21 July Tomies Wood. The week began with a visit to Tomies Wood, the most extensive of the oakwoods of Killarney. We made a short stop at an experimental exclosure, where we saw the dramatic effects on the ground flora of excluding grazing mammals (sika deer mainly). (The resulting lush undergrowth may be to the detriment of the bryophytes in the short term, but the experiment indicates that in the longer term a reduction in grazing pressure is required to ensure the survival of these woods.)
We drove through the wood, then made our way down the steep hillslope to where the stream below O’Sullivan’s Cascade flows into Lough Leane. The rocks in the stream bed bore abundant Rhynchostegium lusitanicum and Isothecium holtii. The sides of the wooded glen yielded a profusion of oceanic species: Sematophyllum demissum and S. micans, Plagiochila spp. (including P. killarniensis), Cephalozia spp. (including C. hibernica), Radula holtii, etc.
Newcomers to the B. B. S. learnt fast and feverishly, at the same time adapting themselves to the rather special pace of bryologists. The hundred metres or so from L. Leane upstream to O’Sullivan’s Cascade became a vast distance, so much was there to encounter along the way. In fact, the bulk of the party never really arrived at the Cascade; it was time to leave for our lunches while most of us were as yet scarcely in sight of the pool below the lowermost falls. This was the first occasion for the Scots contingent to display their rock-climbing prowess; instead of going down and around like the rest, Gordon Rothero and David Long clambered straight up the series of falls – and were rewarded with the find of Cyclodictyon laetevirens.
After lunch we followed the stream past Lamb’s Falls and up through the wood, getting better acquainted with the same rich flora.
Back to the cars, and thence to the open shore of L. Leane near Tomies Cottage. The lakeshore was backed by an interesting, heterogeneous area of fen and flush, from which Jean Paton soon flushed out two new records for H.1: Riccardia incurvata and Ephemerum serratum var. minutissimum. The latter represented for some of us a new order of magnitude in our bryophyte concepts! Relaxing at the end of the afternoon from the high discipline of pure bryology, we were able to lift our gaze to such giants as Wahlenbergia hederacea, Scirpus setaceus and Eleocharis acicularis (probably best spotted by looking for bryophytes…)
22 July The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks: Beenkeragh. The mountains looked hazy and remote on this sultry day. We trekked up the long trail to the Hag’s Glen and Lough Gouragh, pausing at the outflow from the lake for rest and/or collecting. Cyclodictyon was located by the Dutch contingent in a cleft in the cliffs above the lake. A tricky set of rock-faces soon separated the goats (mainly Scots) from the sheep (the shepherd, Donal Synnott, striking upward with the goats). A long, stiff climb was broken, for the sheep, by a picnic on a craggy ridge with a view of the towering peak and stupendous cliffs of Carrauntuohil (3414′, the highest point in Ireland). Most of the party subsequently converged around the summit of Beenkeragh (3314′); the Scots, of course, went on to conquer Carrauntuohil as well. The cliffs of the saddle between the two peaks proved to be the richest ground. The long spell of hot, dry weather meant that the dryness of the ground was remarkable, even at 3000′; this was a boon for climbing, but not for bryophyte-spotting. The principal finds at the higher altitudes included Scapania ornithopodioides, Sphenolobopsis pearsonii, Mastigophora woodsii and Sphagnum subfulvum. Scapania nimbosa, found by Careen McDaeid on Beenkeragh some years previously, eluded us on this occasion.
23 July Glenbeigh area: Lake Coomasaharn. An idyllic place, on an idyllic day. The party worked its leisurely way around the western shore of Lake Coomasaharn, making towards the corrie cliffs at the head of the lake. The air temperature must have risen into the 80’s; the bogs went ‘scrunch, scrunch, scrunch’ under our feet, instead of the familiar ‘squelch, squelch, squelch’. At lunchtime some of us experienced the inhabitual pleasure of a cooling dip in a corrie lake.
The corrie cliffs yielded some species that were becoming familiar – we were by now quite blasé about Cyclodictyon, found here in some quantity. The abundance of a small form of Jungermannia gracillima was notable; Jean Paton assured us that, whilst it would never key out to this, this was what it was. We believed her.
We scrambled up into the higher corrie containing Lough Cullen. At the water’s edge, David Long spotted the tiny, unliverwort-like liverwort Haplomitrium hookeri, not recorded in Kerry for over a hundred years. The cliff-hanging exploits of Gordon Rothero resulted in the discovery of Leptodontium recurvifolium.
24 July. After a late start the party travelled westward from Killorglin along the north coast of the Beara Peninsula. First stop was at the sand dunes at Rossbehy (64 91), near Glenbeigh. A brief search on hands and knees produced a short list of about twenty bryophytes, including Fossombronia incurva and Bryum marratii. Moving further west the next port of call was the coastal heath near Roads (51 87), west of Kells Bay. Here we said farewell to the group from Trinity College who departed for Dublin after lunch. Bryologising continued in earnest despite the descending cloud layer and the advent of the first rain of the meeting. A deep coastal ravine, south of Gull Rocks (51 87), yielded yet more Cyclodictyon laetevirens as well as Jubula hutchinsiae, Anthoceros husnotii, Fissidens curnovii and Dicranella rufescens amongst others. Jean Paton noted Cladopodiella francisci growing abundantly on gravel banks along the coastal path whilst Donal Synnott continued to collect candidates for Sphagnum subfulvum on the flushed peaty slopes above. Colura calyptrifolia and Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia were spotted by David Long growing as epiphytes on Ulex europaeus. On the return journey to Killorglin the party stopped briefly to examine a small wooded valley in Kells (55 87). This produced such notable species as Plagiochila killarniensis, Marchesinia mackaii (epiphytic on trunks of Ash trees), and Frullania teneriffae. Pylaisia polyantha was recorded in the field growing on trunks of Lime trees. However, specimens examined more critically at a later date proved to be Hypnum cupressiforme var. resupinatum.
25 July. The party reassembled in the morning on the west shore of Caragh Lake, just north of Lough Beg (71 90). Here, Archidium alternifolium was found growing in abundance on the seasonally flooded lake margin. An hour’s bryologising turned up Fossombronia foveolata, Ephemerum serratum, Plagiochila killarniensis and Hypnum lindbergii, amongst others, but a search for Haplomitrium hookeri proved unsuccessful. A short drive southward along the road brought us to a tributary of the Caragh River, just north of the Meelagh River (69 86). A search amongst the boulder strewn wooded river banks yielded a rich bryoflora including Sematophyllum demissum, Adelanthus decipiens, Fissidens pusillus, Blepharostoma trichophyllum and Lejeunea lamacerina. An examination of the woodland at Blackstones Bridge (71 86) proved much less fruitful so the party moved on to the north-west shore of Lough Yganavan (71 96). Although more Fossombronia foveol ata and Archidium alternifolium were found on this sandy/peat lake shore, bryophytes had to take second place to an exceptional higher plant flora which included Radiola linoides, Sisyrinchium bermudiana, Cicendia filiformis, Scutellaria minor and Parentucellia viscosa, all in great abundance.
26 July. The party split into two groups, the main body spending the day at Coomnacronia Lake (60 86). Approach was made across moorland from a rough track which runs to near the lower Coomaglaslaw Lake. The rising moorland to the lip of the corrie had a number of Schoenus nigricans flushes which contained Calliergon stramineum and Drepanocladus revolvens. The boulders at the outlet of the lake, at about 1100 ft., had Radula voluta, R. aquilegia, Neckera crispa, Pterogonium gracile and Ulota hutchinsiae. Along the eastern shore Glyphomitrium daviesii was found by Huub van Melick. This area also produced Racomitrium ellipticum, Adelanthus decipiens, Drepanolejeunea hamatifolia and Colura calyptrifolia. Jean Paton recorded several more interesting species including Radula carringtonii and Fontinalis antipyretica var. gigantea. Basic cliffs at the south west end of the corrie yielded Anoectangium aestivum, Leptoscyphus cuneifolius, Eremonotus myriocarpus, Campylopus setifolius, Lophozia ventricosa var. silvicola and Cephaloziella stellulifera, to name but a few. Time did not allow a visit to Coomaglaslaw, to the east at about 850 ft., but a look from the lip of that corrie suggested that the better rocks are in the south-west corner under Mullaghnarakill.
A second group, David Long, Gordon Rothero and Neil Lockhart, set off early in the morning to walk the ridge path of the Magillicuddy Reeks. Access to the ridge was made by following the Black Stream (83 86) up to the corrie Cummeenapeasta. Antitrichia curtipendula was found on boulders around the lake. The boulder scree to the east of the lake provided the route to the ridge, at c. 2,800 ft., and also produced many interesting bryophytes including Douinia ovata, Mastigophora woodsii, Anastrepta orcadensis, Tetrodontium brownianum, Hygrobiella laxifolia, Dicranella subulata and Barbula ferruginascens. The long walk to Carrantwohill was rewarded by finds of Scapania nimbosa, S. ornithopodioides and Bazzania pearsonii beneath its summit.