About the Burren Botanist

Who I am…..

Sinéad Keane, botanist, herbalist , educator and botanical photographer

Professional Qualifications

B.Sc. Botany NUIG (National University of Ireland, Galway) 1988.
M.Sc. Botany NUIG (National University of Ireland, Galway) 1990.
B.Sc. Phytotherapy (Herbal Medicine) (University of London and University of Wales) 2005.

National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH).
Heritage Council of Ireland’s Heritage in School’s panel of specialists.

Hello and welcome to my website

About me:

My name is Sinéad Keane , I am a botanist and a herbalist with a lifelong love of the Burren and its beautiful wild flowers

Born in Ennis, Co Clare, as both my parents are from North Clare, trips to the Burren were a regular feature throughout my childhood

As an undergraduate of Botany in NUI Galway my interest in the Burren was further enhanced with botanical field trips to the Burren region

My fascination with the wild flowers of the Burren lead me to a research based M.Sc. in Botany in NUI Galway which I carried out in the late 1980”s entitled ‘ Vegetation and Land Use Studies in the Eastern Area of the Burren, Co. Clare (1990).

My research thesis was a pioneering study on the relationship between traditional farming practices and the rich floral biodiversity of the East Burren Uplands. As part of this work I interviewed farmers in the local area regarding grazing practices being carried out on these flower rich uplands. This study concluded that the common link between these upland flower rich meadows and land use was the ancient grazing practise of Winterage , whereby cattle were moved from the low lying pastures to the uplands to graze throughout the winter months,. This winter grazing reduces the abundance of the more competitive grasses, allowing wild flowers to flourish, a practice that continues in the Burren to this day.

During this time and for a number of years afterwards I continued to live in Carron, from here on I knew that I wanted to live in the Burren

In the early 90’s I was part of a group of contract ecologists working for the National Parks and Wildlife mapping Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s) throughout Ireland. To my delight I was assigned to the west of Ireland, including the  Burren area.  At that time the Burren was a relatively unexplored wonderfully wild landscape.

I have worked as an independent ecologist and field botanist for over 30 years.

Thanks to funding from the NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife)  small recorder’s grant I set up this website and database in 2021

More recently,  I am carrying out botanical survey work on the rare and threatened plants of the Burren (with funding from the Local Biodiversity Action Fund) see website for 2021 and 2022 reports (under research).

I have always had an interest in the medicinal uses of our wild plants.  I undertook a Degree course in Phytotherapy in the then College of Phytotherapy in East Sussex, England. I qualified as a herbal medical practitioner in 2005 and became a member of  NIMH (National Institute of Medical Herbalists).

I conduct guided botanical/ethnobotanical walks for various interested groups since the 1990’s. Including areas of the Burren, Inis Bofin, and Connemara.

Today I live in Kilnaboy with my family, not far from my favourite place in the Burren, Mullaghmore.