As promised, I am returning to Lough Allen to tell you about the rare species found there. By now I hope you have all tasted the carrot cake and can understand my detour.
Rossmore, on the north shore of Lough Allen, is home to the protected plant species Irish Lady’s Tresses. It is a small orchid with white flowers that occurs in damp meadows, on lakeshores, in seasonally flooded pastures and in valley bogs in Ireland. Although not a lot is known about the ecology of the Irish Lady’s Tresses, it is generally considered to be a native Irish species, which is known to be declining and is protected in both the North of Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland.
We weren’t lucky enough to see it ourselves, so my artistic dad painted this water colour of it for the book.
The Otter is another protected species found on the shores of Lough Allen, especially at the northern end near Kilgarriff. Lutra lutra or the Eurasian Otter ranges from Ireland to Japan and from the Arctic to North Africa, and it is widespread in Ireland in all fresh-water and most coastal areas. There were dramatic declines in many European Otter populations during the latter half of the 20th Century due to hunting and habitat loss and Otters remain threatened, declining, rare, or extinct in many European countries. This means that the Irish population of the Eurasian Otter is particularly important in a worldwide context.