The journey from home to Gortlecka Crossroads, in the heart of The Burren in Co. Clare, takes two hours and forty minutes according to the directions from Google maps and to drive there and back in one day would be a hard day indeed. The offer of travelling part of the way and taking a lift with a friend for the remainder of the journey made it a much more reasonable prospect and was one I accepted very gratefully. As well as sparing me the driving this arrangement had the advantage of giving me good company for the day which makes any day out all the more enjoyable.
The target orchid for the day was the Dark-red helleborine, one of our rarer orchids which has a very limited range – “confined to limestone pavements of counties Clare and Galway” says Brendan Sayers in his book, Ireland’s Wild Orchids, A Field Guide. It was spotted earlier in the week near Eagle Rock by a fellow enthusiast, word went out and the quest was on!
The directions were good and my companion on the day had been to the spot previously so the Dark-red helleborine was found quickly. We would have been delighted to have found one or two but fortune smiled on us and we located about two dozen with a good number in full flower, ready and posing for the camera. We oohed and aahed and gushed in delight and admiration at the little beauties – yes, such a simple beauty can bring great delight and I hope that sense of delight stays with me forever. Age hasn’t dulled it and I hope it never does.
There were other orchids found on the day – almost all of the Irish orchids grow on The Burren – and a big range of interesting wildflowers also but I will confine myself to the orchids in this selection of photographs. Enjoy!
And finally, an odd rock shape on The Burren and the hope that I will be back for a return visit before very long.