bluebells

Mountain Grove

Ireland

One of my first WordPress posts was the one about Jenkinstown Woods. Now, after a year, I am visiting another bluebell forest, Mountain Grove – a loop trail just outside Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

Mountain Grove is an old woodland part of Piltown forest that is located in South West Kilkenny, covering an area of 1,823 hectares. The forest stretches to the Tipperary border on the west and to the Waterford border on the south, along  the river Suir. The main tree species growing in the forest include Sitka spruce, larch, Douglas fir, beech, ash and oak, with the broadleaves dominating in Mountain Grove – as you can see in the images.

Starting off from the tiny parking spot, I meet two dog walkers and from this moment I am there alone for a whole two hours.

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The quietness is almost surreal. The birds are nesting and prefer not to expose themselves, and I don’t see any presence of the mammals either – dogs have scared them away from the grove.

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The bluebells are scarce but nevertheless their fragrance is intense, sweet and alluring. I walk off the trail and feel like I disappear from the world and become a part of the wild woodland.

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

The early purple orchid was once a common plant, but now it is a rare guest in the woodlands. Many wild orchids are legally protected, but this fact does not stop people picking them… A friend went to the Mountain Grove just three days later and didn’t find a single flower – all gone. People don’t realize that it takes years for the orchids to germinate.

The early purple orchid is the “long purple” of Ophelia’s garland, as referred to by Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, that liberal shepherds give a grosser name”

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Different species of Ferns started unrolling their young fronds. In the image below – Hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium).

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And of course there is a beautiful yet nameless stream.

Ireland

Ireland

I will be back!

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Hope you enjoyed the woodlands.

inesemjphotographyHave a happy week!

Bluebell day in Jenkinstown woods

My Grand Canyon memory trip worked very well. In spite of the bad forecast I woke up early and boldly went off to Jenkinstown. To my surprise, the weather started getting better, and by the time I arrived, there was summer.

Jenkinstown Park is a gem. At any season. It is sad to see that so many trees are cut down, home for the owls, pine martens, stouts and squirrels… I didn’t see any animals, but crossing a tiny path I felt a strong odor of a small carnivore. Might be a weasel…

Today I came to Jenkinstown Park for a special purpose. Early May is a season for bluebells, and this is the place!

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

A breathtaking carpet of  blue overtakes the forest floor and glorious smell fills the air. Photographers of all kinds make their annual pilgrimage.  Like today. The sun is shining through the leaves ( the sun and the copper beech tree have special relationships); a little robin is singing his simple fluting song… I wish I had time to stay here all the day, walk all the trails, catch a glimpse of a badger, find a sleeping owl or watch baby foxes playing… I only have two hours: one hour for photography, the other hour for having a marvellous time while walking back to the car park…

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstownThis year the bluebell season started late. I could come here next week and get a brighter blue, but I think that this delicate hazy shade is lovely.

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

I met a good few photographers, and even took a picture of a couple  by request. Young and old, they came here because  people need beauty. It is so wonderful that there are places like this one where you can come and fill yourself with beauty and peace.

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstownHeraclitus said that no man ever steps in the same river twice. I got caught twice in the same rain today – does it count? First time it showered me after I left the woods, on the way to Freshford, and then it got me when I was leaving Clonmel. Fresh, aggressive, dedicated to wet you to the bone… My bluebell season is over for this year, but I will visit Jenkinstown later in summer again.

Photography tip of the day: When taking pictures of bluebells try to either get down low to the ground or position your camera as high as you can.

inesemj_photographyHave a great weekend!