After a winter that felt endless at times, summer has arrived in Ireland with flying colors. The temperature is up, and nature is ablaze with beauty. The rolling green fields are dotted with vibrant wildflowers, and you’ll find nature’s more shy beauties in the hedgerows, forests and sky. Summer is when Ireland dons the whole rainbow. Green steps from center stage to become the backdrop to delicate purples and blues and stunning yellows. Birds and butterflies abound, as if it were their job to show us that the skies can produce song and color as well as dreary, grey rain.
Music in the Air
The Lark in the Clear Air is a popular trad song, but larks are declining in population. But they are seen and heard around farms throughout Ireland in May and June. Irish summer birds include the colourful blue tit, which boasts a bright yellow underside, and the softly speckled song thrush. The thrush, beloved for its sweet song, lives in the hedgerows throughout the country, while the bright blue tit prefers back yards and parks in urban areas.
In more rural areas, pheasants are common. Their trademark is their distinctive long tail. While the females are a stately brown, the males are flamboyant with green and red heads.
One of our most beloved summer visitors is the cuckoo. They are more often heard than seen, and an old Irish wedding tradition says that it is good luck for the bride to hear the cuckoo’s cry while she is travelling to her wedding. While they winter in Africa, cuckoos summer throughout Ireland. Their bellies and undersides of their wings are white with irregular black stripes, and they have soft grey bodies.
Art in Miniature
Birds are the not the only beauties to spot flying around an Irish garden on a summer day. Ireland is home to many gorgeous varieties of butterfly. The vibrant orange and black painted lady is a common sight throughout the country. The peacock butterfly is another orange butterfly with distinctive pale blue and white circles on their wings. The green veined white is a delicate butterfly with a wingspan of less than two inches. With its green coloring, it is easy to miss in a field or park, but they are everywhere in summer. The common blue is a stunning little butterfly with a blue body. The females have blue bodies, but their wings are brown and orange. Both male and female common blues have a white border along the edge of their wings.
Through most of the year, the Irish countryside is wet and green. It’s beautiful, but in summer we see a different kind of beauty when the flowers, birds and bees add vibrant hues to the landscape. It’s dazzling. From the woods of the midlands to the stately gardens of Wicklow to the surreal rocky Burren, summer is the time to see a more colorful side of Ireland.