Lough Allen Basin



Ideas & Images
Environment & Employment
This Site explores a specific area of north west Ireland, shows off its great attractions and suggests some ideas for Conservation of the Environment and developing high level employement for people living in the area



Unique Flora
Irish Lady’s Tresses: Spiranthes romanzoffiana
Lough Allen has a spectacular distribution of one particular species, extinct in England and very rare elsewhere in the British Islands. We have been doing an annual monitoring of this Species and last years research showed it was thriving and widely distributed. The survey was taken during low water levels. The flowering orchids were later flooded; what effect this will have on seeding and survival is not known but this year there was a healthy population of this species on Lough Allen. The sheer rarity of this orchid and its presence in Lough Allen highlights the unique environment of the area. For information on World Distribution of Irish Lady’s Tresses, go HERE

Other Spiranthes sections:

1. Multi-year Lough Allen Distribution Maps and Photographs 2008 - 2013
2. Distribution around Lough Allen 2008 (this Page)
Photographs of Specimes from Lough Allen
World Distribution of this extraordinarily rare Plant
A Glacial Relict: how it came to be here?
(5. Survey
(6. Survey Results
(7. Survey
International Visitors view Spiranthes, 2013

Lough Allen, Survey of Irish Lady’s Tresses, 2008

The Map below shows the rough location and numbers of the rare Orchid (characteristic of Lough Allen) found in a survey of nearly the entire coast of Lough Allen in July and August 2008. This is the 3rd presentation of this Map. We are conscious that this is a protected species under the Flora Protection Act. However we believe that it is very important to know and record the occurence of such species. If we look back at the history of this species it is one of gradual loss of populations in the southern part of Ireland, maybe simply due to climate change.

It is very important to the conservation of this rare plant that its occurence and change of population in one place be noted and recorded... so that we can respond if the plant veers towards extinction. Out of respect for different views we have removed precise positions from this Map but these are kept and recorded elsewhere and are available to all researchers. The quote below from an eminent Botanist (David Lang) describes how important recording is to conservation of rare plants and animals in our countryside:

“Accurate recording and mapping of plants is a vital tool in aiding the conservation and protection of our orchid species. There is no sense in having good laws for protection if we do not know where the plants are that we are trying to protect. Mapping data also enable us to monitor changes in plant populations and alert us to potential problems in the environment..... It is good practice to carry a field notebook and make notes at the time of your visit. Data should include the number of flowering plants, date of flowering, variations and abnormalities, evidence of insect pollinators, and, most importantly, an accurate site description with an equally accurate map reference or GPS (Global Positioning System) reading. The latter can be accurate to within 10m, and can become an invaluable aid in overgrown or uniform habitats where decent landmarks are lacking.”
(Britain's Orchids, A guide to the identification and ecology of the wild orchids of Britain and Ireland)


Distribution Map
Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Lough Allen, 2008

(Data recorded and plotted: David &  Frances Farrell)

© Ordnance Survey Ireland/Government of Ireland Licence No. NE 0000409


Unfortunately, this year’s report is Brief. Only 1 specimen was found in all our survey of existing sites on the east shore of Lough Allen.


Go HERE for this years somewhat better results.


Now being undertaken.  Go HERE for details. Want to Help.. CONTACT us.