Song for Ireland: Irish Fuchsias: Donnybrook, Dublin June 2012

Tommy Fleming does this ‘Song for Ireland’ real justice. He has such a beautiful voice. I also adore Mary Black’s version. The words speak for themselves. I thought the fuchsias, that are so synonymous with Ireland’s Western shore, despite them originally coming from South America would lend some little meaning to the song. I know that I was stunned to see miles and miles of them on the hedgerows when I was in Dingle, Co Kerry many years ago. I note that they are a few weeks early this year. It has obviously to do with the unusual continental weather we have been experiencing of late. It has been raining all day. So I went outside to get some photos and this video footage (with very small camera) of wet leaves and flowers, as they look so refreshing and cool and the effects of them in photos and videos bring across an added tingly touch to the viewers eyes, well, mine anyway. I’ve got some more nearby where these came from. I always have to get more than one of everything. It’s to do with my obsessional nature.

Walking all the day
By tall towers where falcons build their nests
Silver-winged they fly
They know the call of freedom in their breasts
Saw Black Head against the sky
With twisted rocks that run down to the sea
Living on your Western shore
Saw summer sunsets, asked for more
I stood by your Atlantic sea
And sang a song for Ireland
Drinking all the day
In old pubs where fiddlers love to play
Saw one touch the bow
And he played a reel which seemed so grand and gay
We stood on Dingle Beach and cast
In wild foam we found Atlantic bass
Talking all the day
With true friends who try to make you stay
Telling jokes and news
And singing songs to pass the time away
We watched the Galway salmon run
Like silver darting, dancing in the sun
Dreaming in the night
I saw a land where noone had to fight
But waking in your dawn
I saw you crying in the morning light
While lying where the falcons fly
They twist and turn all in your air-blue sky

All along the roadways of the south-west of Ireland, on slender arching stalks the beautiful Fuchsia flowers colour the hedgerows from July to October with their rich hues. These are deciduous shrubs, only reaching to about 1.5m, which favour coastal locations and rocky ground. The flowers (2cm long) are bell-shaped and have four violet petals which are surrounded by four large, pointed red sepals, rather like a ballerina with a crimson skirt, purple petticoat and long, long, slightly uneven, legs. The grey/green leaves are ovate and toothed and the fruits are black, fleshy berries in autumn. This is not a native plant – is rather the result of planted hedges which have sent out their ‘escapes’ – but is not regarded as an alien species in the same way as Himalayan Balsam or Japanese Knotweed, having been a familiar sight for a lot longer. It belongs to the family Onagraceae.
I saw these fuchsias growing at a house nearby the footbridge, Donnybrook on the Sunday June Bank holiday 2012
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please record your sighting for the 2012 wildflower mapping survey at http://www.biology.ie

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