Nice to see you again, Heather

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Irish heather, fraoch mor or Calluna vulgaris colours Ireland purple Irish heather, fraoch mor or Calluna vulgaris colours Ireland purple

Fraoch mór is the Irish name for heather, Calluna vulgaris and it can be found over large parts of the Irish landscape.

It is also known as ling and it prefers acidic, boggy soils that cover the upland areas of Ireland. These are places that often, at first glance, appear barren with vast open tracts of treeless ground with only heath in view as far as the eye can see. But when the heather is flowering the uplands are filled with the sounds of bees busy collecting pollen. From April to August, before the pale purple colour bursts across the Irish countryside, ground nesting birds such as skylarks can be seen and heard hovering overhead.

These landscapes are great for photography, particularly in the late summer and early autumn with characterful colour, more to follow on this subject.

Fraoch is also the Irish Gaelic word for fury or fierceness.

I heard recently that in parts of Ireland the term freeheen was used, somewhat derogatorily, to describe country folk who came into the towns to sell turf (peat, a fuel used in Ireland for domestic heating - it's essentially dried soil from the heather-covered bogs of Ireland). They topped the stacks of turf with little bundles of heather and the name derives from the diminutive form of fraoch.

Join Panoramic Ireland, that's me by the way, on a photographic visit to the open heather-clad hillsides of Ireland.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 August 2017 23:58
Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

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