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Clare Bluebell Survey

Help us to record the Bluebells in Clare

Bluebells are a common woodland Spring flower in Ireland. They are easily recognizable by the spike of blue bell shaped flowers, which is where they get their name. Bluebells die down following flowering and store their energy in a bulb ready to grow again the following spring. The Bluebell flowers when there is light available in woodlands, before the trees fully develop their leaves.

Bluebells have long narrow leaves, about 25-45cm long and about 7-15mm wide. They normally have blue bell shaped flowers although they can be occasionally white or pink.

When to look for Bluebells
Bluebells can usually be seen flowering between April and June. They are normally most abundant and spectacular in May.

Where to look for Bluebells
Bluebells are mainly found in shady habitats such as woodland, scrub or hedgerows. They can also be found in habitats such as heaths and grassy banks, where there were bushes or trees. They are quite common in Clare, however according to official records they are rare in South West Clare. Bluebells are usually associated with broadleaf woodland, ancient broadleaf woodland is one of the rarest habitats in County Clare and nationwide.

When you are looking at Bluebells please do not trample on them too much and PLEASE DO NOT PICK them. Leave them for other people to enjoy and allow them to flower for several more years to come.

What is threatening Bluebells?
The main threat to Bluebells is the destruction of their habitat. The removal of habitats such as hedgerows, scrub and woodland often leads to a loss of the Bluebells.

Ireland and Britain are home to a very significant proportion of the Bluebell population in Europe.

Why are we carrying out this survey?
There are records of bluebells in County Clare, however we do not know all the locations where they occur. All information on the distribution of species in Clare is important. If we do not know where species are, it is difficult to know how they should be conserved. This survey will produce a distribution map of Bluebells in County Clare, which will show where people can find and enjoy them.

Other surveys of different plants and animals will take place throughout Clare over the next few years.

This Bluebell survey is part of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan process in county Clare. Each Local Authority is required to produce a Local Biodiversity Action Plan according to the National Biodiversity Plan. Biodiversity is the variety of all life. Biodiversity includes everything from microscopic insects to the largest whale, from tiny algae to huge ancient trees.
The production of a Local Biodiversity Action Plan in Clare is one of the objectives of the County Clare Heritage Plan published in 2003.

Further information
More information on Bluebells and other plants is available in books and magazines (many of which are available in your local library) such as:

- Spot the 101 Habitats and Species in Clare: Biodiversity in Clare by Clare County Council
- Flowers of Britain and Ireland, Collins Wild Guide
- Pocket Guide to Irish Wild Flowers by Ross and Ruth
- Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by Blamey, Fitter and Fitter