magical experience!

Barry Nolan, Managing Director, Wildlife Management Services who runs the Laois Barn Owl Project said:

Our new partnership with Gas Networks Ireland will make a big difference to the future of the Barn Owl population in Laois. These beautiful birds are an important part of local ecosystems and it is vital that we protect them for future generations”.

Supporting biodiversity is a key pillar of Gas Networks Ireland’s sustainability strategy. As guardians of Ireland’s gas infrastructure, Gas Network Ireland aims to deliver its services in a sustainable manner that contributes to the protection of the environment while supporting the social and economic development of the communities it operates in, as well as the wider economy.

Last year, Gas Networks Ireland won both the Sustainable Energy Achievement Award and the Green Large Organisation of the Year Award, and more recently has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Community Support Award for exceptional customer service and support to communities as part of the 2021 CCA Excellence Awards.

The free, online ‘Draw with Don’ event will be live streamed on Gas Networks Ireland’s YouTube and Facebook pages from 3.30pm to 4.15pm. However, numbers are limited so pre-registration is advised at