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The Wild Flowers of Loophead, Co. Clare, Ireland by Carmel T. Madigan

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The Wild Flowers of Loophead, Co. Clare, Ireland by Carmel T. Madigan
Published in 2012

Carmel Madigan has always been consumed with the natural beauty and wild flora of the Loophead Peninsula on the west coast of County Clare where she grew up. Her family has farmed at the Bridges of Ross on the peninsula for more than ten generations. Photographed, written, designed and published by the author, this book is an account of her personal research and exploration of the flora of this remote and rugged headland stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The book offers photographs and detailed descriptions of over 100 species of wild flora, such as the Irish Marsh Orchid and Babington’s Leek, encountered in the Loophead area, together with their location, abundance and habitats. The author gives the common and Latin names of each and includes information on the history and folklore and traditional uses of each plant such as the fact that the ashes of Sea Arrowgrass are rich in potassium and can be used for making soap.

The plants are divided by habitat with a chapter on each of the distinctive habitats found in the area – the Ross and Loophead Moors; Ross and Rhynvella beaches and the general waysides, verges, hedgerows and drains of the area. Maps of the area are provided and walking routes suggested and readers are introduced to basic botanical terminology to enable them to identify the wild flowers.

The author’s poetry is interspersed through the book and the final chapter is of her artworks inspired by the flora of the region.

The Wildflowers of Loophead is an important contribution to the literature on the flora of County Clare. It is a comprehensive recording of the wild flowers of this region and an invaluable resource for those with an interest in botany.