Bats in the Belfry – The Waterford Bats in Churches Survey


Soprano Pipistrelle (Photo: Phil Richardson)

Are there bats in your local church?  If so, your church could be  a valuable habitat  for one of Ireland’ s more elusive and highly protected mammal species and of interest to  the MISE project and Bat Conservation Ireland who have just launched a Bats in Churches Survey in County Waterford.  The  MISE Project, BCIreland and Waterford County Council  are interested in finding out how many of our churches host bat populations  and what types of species are  present.

All bat species and their roosts are protected by law and knowing where roosts are located will help local congregations to plan church renovations in a bat-friendly way. The survival of bats in Ireland is to a large extent dependent on keeping their roosts open and free from disturbance. Certain churches may be very important for bat populations in the area, so simply by tolerating the bats in their church, local congregations can contribute to the continued survival of their local bats and Irish bats as a whole.

Questionnaires have been sent out to clergy in 42 parishes across Waterford City and County, covering 82 churches. The survey will be extended  over the coming weeks to other church buildings, including some of those which may have been converted to other uses or may be currently disused but still standing.  This is the first county-wide survey of bats in churches to be carried out in Ireland.

The MISE project team are interested to hear from people involved in maintenance of churches in County Waterford or other members of the public who know of bat activity in their local church. Please contact Andrew Harrington, MISE Project Officer at or 087 4135544/051-395502.

For more information on bats in churches please see our leaflet, produced jointly by the MISE Project and Bat Conservation Ireland here.