The family who are saving vulnerable frogs in South Co. Dublin

by Gary Ibbotson

Once a year for three-weeks in early Spring, a Sandyford family travel up to Ballyedmonduff Road in Barnacullia to save the lives of migrating frogs, often killed trying to cross the road.

Deirdre McCabe and her family – husband Chris and two daughters – have been undertaking the task for more than five years now, and this year is no different, she says.

“One evening me and my daughter were waking home and noticed frogs crossing the road,” says McCabe.

She says that they began monitoring the frogs and saw that cars were running over them and killing them without realising.

“So, we began going up with our buckets and helped them across the road. We probably looked like mad people,” she says laughing.

McCabe says that the family are “animal lovers,” and always help out when they can – even feeding the deer that sometimes stray into the garden of their Dublin Mountain home.

“We have four cats and three dogs, and all the wildlife around us,” she says.

McCabe says that the frogs migrate around the same time every year and journey to a pond beside the nearby quarry to mate.

“We have seen some frogs even mating while crossing the road and get splatted by a car,” she says.

McCabe says that hundreds of frogs make the trek every year but couldn’t estimate how many they save or get killed.

She says that the operation is purely family ran but expresses frustration at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council not doing more to help the small amphibians.

“I have written to the council but it has fallen on deaf ears,” she says. “It’s a country road (Ballyedmonduff Road), it could be closed for a short time to allow their safe crossing.”

Green Party councillor Deirdre Ni Fhloinn says that she’s been made aware of the family’s work and has put out the word for local volunteers to help out McCabe in the coming weeks.

“A number of local Greens have volunteered,” says Cllr Ni Fhloinn.

This year, McCabe says that with the recent bad weather the frogs have receded slightly but expects them to continue their journey once the temperature picks up.

Overall, she says she wants drivers to be “mindful” of their speed on the road and look out for the migrating frogs, hopefully saving some frogs in the process.

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