West Connemara

We headed west to Cliften Eco campsite near the village of Claddaghduff and Omey Island. Its a lovely spot where time does,nt matter and one is plunged into relaxation. The location is a ‘machair’ a gently undulating sandy plain in an oceanic location found only in the ‘West’ of Ireland and in Scotland.

ImageAround the campsite Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) was very common

On our wanderings along the beaches we found Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) It grows all around our coastlines on many types of rocks and it is usually boiled and served with butter like Glasswort. I like the mouthwatering effect of the raw plant.

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Other plants growing in the splash zone nearby included Thrift (Armeria maritima) below and Sea sandwort ( Honckenya peploides) growing in the rocks and crevases.

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This is a picture of a silverweed  (Potentilla anserina) stolon among the rocks. The roots of this plant are edible and have been used by the Scottish when crops failed.

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Higher up on the shore line Babingtons Orache (Artiplex glabriuscula) growing among the rocks and washed up rubbish. This one is related to fat hen and seabeet whose leaves are boiled and served as a vegetable.

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The amount of rubbish washed up is just sad.

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A piece of Sugar Kelp ( Laminaria saccharina) also known as sweet kelp and Poor mans weather glass.It was traditionally placed above a door where it would dry out becoming stiff  to indicate fine weather or become limp if poor weather was on the way. It can also be pickled and eaten.

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Egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) was the most plentiful of the seaweeds we found. There was also a lot of Serrated wrack (Fucus serratus) in pic below and Channeled wrack (Pelvetia canaliculata).Very little Bladder Wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) was found. There were little bits of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) in some of the rock pools and some Dahlia Anemone ( Urticina felina) and the spidery looking furry Snakelocks (Anemonia viridis).

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The say you should only pick and eat shellfish with an R in the month. Its not that you will be poisoned if you do its just that the higher temperatures in the water mean that the animals are filtering more water as they grow and therefore the risk of injesting pollutants is greater. It also give them a chance to recover.

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Omey island is accessible accross a beach between the tides. Its a lovely place with one man still living there.

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There were some beautiful Orchids in flower. This one was less than a foot high and did’nt have spots on its leaves.

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In a wet channel some Mint (Mentha spp.)

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A field of yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) in a wet hollow on Omey Island

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There were fields of borage near former habitation  and fields of wildflowers with oxeye daisys (Leucanthemum vulgare) . The oxeye daisy is found all along the roadsides.

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We stopped at Derryclare forest which has been planted with Lodgepole pine (Pinus cordata) used as a pioneer species by coillte. The male flowers are quite distinct.

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The leaves are in 2s with spiked cones and the female flowers are red.

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On the gravel track through the forest a small patch of delicate looking Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) This pretty looking thing is carnivorous. Insects get stuck on the flower and secreted enzymes dissolve the victim.

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Near Oughterard we visited Brigits garden.

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An example of a living willow sculpture for children to play in.

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A mound with various thyme

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Some yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) in the meadow. This plant is a  hemi- parasite and uses its haustoria (like roots) to take water and minerals from neighbouring plants. It’s really important in native wildflower meadows as it helps to keep grasses at bay.

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A spiral shaped herb bed in the more formal part of the gardens.

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Some wormwood (Artemisia absinthum) used in the making of Absinth. It has a very nice smell.

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The curry plant (Helichrysum italicum) which smell strongly of curry. wonderful.

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Some Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) used traditionally with beef and to aid digestion.

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Scented Geranium ( Pelargonium graveolens)

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Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla spp)  the leaves can be used in salads.

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Love this.

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A most relaxing trip with lots of interest.

 

 

 

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One thought on “West Connemara

  1. Great post Pat, I visited Omey island last year, it’s a beautiful place especially when the sun is shining. I love that last photo of the layered pot…great idea!

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