Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
We usually attend the Saint Patrick’s day parade in one of the local town’s with the children’s school, but this year they decided they wanted a break. It was a dry day, but bitterly cold with a blustery easterly wind.
Avoiding towns we headed toward the Nephin Wilderness Area (Wild Nephin). It is a rather grand title for what is 11,000 hectares of planted forest and upland agricultural land, though admittedly there is also plenty bogs, heaths, lakes, rivers and mountains.
The landscape is stunning. There is plenty to see, particularly if you like walking or cycling. The area includes much of the Nephin Beg Mountain Range, which is a beautiful but little explored part of Ireland.
Above the sky is grey, but we haven’t had anymore snow since very early this morning and Storm Emma has gone. Wedneday’s daffodils are a bit deeper in snow. And the school is closed so we can have some fun in the snow.
It was supposed to be a bunny but we think it looks more like a mouse!
In the west of Ireland, snow is not common. And we’ve had quite a bit already this winter. This afternoon, we had a dusting of unusually, soft powdery snow.
Miniature daffodils in snow
Usually, it is damp snow perfect for making snowmen. We’re told we will get more snow tomorrow night as Storm Emma makes her way from the Bay of Biscay and hits some cold Siberian air. Blizzard like conditions are expected in the east and south, where snowfall has already been heavier. The last time we had a blizzard was 1982, so it is really not something we are used to! Keep safe everyone.
The photograph below shows hawthorn branches encrusted in various different lichens. Trees are not just trees, but living ecosystems in their own right.
There are at least eight different lichens here, and these are all on the same tree! It is estimated that there are 1,165 species lichens growing in Ireland, so maybe eight on one tree isn’t that many after all!
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Primroses are one of favorite spring flowers. They seem to be flowering early this year. At the edge of our garden, there are the remains of a hedgerow. It used to be a field boundary but these days it just has a few old hawthorn trees, and one or two bushes of gorse. The trees are planted on top of a soil bank and at the top of the hill the bank is particularly steep and each spring it is carpeted in primroses. The snails or slugs seem to like the flowers too, as many of the flower petals have chunks missing out of them.
The scientific name for our native primrose is Primula vulgaris. There is also a salmon pink variety, which is much less common but also thought to be native. In fact, I know where some grow in our neigbourhood. In Ireland, primroses are typically found growing in hedgerows, woodlands and roadside banks.