2020 County Report for Co. Clare

Hannah Mulcahy, Phoebe O'Brien, Donncha O'Cathain

County Clare VC changed hands this year to Phoebe O’Brien and Donncha O’Cathain appointed in May and later joined by Hannah Mulcahy, appointed in October. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Stephen Ward, who encouraged all three of us over the years, and continues to be generous with his time and knowledge.

Due to the pandemic and being new to this role, we have spent much of our first few months as VCRs coordinating ourselves, figuring out responsibilities and getting access to Ddb and Mapmate. 

We held our inaugural field meeting in July; this was a small, informal, socially-distanced field day with a few other BSBI members including recorders John Conaghan and Ciaran Bruton. At our meeting point we stumbled across Small toadflax which is very uncommon in county Clare. We drove to an area of limestone pavement/scrub/grassland next to a fen NW of Crusheen, where we found Hairy rockcress. Later in the day we went to the disused Garrus Quarry just east of Ennis with limestone spoil heaps, fen and scrub where we found a large population of Marsh helleborine.

The most exciting finds came via Tweets and emails, including the mostly westerly site for western clover Trifolium occidentale found on Inismore by Phil Grant, and a new county record for Eriophorum Gracile by Micheline Sheehy Skeffington. 

As we were busy botanising and social-distancing at the field meeting, later in the summer we managed to meet up in East Clare to have a cup of tea, and a walk  where we found a new site for Sambucus ebulus. If the lockdown has shown us anything, it’s that there’s still plenty to find in our own tetrads.  Please bear with us as we find our feet, and hopefully we will have a lot more to talk about in 2021!