The BBS had previously met only twice in Northern Ireland, in Belfast (1928) and Fermanagh (2005). In the 1950s Bob and Jean Fitzgerald were active in Co. Tyrone and in the north-east. This activity ceased before the start of the BBS atlas scheme, so that common species such as Tortula muralis were woefully under-recorded. There was a particularly glaring
‘white hole’, with no bryophytes recorded at all, covering the area north of Lough Neagh and spanning Counties Antrim (H39) and Londonderry (H40). Another under-recorded
area lay further west, in the Irish Republic between northern Mayo (H26 & H27) and southern Sligo (H28). To plug these gaps we visited Counties Antrim, Londonderry, Mayo
and Sligo, staying first at Macosquin near Coleraine and then in Ballina on the Mayo-Sligo border.