Friday, July 24, 2015

Dunes and Tombs.

Once again Sligo called us. This time to the dunes at Strandhill which is a renowned area for Orchids and other plants as well as
Six spot Burnet moth.
        a habitat for butterflies, lizards and apparently Natterjack toads.
Home made southern fried chicken.
After first having our picnic of  Southern fried chicken and collecting the next days dinner( mussels) at our usual place, we then proceeded to the dunes.
Marsh Helleborine.
We were not disappointed, although we have seen most of the Orchids that these dunes are the habitat for, we had not seen them before in Ireland. We did  however see two Orchid that we had never seen before,
                                                        the Pyramidal Orchid
Frog Orchid.
and the Frog Orchid.
Harebells with Pyramidal Orchid
The dunes are teaming with flora as well as moths ,
Marsh Fritillary
                     butterflies and birds.
We  failed to see any lizards, or the debateable Natterjack toad.
Spotted was a lovely red fungi, but without spore counts it is impossible to be sure exactly what it is, and yellow tailed bumble bees.
The larger dolman.
From the dunes we decided it was time to visit the nearby Carrowmore tombs,
these are definitely worth making the effort to see,
Stone circles marking grave sites.
dating back 5-5800 years they are believed to be the first of the passage tombs to have been built in Ireland and is the largest site of megalithic tombs in Ireland, they are one of the four major sites here.
There are over sixty tombs, thirty of which are visible,

10m high Cairn.
 arranged facing one  central  Cairn. We didn't spend nearly enough time there as we had the pressing need to get home to pick fruit before the wild birds ate the lot,
The birds did leave us some.
unfortunately they have beaten us to it with the gooseberries, they kindly left us just a couple of pounds.

The raspberries and redcurrants are well covered with netting, the blackcurrants, which the birds could have real feast on have largely been left alone,
Too many blackcurrants again.
thankfully a friend visited us the day after picking and was grateful for a bucket full of currants, the birds have eaten most of hers.
 So far I have bottled ten jars full, with another ten pounds waiting to be processed and twice that amount waiting to be picked.
We are also having a bumper crop of raspberries, they however need little in the way of preparation, just a quick wash and then frozen, we have frozen well over ten pounds with plenty more to come plus we also have an Autumn variety which crops later.
Moules mariniere, fresh from the sea.
The garlic has done very well again, it has been  dug up and is now drying out. We wont have to buy any garlic  this year. The first onions have also been harvested and are also drying out before I string them.


  1. Lovely post, a little bit of everything. I like the idea getting the muscles, just not eating them. Pretty special to see orchids in the wild and you have got to love such an abundance of berries.

    1. It's getting a bit tiring having all those berries to prepare Lynda, I was hoping for less blackcurrants this year. I take it you don't eat seafood.

    2. Nope. Grew up on a farm (about 6 hrs from coast) with Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chickens, Rabbits but no seafood. I want to like it but i just dont. Just like i want to be very cosmopolitan and eat things like olives but i just cant stomach them.

  2. Such beautiful orchids. Love the stones, I wish we had some near here. They look fabulous, I love visiting circles. Great fruit crop, so far I have had a handful of raspberries but I'm really pleased as I've never grown them freezing them for when my daughter next visits :)

    1. Do you have many Orchids in your area B.G? If you are where I think you are you do have one of the few remaining sites in the UK where wild fritillary's can be seen, I would love to see the wild ones.
      This is the first year we have had such a bumper crop of raspberries, we planted them four years ago and it has taking this long for them to really establish.

  3. What a lovely post, full of interesting things. Love the photo of the large dolman, so atmospheric.

    1. Thanks Chickpea, do you have dolmans in Cornwall? I know there are barrows and other such sites.

  4. Lovely photographs. We have visited quite a few stone circles, standing stones and forts here in Ireland.

  5. Thanks Dave, on our first farm here we had a Ring Fort and on our second one we had an intact Sweat Lodge complete with the plunge pool, Ireland is littered with Neolithic , bronze and iron age sites. It's history is here for all to see.

  6. What a fabulous place to visit with so much wildlife to see. It doesn't take the birds long to strip fruit plants, does it? Glad you beat them to it with most things.