Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Dragons and Damsels of Ireland

Long time no post, I know, but I’ve been wrapped up in a lot of different things recently and haven’t had time to even think, let alone post on my blog.  But I think things are calming down a bit and I’ll have more time to do the things I like. I’m eager to get back to blogging!

One of the things I was doing during my recent long absence was going on a really excellent vacation, a two-week trip to Ireland with my sister.  We toured almost the entire Irish coast in that time and I’m quite sure the trip is going to be one of the highlights of my life.  Ireland is unbelievably beautiful and I absolutely loved it!  It was, however, shockingly devoid of insect life.  I carefully picked out a dragonfly and damselfly field guide before I left, mapped out everywhere we were going, compared our itinerary to the range maps in my guide so I’d know what to expect where, and I hauled my book over in eager anticipation of seeing a hoard of Irish odonates.  I saw one damselflies in the 15 days I spent on the island.  One!  And I barely even got a look at it, definitely didn’t get a photo, and it flew off almost immediately after I spotted it on the banks of this pond:

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland

At least the setting was pretty!  If you only get a glimpse of a single small damselfly on a trip, it’s nice to have that one sort of disappointing sighting occur at a place where there are other things to look at, such as grand estate houses, arboretums, and beautifully manicured gardens.  :)

I am working on getting through my massive backlog of dragonfly swarm data to get it up on Sunday this week and I should be posting on Friday.  Here’s hoping nothing else comes up to prevent that happening!


Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

12 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Dragons and Damsels of Ireland

  1. Any idea why there were so few dragonflies? Insect numbers across the board here in S. Ontario seem way, way down this year, maybe because of the harsh winter we had, but I don’t know about Ireland.

    • I think they just don’t have many insects in Ireland rather than it being a bad year. The locals kept telling us how nice the weather was, how it was much better this year than normal, so I don’t think it was weather related at least. They’ve only got about 20 species of odonates there anyway, and the faunal diversity is low across the board. Granted, it IS a temperate island and at high latitude, so it’s not entirely surprising!

  2. The dragonfly population seemed way down here in Virginia this year also, especially at the botanical gardens where I usually photograph them.

    I’m glad you had such a good time – what fun to go and see Ireland!


    • I think it’s normal for there to be so few odonates there! It was great weather for them all but the last two days we were there, so they SHOULD have been out and about if they were in the area. They just weren’t in the area!

  3. We do have a great shortage of species here in Ireland, makes it very easy on the ID front. Im not aware this was bad year for Odonates , We have had a great summer weather wise (for Ireland), so I imagine the odonates were happy. Very pleased you enjoyed Ireland. We are very seasonal with odonates late May ,June,July early August tailing off in numbers in September. Lots of problems with nutrient enrichment, of course, doesn’t help the odonates, , but we do have lots of watery regions, to visit.

    • You know, I’ve had several Irish people tell me that there aren’t very many dragonflies in Ireland and I’ll admit that I never REALLY believed them and thought that maybe they just weren’t going to the right places to look. That assumption was of course stupid and based on the situation we have here in the US, so completely inaccurate for your island. After having been to a lot of those “right” places in perfect weather (sunny, warm, only a light breeze and in early August) myself, I am now a believer: you guys really DON’T have very many odonates! But the ones you do have, at least according to my awesome field guide I didn’t get to use, are quite lovely. Really wanted to see a large red damselfly while I was there, but alas I didn’t see any of them, even in some places where they were explicitly listed as a species for a site in the visitor center. I didn’t see many insects period, even in some of the big gardens, though I did get to see the peacock butterflies. Wow, those are spectacular! Never did get a photo of one, but I saw several and I was happy I did.

      And I LOVED Ireland! Wow, what an amazing, beautiful, culture rich place! As an American with our relatively much shorter history of “civilization” (though of course the Native Americans were here long before my German, English, and Irish ancestors came to America), it’s hard to fathom the idea that you have buildings and books that are over a thousand years old. That just blew my mind the whole trip! I would happily go back.

  4. So happy you enjoyed your trip to Ireland! It is such a beautiful place. I went once, and don’t recall any insect sightings. I did see a lot of cows, sheep and goats and wild dogs, but don’t even remember any birds.
    I didn’t spend a lot of time in my backyard garden this year, but the few times I was out I saw a lot of dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies,bees and the brown furry moths that hatch out of my apple trees here in south central Wisconsin. ( I think those are considered pests to my apple tree but I don’t care, as there is enough food around here for everyone).

    • Yes, definitely lots of sheep, dogs, and cows, but a little sparse on other wildlife. I saw a bunch of crows (or maybe they were ravens – I honestly can’t tell them apart), seagulls, and a few birds of prey, but that was about it birdwise. Coming from the southern US, it was a bit of a shock to see so little wildlife while out and about! Still, I loved it. Would happily go back.

      I’m envious you have good things in your garden! My yard is so sterile that I barely get anything… Sad!

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