Tag Archives: Moorehall

Wild Christmas 30th December

Continuing with my 12 days of Christmas wild things, we had a lovely walk at Moore Hall today. Moorehall is designated Special Area of Conservation for Lesser Horseshoe Bat. There are a number of relatively new wildlife sculptures and benches which now add additional interest to the walk, which I have blogged about before. Bats of course are the highlight here.

But many other mammals were also present.

And other animals too, the pike and dragonfly associated wit Lough Carra, which borders the site.

Beauty and The Beast

Last Thursday was a great day for wildlife spotting. First we headed for a day out at Moorehall. Around the ruins of the hall we spotted a bat flying about in the middle of the day! Not a usual occurrence. The area is well known for it’s bats and includes a population of Lesser Horseshoe Bats, Ireland’s only horseshoe bat. Unfortunately, no photograph of that but we did see this beautiful Silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) not long after. This large butterfly likes deciduous woodlands so the woods around Moorehall are prefect habitat.

Silver washed Fritillary

Silver washed Fritillary

When we got home from our walk there was a female sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) sitting on the roof of the greenhouse. They nest in the conifier plantation just below the house and we have been treated to views during this last few weeks of the young and adults particularly during feeding time when the adults come home with some tasty morsel between their talons. Again I wasn’t fast enough with the camera. However, more was in store!

And our final wildlife highlight of the day was rescuing this strange creature from the water-butt by the greenhouse! It took a bit of time for it to dry off and probably also warm-up so plenty opportunity for some shots. It’s has two common names including giant horntail and great wood wasp (Urocerus gigas). The long rear appendage, which we originally thought may be a sting, is in fact a harmless oivposter. The females drills homes in wood and uses it to lay her eggs. It is perhaps somewhat unfair to refer to it as a ‘beast’ as suggested by my title, as really it looks pretty amazing. The near furry texture of it’s thorax reminds me of bumblebees. Still it’s probably not something you want to find flying around your bedroom!

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

Horntail or Wood wasp

Moorehall

A couple of weeks ago we went for a walk at Moorehall. Today the area is owned by Coillte and managed as a woodland. It is a lovely place to go for a walk. The house was built by George Moore and was completed in 1796. It was burnt down in 1923 during the Irish Civil War. There are a couple of websites which give some great background to the history of the house (http://www.oreillydesign.com/moorehall/index.html and http://www.enjoy-irish-culture.com/big-houses-moore-hall.html).

As well as the Hall there was a farmyard and stables. You can still walk through the tunnel that was built to provide a throughway from the farmyard to the coach house and racing stables without causing disturbance to the back lawn!

Then there is a huge walled garden, or at least the remains of it. It must have been an impressive sight in its time. The following website (http://www.oreillydesign.com/moorehall/housmain.html) has a fascinating diagram of what the garden would have looked like when fully functioning and it included four walnut trees, a glasshouse, fruit trees, vegetables and flowers. The trees included peach trees – not a normal crop for the west of Ireland!

The original house probably had views of Lough Carra but trees have now been planted right around the ruin. Some of the older trees are still in evidence though.

It was a cold day in February when we walked around, but we hope to return later in the spring or early summer when more of the woodland flora will be in evidence.