Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Photo courtesy Randal Plunkett
Randall Plunckett poses in front of his home, Dunsany Castle, near Dublin.
By Alfred Robert Hogan
Lord Randal Plunkett, the 21st Baron of Dunsany, is not your stereotypical noble. The Irish former steak-eating, heavy metal music-loving bodybuilder inherited his 11th-century, 650-hectare estate in County Meath, some 30 kilometers northwest of Dublin, just before turning 30, upon the 2011 death of his father. In the intervening decade, Plunkett became a strict vegan in 2014, removing herds of cows and sheep and banning hunting. He has also replaced the lawns and most crops, rewilding much of the land back to nature (300 hectares so far—some 200 hectares to forest, and 100 hectares to grassy fields), in Ireland’s largest private example of that concept. He also has rehabilitated wildlife—including, in recent months, six injured foxes, 12 hedgehogs, and myriad birds. The New York City-born Plunkett, 38, also works as a film director and producer.
The climate crisis motivates Plunkett’s rewilding effort. (The UN has said humans must rewild an area at least equivalent to China.) Plunkett has won praise from the European Rewilding Network, BirdWatch Ireland, and the Irish Bee Conservation Project. “At a time when global warming is a massive issue, there are very few doing anything really about it,” Pluckett told The Irish Times. “I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I… can do something to help.” He remains undaunted despite receiving some death threats for his environmental activism.
In the 1980s, the Emerald Isle had some 500 pristine rivers and lakes. Now, just 20. In Plunkett’s words, “We are already on the last bus, but if we all got together and acted now and governments followed, then we still have a chance.”
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