Climate Action Project

Abbeyleix Climate Action Project Launched

A project aiming to engage the community of Abbeyleix with action for climate change ran from October 2020 to March 2021, with support from Creatove Ireland Laois, in partnership with Laois Heritage Office, Midlands Science and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns.

Science Communicator Dr Niamh Shaw worked with the community in Abbeyleix and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns for 6 months, organising a series of engagement and events, detailed in the short film below.


Robbie Quinn, Chair of Abbeyleix Tidy Towns said “Abbeyleix Tidy Towns is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Niamh Shaw on this exciting project. Abbeyleix is well known as an important Heritage Town and we now intend to work closely with Niamh to become equally well known as a model green/sustainable town. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Laois County Council, Midlands Science and Creative Ireland Laois for their support in getting this project off the ground.”

An award-winning science communicator, writer, performer, engineer and scientist, Dr Niamh Shaw is a passionate advocate of sustainability and women in science. She has consulted on projects with European Space Agency, Arts@CERN, Lottie Dolls and The Ark Children’s Centre and has been making work for the public for over 10 years with podcasts, videos, public talks, family events, workshops, social media, and chatting on TV and the radio.  Niamh presents space and Earth-themed content for younger viewers on RTÉ television’s “Home School Hub” to support families who are homeschooling during the pandemic.


Speaking at the project launch, Niamh said “It’s an important time for us all to consider how to make lasting and positive change to our local environment and ultimately our planet and I’m delighted to be working with the community of Abbeyleix on such a vital topic. The town has already achieved extraordinary initiatives that focus on climate action, and it’s my job to spread the word and get the local community more involved. Let’s see what we can possibly create together over the next six-months of my science communicating residency.”


Fast Facts on Climate Action

A series of short clips have been made, talking to people in and around Abbeyleix about simple actions we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint. Click below to access the clips.


Local Heroes of Climate Action

The Abbeyleix Climate Action project team also worked to bring together interested people and groups for a series of presentations during Science Week in November 2020. These were presented online due to public health restrictions and the panels are now available to view on the Laois Heritage Youtube channel, click below to access the three panel discussions.


The project is a partnership between Abbeyleix Tidy Towns, Laois County Council, Creative Ireland Laois and Midlands Science. Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer and Creative Ireland Co-coordinator with Laois County Council said “We are delighted to have Niamh on board to help us to bring the community together to engage with climate change in a new way. We hope that looking at the issue in a creative way will help it to resonate more personally with people, and seem a bit less overwhelming. The Creative Ireland Programme gives us great scope to explore topics in new ways and a huge subject like climate change is one that definitely needs a creative approach”.

Jackie Gorman CEO of Midlands Science said “We are really pleased to collaborate with Laois County Council, Creative Ireland and Abbeyleix Tidy Towns on this exciting new project which will focus on how a community can engage with the science of climate action and affect change locally. Midlands Science has been working locally on various science outreach projects within schools and the community in recent years to help people to engage with the science of climate change and to understand how we as individuals can have an impact on climate change. One of the best ways we can enable our society to address climate change effectively is to raise our overall level of scientific literacy and engage in actions and discussions on issues such as energy, diet, travel and clothes, informed by science and concerned with a sustainable future for everyone.”


Abbeyleix Almanac TV

A “magazine style” programme about local wildlife, sustainability, community  and heritage projects live-streamed on the Abbeyleix Facebook page during February and March 2021. The Abbeyleix Almanac programme grew from the Climate Action Project and was driven by Abbeyleix Tidy Towns with help from Science Communicator Dr Niamh Shaw.


Climate Change Speakers Series


A series of international speakers on climate change hosted conversations online at the Laois Heritage Forum Facebook page during February and March 2021. Full details here.


Psychotherapist Sally Weintrobe spoke on the topic of Climate Anxiety – her full talk with Q&A is below.


For more information on the project or to get involved please contact

Mark Clancy, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns; Robbie Quinn, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns; Catherine Casey, Laois Heritage Officer; Niamh Shaw, Science Communicator in Residence; Mary White, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns; Ann Lawlor, Creative Ireland Laois and Dr Fiona MacGowan, Abbeyleix Tidy Towns at the Community Garden Abbeyleix for a start up meeting for the new Abbeyleix Climate Action Project in partnership with Abbeyleix Tidy Towns. The initiative is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council and Midlands Science.
Picture: Alf Harvey.