The St Mary’s medieval parish church, Cahir Co Tipperary

The St Mary’s medieval parish church, Cahir Co Tipperary

From the wonderful Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland blog, a great resource not only on medieval pilgrimage but on holy wells/pilgrimage sites more generally, here is a fascinating post on a site in Cahir which I confess I have not visited myself… but will soon.

Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland

Each year thousands of tourist come to to the town of Cahir in Co Tipperary  primarily to see the wonderful castle.

dscf2131 Cahir Castle

The town has many other amazing historic sites including  St Mary’s Priory and St Mary’s parish church.

St Mary’s  church  is  tucked away at the bottom of Chapel Street just off the town square. The church sits at the centre of a large historic graveyard, entered through an imposing gateway with large limestone built pillars.

dscf4810 Entrance to St Mary’s church and graveyard in Cahir

The  church is a multi-period building, rectangular in shape. The  change and nave are divided by a chancel arch. This was the medieval church for the town and  the reformation   the building was used as a place of worship by the established church  and continued as such until 1820 (Killanin and Duignan 1967, 133). Interestingly Catholic  worship also continued here too and the…

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The Importance of Dead Wood

The Importance of Dead Wood

“Dead wood” – a phrase that has entered common discourse to signify something that needs to be cleared away to enable growth and development. Whereas in reality deadwood is a vital component -“a keystone component” as James Common puts it in this blog post – of ecosystems

James Common

The sight of a dead tree, denuded and stripped of its prior glory, appears to be a worrisome one to some. Those who view such things as a public health hazard, a catalyst for fire or, worse still, as simply untidy. Often to such an extent that some actively remove fallen trees, or at the very least, encourage others to do the same. Sanitising our woodlands through the misguided notion that dead wood somehow represents dead weight in the woodland ecosystem, and does not quite fit with the verdant vision of perfection many people have for our wooded places. Though, in truth, this could not be further from the truth.


Dead wood has littered the floors of British woodlands for millennia – since the first trees began to live, and die, in natural succession. Indeed in prehistory, our woodlands would look much different than they do today. Not least due to the…

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Guest Blog: Orchids – Alice Hunter

James Common

Orchids hold a fascination for many people around the world. For me that began when a Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) popped up in an unmown area of my parents’ lawn one summer when I was a child. They slowly spread and it became a game each summer to see how many there were flowering alongside the Knapweed in the long grass. Last year there were over thirty.

As I’ve grown, my passion for wildlife has grown too and my love of wildflowers has intensified. I am lucky now to have travelled to some wonderful locations and seen some incredible wild Orchid species. As the Green Winged Orchids (Anacamptis morio) are in full bloom in a local meadow I thought I’d share a few of my favourites and my experiences finding them.

Common Spotted Orchid & Green-Winged Orchid

For many, Orchids can be a confusing group of flowers to study…

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