The countryside of Ireland is not just 40 shades of green. When you slow down and look a little closer, you’ll see that those rolling hills and hedgerows are alive with color. Urban areas are full of color as well, and not just the doors of homes. One bit of local color is the varied butterfly population. Across the country, you’ll see buddleia bushes growing. They cling to stone walls, pushing their shallow roots into the cracks, and they brighten up tidy front gardens of homes in the cities and the countryside. More popularly known as butterfly bush, this isn’t a native plant, but it has made itself at home, and the butterflies prove its nickname is completely accurate. But who are those butterflies?
In the summer, some of the butterflies you are most like to see in Ireland are:
- Small Copper: This common butterfly is not always easy to spot because it flies so quickly. But its copper tone wings sport bright orange sections so that helps. It is found all over the countryside, and is especially gorgeous when the sun catches those shiny coppery wings.
- Green Veined White: Is it a surprise that one of Ireland’s most common butterflies features veins of gorgeous green on its white wings? This delicate beauty is found all over the island all spring and summer looking almost like a bit of lace blowing in the wind.
- Common Blue: This butterfly is common and blue, but the males have an amazing regal look with their shiny, bright blue wings bordered in white. Even their fuzzy bodies are blue, which looks quite magical. The females have the blue bodies too, but their wings are mostly brown with orange dots just inside the white borders.
- Peacock: With stunning deep, burnished red wings featuring two pale blue spots each, these beauties have a wingspan of nearly two and a half inches. Happily, they are found all over Ireland showing off their colorful wings.
These are only a few of the species of butterfly you might see in Ireland. Most of the butterflies here have designs of brown and orange on their wings, with bits of black and white. These four are a bit more colorful than most, and add a touch of beauty to a summer afternoon hike.
You aren’t likely to see a lot of butterflies flitting down busy urban streets, but if you watch out for them outside of the cities, you can spot them. Keep an eye out for them if you are walking through the country side; the Burren is an especially good spot but you can see them in any field with a nice hedgerow offering them some sustenance. They do love the aptly nick named butterfly bush (buddleia to many gardeners), so if you are passing a cluster of these delightful purple flowered shrubs, watch to see who else might be visiting there. Yes, we have a corner on green, and it makes a lovely home and background for our butterfly population.