Irish Grasslands Project

We’re launching a brand new project to increase awareness of Ireland's semi-natural grasslands and help to improve the identification skills needed to record them, whether you're a beginner or a more experienced botanist. We’re hoping this will turn into a multi-year project, but for this summer we’re sticking with helping recorders and members get a good grounding in the basics. This will include online training, downloadable pdf resources, and social media posts to highlight the importance of grasses and grasslands. For more information, please contact the Ireland Officer.


We are hosting 5 free online training courses this summer. These sessions are open to anyone - you do not need to be a BSBI member to join. The sessions will be led by Lynda Weekes and Fionnuala O’Neill and will take place on Saturday mornings at 10 am for approximately 1 hour.

  • Introduction to Grass Identification (Fionnuala O'Neill) - 27 June.
  • Vegetative Grass ID, part 1 (Lynda Weekes) - 4 July.
  • Vegetative Grass ID, part 2 (Lynda Weekes) - 11 July. Register Here.
  • Introduction to Sedge Identification (Lynda Weekes) - 25 July. Register Here.
  • Introduction to Annex I Grassland Habitats (Fionnuala O'Neill) - 8 August. Register Here.

A recording of our first session, Introduction to Grass Identification, is now available on  the Irish Grasslands Project playlist on YouTube. We're aiming to add recordings of the others within one week of the live sessions.

You can also download Lynda's slides from Vegetative Grass ID part 1 for personal study.

Registration for all the other sessions is still open! You need to register for each individually. Anyone who registered should have received an email with a link to join the webinar. If you haven't received yours, please contact Sarah Pierce.


We are creating a downloadable resource to help with identifying key species of grasses, rushes, sedges, and forbs which are indicators for Annex I grassland habitats. When complete, the resource will be available to download for free from the BSBI website.

There are lots of resources available to support learning about grasses and grasslands in Ireland. Below are a few that might be of interest. If you have suggestions for others, please let us know! We'll continue adding to the list throughout the project.


  • Grasses of the British Isles. BSBI Handbook No. 13 by Cope and Gray.
  • Identification guide to Ireland's Grasses. National Biodiversity Data Centre.
  • Grasses: A guide to their Structure, Identification, Uses and Distribution in the British Isles by Hubbard.
  • Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of Britain and Northern Europe.  Collins Pocket Guide by Fitter, Fitter. & Farrer.
  • Colour Identification Guide to the Grasses, Sedge, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and north-western Europe by Rose.
  • Grasses, Ferns, Mosses & Lichens of Great Britain & Ireland by Phillips.
  • A Field Guide to Grasses, Sedges and Rushes.  The Species Recovery Trust by Price.
  • Start to Identify Grasses by Faith Anstey.


  • BSBI Grass ID page. Links and resources to help you get started with grass ID or to build up your skills.
  • BSBI Plant Crib. Detailed sheets for some difficult taxa including bromes, oat-grasses and many more.
  • BSBI Species Accounts cover a wide range of species, including many important grasslands species.


Social Media

We'll be posting updates to the project on our Facebook page and Twitter using the hashtag #IrishGrasslandsProject. Please follow along and join in!

In addition to regular updates, we'll also be highlighting some of our fantastic grass species in "Grass of the Week" features throughout the summer. These will be posted by Jessica Hamilton each week on Facebook and Twitter. Check out the #IrishGrassOfTheWeek hashtag starting mid-June.

Grassland Overview by Fionnuala O'Neill ©NPWS

Grassland on Inis Oirr by Maria Long

Grassland on Inis Oirr by Maria Long

Grassland with orchids by Orla Daly ©NPWS

Molinia meadow by Maria Long

Meadow grazing by Jim Martin ©NPWS

Support for this project was generously provided by NPWS and CEDaR