Blackstairs Mountains

Both Irish and European laws protect some of the habitats and the plants found in wet sites such as bogs and bog flushes. The Blackstairs Mountain range and the River Barrow in County Carlow are two such areas and are called Special Areas of Conservation (SAC's). This means that it is an offence to damage the plants or the habitats that are found in these two locations.


A number of different habitats can be seen from the top of Ballycrinnigan Rock, in the Blackstairs Mountains. Dry heath habitat of heathers and grasses can be seen in the foreground of the photograph included, whilst Conifer plantation, Agricultural grassland, Arable crops (the stubble fields where barley or wheat were growing are visible behind the conifer plantation), Hedgerow (forming boundaries between different fields and farms) and to the right of the picture there is an area of scrub. Feral goats roam freely in the Blackstairs Mountains browsing on the shoots of heathers and other heath vegetation.


A close-up view of heath vegetation on the Blackstairs Mountains, County Carlow. Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Ling heather (Calluna vulgaris) and Western gorse (Ulex gallii) growing on Ballycrinnigan. These plants are very tough being able to withstand extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures and strong winds. For example having small needle-like leaves reduces the amount of surface area that is exposed to wind and cold, allowing the plant to maximize its resources.

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