President Michael D Higgins has welcomed seven indigenous Dexter cattle for a three-month stay on the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.

The cattle are set to graze the grounds of the Áras as part of a programme to enhance the biodiversity of the 130-acre site in the Phoenix Park.

The arrangement arises from a recent biodiversity audit, which recommended a sustainable growing regime for the grounds and the presence of cattle to promote an improvement in the biodiversity of the meadows.

The cows will reside at the Áras for a few months each year, but will not be present in late spring or summer to allow native flowers an opportunity to flourish and produce seeds.

These cattle are normally based in north Co Dublin and are part of a sustainable grazing programme along Fingal County Council’s protected coastal lands.

Biodiversity recommendations

Further recommendations from the audit include combining appropriate mowing to reduce the nutrient load in the soil and the introduction of grass-suppressing yellow rattle.

These measures are aimed at allowing for the establishment of indigenous wildflowers, with corresponding increases in fauna dependant on such a diversity of flora.

The audit was commissioned for President Higgins by the Office of Public Works and undertaken by researchers from Trinity College.