Limerick was chosen for the first week of the Irish meeting. It is a good communications centre and allowed us to visit little-known areas in several vice-counties.
19 August. The turloughs are a characteristic feature of the limestone of County Clare (H. 9) and our first excursion was to Fin Lough, beyond Sixmilebridge. Ricciocarpus natans, growing on some very soft mud, was the most interesting of several species new to the county. The nearby Lough Cullaunyheeda had some fine Bryum neodamense and Campylium elodes. We finished the day by a visit to some more acid ground on the west side of Slievebernagh, going up a muddy lane to some open ground higher up on the hill. This produced no less than fourteen new county records, including Pohlia muyldermansii, P. camptotrachela, Hypnum lindbergii, Riccia warnstorfii and Pellia neesiana.
20 August. The day’s excursion was to Clare Glens, a sandstone ravine a few miles to the east of Limerick. Clare Glens of course are not in Co. Clare – this is Ireland – but partly in Co. Limerick (H.8) and partly in Co. Tipperary (H.10). For the first half of the day the rain was torrential, but it cleared up later. On the Tipperary side of the stream we found nineteen bryophytes new to the vice-county, including Fissidens exiguus (new to Ireland), Hygroamblystegium fluviatile, Leptodontium flexifolium, Cololejeunea calcarea and Zygodon viridissimus var. stirtonii. Other species included Dumortiera hirsuta, Marchesinia mackaii and Lophocolea fragrans. On the Limerick side we spent less time, but made a few additions, including Zygodon conoideus. We finished with a stop at a meadow upstream and added to the North Tipperary flora Dicranella schreberana, Riccia sorocarpa and a few other gap-fillers.
21 August. Keeper Hill, at 2278 feet the highest in the district, had to be visited. After an abortive attempt from the west we eventually assaulted the hill from the south, struggling up through Molinia tussocks on a day of high winds and frequent heavy squalls of rain. Those few brave spirits who reached the top found little to reward them there, but the way up produced several good new records for North Tipperary, including Nardia compressa, Lepidozia trichoclados, Calypogeia neesiana. Sphagnum robustum and Marsupella sphacelata. A very muddy little coppice at the foot of the hill proved rewarding, with Fissidens celticus, Plagiochila killarniensis and fruiting Metzgeria fruticulosa. A visit on the way back to Silvermines, with its extensive spoil heaps, was a little disappointing, but Thuidium delicatulum, T. philibertii and Barbula ferruginascens brought the day’s total of new records to twenty-four.
22 August. On this day the party divided. One contingent went south of the Shannon to the Askeaton area of Co. Limerick ( H. 8). Isothecium striatulum was seen on the abbey ruins. New records included Amblystegiella confervoides, Gymnostomum calcareum, Gyroweisia tenuis and Pottia recta. Fissidens crassipes was added from Curragh Chase. A second party returned to Co. Clare, visiting first of all a raised bog near Derrymore House, noted as promising-looking on the first day. It proved worthwhile, with a rich Sphagnum flora and three liverworts new to the county: Calypogeia sphagnicola, Cephaloziella subdentata and Cephalozia media. Visits to a couple of nearby lakes and to Woodcock Hill filled in a few more gaps in the flora of the county.
23 August. We visited the hills to the west of Newcastle West in Co. Limerick. The main stop was at the ravine of the R. Daar by Glenaster House. The water level was very high and must have reduced the number of species seen. New to the county were Fissidens celticus, Plagiochila britannica, Radula lindenbergiana and Colura calyptrifolia. Other good finds included Frullania germana and fruiting Metzgeria fruticulosa. A roadside stop at Sugar Hill added Ditrichum cylindricum and Pohlia lutescens. Knockanimpaha, visited not only for its name, yielded Pohlia lescuriana, new to Ireland, and, on a cutaway bog, Pallavicinia lyellii.
24 August. The party again divided. Some went north to the shores of Lough Dearg and made some interesting additions to the flora of North Tipperary, including Tortula papillosa, Fissidens crassipes and Scapania aspera. Others paid a final visit to Co. Clare and worked a 10 km square to the west of Ennis. Physcomitrella patens and Anthoceros husnotii were seen by Lough Burke. A fortunate misreading of the map lead to the R. Inagh, a little to the north, and to Fossombronia husnotii, Epipterygium tozeri and Dicranella rufescens.
25 August. A travelling day. We shook the litter of Limerick from our feet and drove to the pleasantly rural village of Glengarriff. On the way we stopped at Tralee, and paid homage to Gyroweisia luisieri first seen on a wall near the station in 1951. We found it without difficulty, though with much less fruit on it than in 1951. The way to Glengarriff led past the Tore Cascade, near Killarney, and it was impossible to pass without stopping – three cars met there without prior arrangement. Most of the population of Kerry seemed to have found the attractions of Tore equally irresistible, but in spite of the crowd we found many of the rarities for which it is well known; and we drove to Glengarriff in rain and low cloud, ruefully remembering that oceanic species must be paid for in wet weather.
26 August. We awoke to brilliant sunshine, inaugurating a spell of five days of warm sunny weather. We had several new recruits so that on some days our numbers were over twenty. We had, too, an additional presence, the benevolent and gentle ghost of Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) whose home was just round the corner of Bantry Bay. She was a brilliant field cryptogamic botanist and the list of her discoveries is a long one, including not only all those species with the epithet “hutchinsiae“, but many more besides. This was her country, and during the week we re-found many of her plants though some, such as Leiocolea bantriensis, were not revealed to us.
The first day’s excursion was to the woods in the immediate neighbourhood of Glengarriff. We did not make many additions to the flora of West Cork (H. 3). – Fissidens celticus, F. curnowii and Tritomaria exsecta were the most interesting – but we did find a great many oceanic species that people were pleased to see: Fissidens polyphyllus, Daltonia splachnoides, Sematophyllum demissum, Fossombronia husnotii, Lepidozia cupressina, Telaranea nematodes, Lejeunea flava, Colura calyptrifolia, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia, etc.
27 August. The excursion was to Glen Beag Lough and the adjoining hill of Lackawee, to the west of Glengarriff. On a beautiful day Leptodontium recurvifolium and Pohlia lescuriana were added to the flora of W. Cork. There was a rich Radula flora, including R. voluta, R. holtii, R. lindenbergiana and R. aquilegia Other species included Herberta adunca subsp. hutchinsiae, Jubula hutchinsiae, Lejeunea holtii, Marchesinia mackaii and Gymnomitrion crenulatum.
28 August. Uragh Wood by Inchiquin Lough, to the north-west of Glengarriff but in Co. Kerry (H. 1) was visited this day. South Kerry is a well-worked vice-county and nothing new to it was found, but the rocks and streams of the wood give it a rich flora including many of the species seen on the two preceding days. Noteworthy were both the Sematophyllum spp., Metzgeria temperata, Lophocolea fragrans, Plagiochila corniculata, Harpalejeunea ovata, Cephalozia catenulata and Adelanthus decipiens.
29 August. We drove a few miles to the north-east, to Gouganebarra lake. Streams and ravines in the conifer plantations surrounding the lake produced many of the small hepatics already seen. In the open ground above Ted Wallace found Campylopus shawii. After lunch we went up by different routes to the ridge above and made several additions to the flora of West Cork: Rhabdoweisia crenulata, Sphagnum recurvum var. tenue (new to Ireland), Cephaloziella hampeana, Anthelia julacea, Lepidozia pearsonii and Anastrepta orcadensis.
30 August. The party divided. One car load went north into Kerry, worked up the Roughty River, and found several species that had not been seen previously on the meeting. New to South Kerry were Metzgeria fruticulosa, Eurhynchium murale, and Gyroweisia luisieri. Others explored the Sheep’s Head peninsula, on the south side of Bantry Bay. Among species new to West Cork were Bryum tenuisetum (new to Ireland), Odontoschisma elongatum (the second Irish record), Fossombronia incurva and Calypogeia sphagnicola.
31 August. By now the spell of fine weather had come to an end and we were confronted with low cloud and driving rain. A wet and not particularly productive stop by the Adrigole River was followed by a rash sortie to some higher ground where at Glen Lough Jean Paton managed to rescue from drowning some Atrichum tenellum, new to Ireland. A descent to the sea shore, where the weather was a little less impossible, produced a few final new records for West Cork: Grimmia trichophylla var. robusta, Leptodontium flexifolium, Bryum ruderale and Lejeunea lamacerina var. azorica.
So ended a most enjoyable and profitable meeting, attended by a good number of Irish and British members and by some very welcome visitors from the Netherlands. We found five species or varieties new to Ireland, made over 150 new vice-county records, of which only a fraction have been listed here, and made lists from twenty-seven 10-kilometre squares, averaging nearly 100 per square. All those who participated owe a big debt of gratitude to Donal Synnott for his efficient organisation and excellent leadership.
A. C. Crundwell