A herd of Dexter cattle, indigenous to Ireland, are due to arrive on the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin in September of this year in a bid to improve the biodiversity of the grounds.
Set on 130ac in the Phoenix Park, the grounds are already home to two Connemara ponies and a range of bee hives.
The ponies are in the paddocks at the Áras for the summer months and are there to graze the grounds as part of the plans to reduce the nutrient load on the soil.
Following an agreement with the Irish Dexter Cattle Society, Dexter cattle will be introduced to graze paddocks within Áras an Uachtaráin grounds from 1 September to 1 December, depending on grass availability.
President Michael D Higgins asked the Office of Public Works (OPW) to commission a biodiversity audit in 2019 and, since then, measures have been implemented across the 130ac to increase the biodiversity of pollinators, plants, birds, mammals and insects.
The audit report was compiled by scientists from Trinity College Dublin and one of the main recommendations of the report was to put in place a more sustainable management regime for the grasslands at Áras an Uachtaráin.
This is where the benefit of having the ponies and cattle on the grounds will come in, as their grazing will be combined with mowing at certain times of the year in an effort to reduce the nutrient load in the soil.
Over time, it is hoped this will create the right conditions for naturally diverse grasslands, which will support a healthier population of insects, birds and mammals.