Plants of Ballycroy National Park
Ireland does not have a large flora for a European country and this is for a number of reasons – it is not a large island and it has been isolated from Britain and the rest of Europe for about 7,500 years. Ireland’s image as the Emerald Isle is due to the mild winters and damp summers that are experienced here. The natural landscape of Ireland was predominantly a wooded one and despite the significantly reduced areas of woodland that now exist many of Ireland’s plants found in the open countryside are characteristic of woodland.
There are also specialised plant communities occurring in Ireland too which can be found in various habitats to include salt-marshes, sand-dunes, cliffs, lake-shores, limestone pavement and mountains. These communities only represent a small fraction of the land area of Ireland. Today the majority of Ireland’s semi-natural vegetation is a combination of three dominant habitat types: grassland, heath and bog. It is these habitats that prevail in Ballycroy National Park (http://www.botanicgardens.ie/herb/census/flora.htm).
For visitors to the new Visitor centre for Ballycroy National Park the Daithí Bán Nature Trail offers a good opportunity to see some of the plants typical of the peatland ecosystem which is comprised of various habitats including wet heath, dry heath and bog.