National Trust celebrates 50 years guardianship of Ireland’s first Nature Reserve

Experience the changing seasons at Murlough National Nature Reserve

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Dundrum, was Ireland’s first ever Nature Reserve and this year it celebrates 50 years under active management of the National Trust.

It is a remarkable site of international renown for flora, fauna and archaeology containing nearly 16% of the UK’s Dune Heath. Over 740 species of butterfly and moths can be found including the rare Marsh fritillary butterfly. A mixture of cattle, ponies and rabbits can be found grazing the land on a normal days walk around the dunes.

As well as being an area of huge scientific importance, Murlough is also known for its astonishing scenery, views of the Mourne Mountains and also boasts one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches.

There is only a small team of National Trust staff and volunteers who help care for the reserve, managing and maintaining it for generations to come.

“Without National Trust intervention this incredibly valuable and fragile place would have probably (had planned to be) turned into a commercial forest covered by Corsican Pine.” Explains Patrick Lynch, Lead Ranger.

“50 years is a fantastic achievement for us but we couldn’t have done it without the support from our members, the community and our visitors. That’s why we want everyone to celebrate with us.”

“We’d love visitors to send in pictures to our social media showcasing this magnificent place and attend the events to join in the festivities”. 

Events, such as Rubbish Art, will run throughout the year and visitors are encouraged to share any photos they capture on the reserve using #Murloughis50 on social media. This will all build up to the main event, a very unusual birthday party in September.

You can find more information about Murlough’s 50th birthday by visiting for all the latest information. 

Photos can be sent to Murlough National Nature Reserve - National Trust on Facebook, and @NtMurlough on Instagram and Twitter

If you would like to be part of the team who help conserve Murlough by offering financial support or through volunteering please e-mail