A nice surprise for us this week was the sudden announcement of the visit of the vivacious US First Lady, Michelle Obama. Today she’s getting a tour of Glendalough, a very ancient site which should have been included on the World Heritage List decades ago, but has been ignored continually by successive Irish governments, despite the importance of tourism to Ireland. Anyhow, I leave you with some photos of Glendalough I took last week, featuring my brother Owen, an archaeologist by training, and his wife, Alla.
The monastic city of Glendalough, which might actually be pre-Christian in origin despite its association with Christianity.
Ruined cathedral dating from the 11th century.
The famous round tower of Glendalough. Even when you are standing near one it is extremely difficult to judge the scale of what you are looking at, but there are some people standing at the base of it, and they look absolutely tiny. These were among the tallest structures in Europe for almost a thousand years. This one is dated to the 9th or 10th century AD, but the Glendalough complex is far older.
Yes, it’s pretty grotty wet weather in Wicklow at the moment, but it’s really brought the moths out. And one of the great things about studying nature is that all you need is a wall with a bright light over it, or a bright but sheltered window, to get them to land. So here are a few I’ve found:
The Streamer – Anticlea derivata, is one of the carpet moths, as you can tell from its shape. It seems to be camouflaged to resemble Turkey-tail fungus. It gets its name from the streamer-like black marks which you can see on its wingtips.
The Common Marbled Carpet – Chloroclysta truncata, is another carpet moth.
White Ermine – Spilosoma lubricipeda. You can tell this one is a male, as it has feathered antennae. Females have soft straight wispy ones.
One of the Pug moths, which I have yet to identify. It might be something rare.
Wicklow certainly got its fair share of rain last night, and there are a few showers still knocking about right now, with the promise of a deluge overnight and tomorrow. But the streams and rivers are still relatively clear, and it’s good and sunny, so keep an eye out for Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) in the sandy shallows.
A small Brown Trout basking in a very shallow river. Keep your eyes peeled.
They are brilliant at looking like bits of waterweed, so watch for any movement, make light steps on the river banks (because they will feel heavy vibrations) and move very slowly, and you will almost certainly get good views, especially if you’re next to one of the many little hump-back bridges which are found throughout Wicklow.