Ireland News Archive

This page contains previous issues of the Irish BSBI Newsletter and news items which have been removed from the BSBI Ireland page to make space for more recent updates. The annual Irish Botanical News publication has its own webpage.

2021 News

Aquatic Plant Project 2021

This year we are continuing to offer free training sessions as part of the Aquatic Plant Project, also thanks to NPWS funding. See the Aquatic Plant Project page for full details.

County Annual Reports for 2020

Every year we ask County Recorders to summarise the most interesting and exciting news from their counties. Here is a collation of their 2020 Annual Reports. Take a look - it is a great read! Individual County reports will also appear on county pages.

2020 News

Irish Grasslands Project - New Annex I Resources

As part of this year's Irish Grasslands Project we've created a series of free, downloadable resources around the four Annex I grassland habitats which occur in Ireland: Lowland Hay Meadows, Molinia Meadows, Nardus Uplands, and Semi-Natural Calcareous Grasslands. Each resource contains a description of the habitat, list of characteristic species, and descriptions and photos of 10 plant species which are good indicators for the habitat. We hope these will be useful to anyone interested in learning more about these important habitats or wanting to be able to identify them.

If you'd like the check them out, visit the Irish Grasslands Project webpage. On the page you'll also find videos and slides from the five webinars we ran this summer.

Big thanks to the authors, everyone who provided images, Maria Long for support and feedback, and NPWS and CEDaR for funding the project!

Irish Autumn Meeting and AGM

The 2020 Autumn meeting and AGM took place on Saturday, 26 September. It was held fully online for the first time but was still a great event. The meeting included a welcome from BSBI President Lynne Farrell and four talks covering Atlas 2020 and other botanical projects, followed by the formal AGM and election of new members to the Committee for Ireland.

Details about the meeting, including videos of the talks, are available on Autumn Meeting and AGM webpage.

Irish Grasslands Project

Grassland on Inis Oirr by Maria Long

This summer we launched a brand new project to highlight the importance of Irish semi-natural grasslands and help to improve the  identification skills needed to record them. We held 5 free online training courses covering introductory grass identification, vegetative grass identification, sedge identification, and an introduction to Annex I grassland habitats. We also are developing downloadable resources around Annex I grassland indicator species, and running Irish Grass of the Week on social media. For all the details, please check out the Irish Grasslands Project webpage. Thanks to NPWS and CEDaR for supporting this project. Photo by Maria Long.

Botanical Recording for Beginners

We know a lot of people love wildflowers, but not everyone chooses to record and share what they find. In August, we held a webinar as part of the Ellen Hutchins Festival all about how to get started with botanical recording, and why you should!  The session covered why we record plants, what information is needed for a useful plant record, and ways you can contribute your records to national databases. We used recording in Ireland as an example, but the main concepts are transferable to other locations.

If you'd like to have a look, links to a recording of the webinar and the slides (with lots of useful links!) are available on Irish Resources page.


The BSBI trustees have been keeping an eye on the current coronavirus situation and have recently updated their guidance. All field meetings for 2020 have now been cancelled.  Even if we are not able to get together, there are still lots of ways to keep involved and build your botanical skills. Check out our Activities 2020 page for links to projects, publications, training resources, and more.

Irish Vice-county Annual Reports

Every year we ask County Recorders to summarise the most interesting and exciting news over the past year.  Here are the 2019 Irish Annual Reports. Take a look - it's a great read!

Irish Botanical News

The latest issue of our big annual publication is now available! You can download the March 2020 IBN and all back issues from the Irish Botanical News page. Huge thanks to editor Paul Green and all the contributors!

Northern Ireland Training Opportunities

Thanks to a grant from CEDaR, we hosted training on aquatic plants and conifers in Northern Ireland in early spring. On Friday 6 and Saturday 7 March, conifer expert Matt Parratt led a conifer identification workshop at Castlewellan Forest Park, Co. Down.  The workshop included both classroom and field work, and was very well received by participants. Building on the Aquatic Plant Project, aquatics expert Nick Stewart spent a week in Northern Ireland  in February. He worked through aquatic plant specimens in the Ulster Museum herbarium 17-21 February while mentoring a small group of experienced botanists. This was followed on Saturday, 22 February, by a really useful aquatic plant identification workshop at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Co. Armagh for both beeginner and improving botanists.

Annual BSBI Ireland Newsletter

Happy New Year! The annual BSBI Ireland Newsletter is now available, covering all the major developments in 2019 and looking ahead to 2020. VCRs should have received their copy in the post before Christmas, but if not, please let me know.

2019 News

State of Nature Report

The UK's State of Nature report 2019 has been published. Find out more about the report and BSBI's involvement here.

You can also download the summary for northern Ireland and read commentary on the situation in Ireland from John Faulkner, BSBI County Recorder for Armagh and BSBI President 2015-2017.

Irish Autumn Meeting and AGM

Photo from West Galway field trip this summer (John Conaghan)

The Irish Autumn Meeting and AGM was held on 21 September at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin with a great range of talks:

First, Robert Northridge reported on the amazing recording efforts that have been made over the last few years, such that nearly all hectads in Ireland now have over 200 species recorded and have reached at least 60% re-record rate since the year 2000.

John Conaghan reported on the big four-day field meeting in West Galway in July. 39 people participated, collecting around 5400 records from 12 hectads in this beautiful part of the country. Rory Hodd treated us to photos of exciting plants, stunning landscapes, and wet botanists as he told us about the Rough Crew's exploits for the year. Aoife Delaney gave an interesting talk on the new, fast-growing Leitrim Local group with their busy schedule (13 trips!) and efforts to engage with the local community.

Paul Green gave a summary of the hugely successful Aquatic Plant Project - 34 days, 94 participants, 91 hectads and hundreds and important records from this under-recorded group of plants. This was followed by two talks by Nick Stewart. The first highlighted the importance of Ireland's unique and varied aquatic habitats, while the second focused on some particularly tricky elements of aquatic plant identification. All-in-all it was a very interesting, informative, and enjoyable event. I hope anyone who missed it will be able to join us next year!

Field Meeting Flyer 2019

The field meetings for 2019 in Ireland have just been collated into a handy A4 flyer. Take a look and put the dates in your diary. Visitors from Britain are particularly welcome to any and all outings this year in Ireland to help with the last push for Atlas 2020. So what are you waiting for?! ... book that trip!

Irish BSBI field meetings programme

There's always a brilliant selection of field meetings held across Ireland each year! You'll find a mixture of training days, traditional BSBI outings, recording weekends, and a show-stopper big gathering: in 2019, this will be in Connemara in July. Find out more in the latest newsletter and on the BSBI Meetings page here. All are welcome and you don't need to be a BSBI member to come along!

Irish Botanical News 2019

The 2019 issue of Irish Botanical News has just been published - head over to the new Irish Botanical News webpage to download your (free) copy and back issues from 1992 onwards!

Irish Conference 2019

The 2019 Irish BSBI Conference took place in Dublin on Saturday 30th March and was a huge success. Follow the day's action via the  #IrishBSBIConference hashtag on Twitter and watch out for the talks which will be uploaded to the website very soon.

New Year Plant Hunt 2018-9

The map shows all the locations across Ireland where you were out recording for the 2018-9 New Year Plant Hunt: congratulations and thanks to everyone who submitted a list, however large or small! See all the Results here and click on the red markers to view the lists in full.

The first flowers in the Hunt were found by Ger Scollard in Tralee, Co. Kerry. He submitted his list just after midnight on Day One! More here.

The New Year Plant Hunt Twitter feed is here and an analysis of all Results across Britain and Ireland will be published here on 29th January.

2018 and earlier

Urban Plants Leaflet

Download a copy here of Phoebe O'Brien's lovely leaflet on urban plants in Galway. This was produced based on species seen on a walk led by Phoebe during Heritage Week in 2017, and was kindly funded by the Heritage Council.

Kerry BSBI Event 2017

The botanical recording event of the year has now ended but you can read all about the #KerryBSBIevent by clicking this link or this link. It ran from 1st-5th June on the stunning Dingle peninsula, Co. Kerry and was open to all, whether seasoned recorders, botanical beginners or improvers.  You didn't even need to be a BSBI member! The event was aimed at helping with recording for Atlas 2020 and we can report that more that 45 participants managed to collect more than 5,700 records over the course of the event. 

Right-click to download the flyer and booking form. Leader Rory Hodd and Caroline Mhic Daeid, fellow County Recorder for Kerry, were present throughout, as was BSBI Irish Officer Maria Long. So lots of help and support on offer! 

Cork Recording Event

Our main recording event of the year in 2016 was a four-day trip to Cork. Flyer here - just so you can see what you missed!

The event was really great fun, with targeted recording in some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland, rough crew teams tackling mountains, and evening activities too! We were based in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) village of Ballyvourney, at the beautiful Mills Inn.

Here we set up base camp, planned our routes, ate in the evenings, and discussed our finds and mapped our progress.Over the course of the four day event, 37 people took part, many of them local, and nearly 4,000 records were collected. A fantastic event and a fantastic success.

Read more about it here, here and here.

Mayo Recording event, 27 Jul - 3 Aug 2015

Aimed at helping with recording for Atlas 2020, the Mayo Recording Week 2015 was a phenomenal success! 42 botanists took part, and collected a whopping 10,824 plant records from 132 monads (1x1 kmsqs) in 33 hectads (10x10 kmsqs) all across Co. Mayo in 8 days. It was great fun with lots of new contacts and friends made.

Mayo Recording Event - a huge success!

The main Irish recording event of the year - a five-day botanical extravaganza in Mayo - ran from 8th to 12th August and was a huge success! Click on this hashtag: #BSBIMayo2018 to see some of the people who attended and the plants we found, or read posts on our News & Views blog here, here and here.

Last time the BSBI botanists hit Mayo en masse (in 2015), 42 of us managed to collect a whopping 10,824 plant records, including rarities such as Alpine saw-wort and Irish lady's-tresses! As soon as all this year's records have been collated, we'll post the results on this page. Will we match our 2015 results? Watch this space!

The Rough Crew

The Rough Crew record in places that are relatively inaccessible and a challenge to get to, such as mountain areas and offshore islands. In this way they bring in valuable records from places that have suffered from a lack of recording, and thereby support local County Recorders with tricky work.

So if you like a challenge, are reasonably fit, enjoy remote and wild places, and are an experienced botanist, enthusiastic beginner or somewhere in between, then the Rough Crew could be for you!

We have an informal email list - to be included email Rory Hodd:

Charophyte ID Workshops

Two very successful Charophyte ID Workshops were held in Co. Westmeath in May, organised by BSBI and supported by NWPS. To find out more about charophytes (stoneworts), head over to the Charophyte page.

New Year Plant Hunt 2017-8

A few stats for you about the 2017-8 New Year Plant Hunt in Ireland:

The most floriferous place in Ireland at New Year was Irishtown/ Ringsend in Dublin, with 58 species in bloom.

  • 94 plant lists submitted by Irish recorders
  • 239 species recorded in bloom
  • 58 species on the longest list
  • The Top 5 Irish wild plants in bloom were (in order of frequency): Daisy, Dandelion, Annual Meadow-grass, Groundsel, Gorse.

The first flower spotted in the New Year Plant Hunt was a Groundsel photographed by Jessica Hamilton within the first hour of the Hunt!

Read about how Irish recorders got on here and here. Visit the New Year Plant Hunt page to see an analysis of the 2017-8 survey across Britain and Ireland. The map showing all results is here and do keep an eye on our New Year Plant Hunt Twitter feed here.

Well done to each and every one of you who took part, no matter how long or short your list was!

Two articles were published about the 2018 New Year Plant Hunt in Ireland, courtesy of freelance journalist Lynne Kelleher: one in The Irish Mirror on 3rd February and one in the Irish Mail on Sunday on 4th February.


The latest BSBI Irish Newsletter has just been published, with 12 pages of 2018's highlights and what to look forward to in 2019, including field meetings across Ireland! Scroll down and click on the link to download your free copy.

The Irish Autumn Meeting & AGM was a huge success! Talks will be uploaded soon to the webpage, so watch out for them.

Ireland's charophytes are making the news! Irish charophyte expert Cilian Roden contributed to this piece on Lough Carra - in The Irish Times.

Check out the new county webpage for Co. Antrim - they have a great programme of field meetings planned for this year!

Reports from County Recorders have now been collated - download the  Ireland 2017 VCR Annual Reports to find out what our amazing Recorders achieved last year across Ireland.

The 2018 Irish BSBI Conference was held on 24th March at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin and was a huge success! Check out the #IrishBSBIConference hashtag on Twitter  read a report about the Conference by Jessica Hamilton and view or download the PPTs from the Irish Conferences page.

Following on from last year's Kerry BSBI event, there have been three very successful field meetings held in Kerry by the new #KerryBSBI group. Read about them here and here. You can find the Kerry BSBI group on Facebook and on Twitter.

County pages have been set up for both Donegal VCs, East & West and also for Kerry - take a look!

Available to download: Irish Botanical News No. 27, March 2017 - a bumper issue, with articles of broad interest.  

Presentations available to download from the Irish BSBI Conference (25th March 2017, National Botanic Gardens) include: keys for Veronica; Juncus ID;  flash talks. inc. Wildflowers of Armagh booklet, the Irish Red List; presentations on Atlas 2020 and the BSBI Distribution Database; a talk on D.A. Webb; and photos from the 'Rough Crew'.workshops. More info on the News & Views blog here and here.

New Red List for the vascular plants of Ireland can be downloaded here. The Red List is dedicated to BSBI's County Recorders.

All BSBI members are now able to access minutes of BSBI Council, Board of Trustees and all standing and country committees. Details of how to do this are on the members-only area and on the Governance page. Email us here if you've forgotten your password.

Recent Finds

John Faulkner, BSBI President and County Recorder for Armagh, found Field Woundwort Stachys arvensis - just a year after the Rare Plant Register declared it locally extinct! 

The BSBI's botanical find of last year was made in Ireland, with a new site for Killarney Fern (gametophyte and sporophyte) discovered during the Cork Recording Event. 

One to watch out for: Water bent Polypogon viridis was found in Donegal by County Recorder Ralph Sheppard. 

Irish Species Project (ISP)

Work on analysing all the data collected during the ISP is ongoing. We hope to have an article show-casing the findings in Irish Botanical News 2017, which is due in March. 

The ISP ran during 2014 and 2015. Work on analysing the data collected is being carried out now, and updates will be posted here. A total of 224 record cards were returned, with data being submitted for 31 of the 40 VCs across Ireland. There were 64 individually named recorders (of which 26 were County Recorders).

If you are interested in seeing the  guidance document or the recording card, click on the links, but please remember that this project is no longer running.

Click on the links below to see the species profiles (kindly hosted by NBDC):