A close-up of binders woven on top of a laid hedge.

About Us

Read more about us and our objectives.

Hedgerows Ireland is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, which does not have a share capital and was founded in 2004 by a group of hedge layers and other interested individuals. The organisation was previously called the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland. We are an All-Ireland organisation with Directors based both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We are a member of the Irish Environmental Network and the Environmental Pillar and also receive funding from the Heritage Council.

Our Vision

A network of native hedgerows across Ireland managed in a nature-friendly way in order to sequester carbon, protect biodiversity, and provide shelter and water quality benefits.

Our Mission

Raising awareness about the value and appropriate management of hedgerows; promoting the craft and profession of hedge laying; and documenting our hedgerow heritage.

Our Strategy

Sharing knowledge through social media, talks, and hedge walks; organising hedge laying training days; and working with other environmental groups to create policy and legislative change.

A headshot of Shane Downer. He is a white man with short brown hair. He is wearing glasses, a black suit, white shirt and red tie.

Shane Downer
Executive Officer

Shane is a specialist in building early-stage organisations and leads the development of Hedgerows Ireland. A convert to the environmental cause, he brings strategic thinking and pragmatic problem-solving skills to bear, growing the organisation. When not leading Hedgerows Ireland, he carries a full lecture schedule, on business, operations and entrepreneurship. And is sometimes found on a golf course!

A photo of Katie Smirnova. She is a white woman with a blonde/light brown bob and is wearing a dark green wool jumper with a zip. There are shrubs blurred in the background.

Katie Smirnova
Campaigns Officer

Katie is passionate about using systems thinking to tackle social and environmental issues. In addition to promoting the value of hedgerows, she works with the FarmPEAT Project and volunteers with her local biodiversity group. Katie studied Environmental Science at Trinity College Dublin and was a Climate Ambassador with An Taisce in 2018. She also holds an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford.

A photo of Mark McDowell standing in front of a hedgerow. He is a white man with white hair, wearing a green jumper and jacket with black trousers.

Mark McDowell
Hedgerow Expert & Public Relations Officer

Mark is an accredited hedge layer, native hedgerow consultant and journalist. He has been involved with the organisation since it started in 2004 and with traditional hedgerow management since 1998. Mark is also a ferry survey coordinator for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. He has a keen interest in all of Ireland’s wildlife and holds a Diploma in Field Ecology from University College Cork.

A photo of Adrian Fitzpatrick standing in between tree stems with a hedgerow in the background. He is a white man wearing a green cap, glasses, dark green t-shirt and a hi-vis.

Adrian Fitzpatrick

Adrian is the Sustainability Manager at National Museums Northern Ireland. He became interested in hedgerows and hedge laying in the mid-1990s through the Conservation Volunteers from Ulster University. Adrian lives in south Belfast with his wife and son and shoal of White Cloud Mountain Minnow. When not reducing carbon dioxide or hedge laying, he likes to relax with a paddle in a kayak.

A photo of Chris McCarney standing in the Environmental Pillar stall. He is a white man with grey hair, wearing a green-shirt and grey pants and holding a Hedge Code poster.

Chris McCarney

Chris and his brother keep a few cattle on the family farm in Eskra, Co. Tyrone.  He studied agriculture at Queen’s University Belfast and currently works in education services at Oxford Island for ABC Council. Chris hopes to establish a facility at Lurgan for hedgerow management and foraging events. He is also developing cross-border projects about the role of hedgerows in tackling biodiversity loss in the Irish countryside.

Clive Lyttle

Clive is the co-owner of Welig Heritage Crafts with a demonstrated history of working in the arts and crafts industry. Clive was the All-Ireland Hedge Laying Champion in 2021! He is also a skilled basketmaker, willow weaver, and wood-turner. He is also passionate about Photography, Contemporary Art, Art Education, Art, and Drawing. Clive studied Biological Sciences and Ecology at the University Of Ulster, Coleraine.

Eamonn McLoughlin

Eamonn has been a qualified hedge layer for 20 years and involved with Hedgerows Ireland since its inception.

He is also a stonemason and runs a small nature-friendly calf-to-beef farm in Offaly, where he hosted the 2021 All-Ireland Hedge Laying Championships. Eamonn is taking part in the ACRES scheme to take further environmental actions on his farm.  

Eoin Donnelly

Eoin is a master hedge layer and woodwright, specialising in broadleaf forestry and traditional greenwood skills.

Eoin grew up amongst the Beech Woods of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, giving him a passion for wood, woodworking and woodlands, He has spent most of his life working in native broadleaved woodlands, managing and utilizing their timbers.