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Ireland’s ancient rainforest: Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve is a wonderland of mossy magic

A botanist's-eye view of a strange and beautiful world of forest floors and emerald canopies

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Leif Bersweden is passionate about preserving our forests. Photo: Leif Bersweden

Leif Bersweden is passionate about preserving our forests. Photo: Leif Bersweden

Mossy Irish rainforest in West Cork. Photo: Leif Bersweden

Mossy Irish rainforest in West Cork. Photo: Leif Bersweden

Tunbridge Filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum tunbrigense). Photo: Leif Bersweden

Tunbridge Filmy-fern (Hymenophyllum tunbrigense). Photo: Leif Bersweden

Polypody ferns in Glengarriff Woods. Photo: Leif Bersweden

Polypody ferns in Glengarriff Woods. Photo: Leif Bersweden

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Leif Bersweden is passionate about preserving our forests. Photo: Leif Bersweden

As I cycled through west Cork and climbed the coastal road that snaked its way north out of Bantry, the weather could not have been more miserable. Cool sheets of drizzle swept across the road in front of me, slowly soaking through my jacket. To my left, Bantry Bay was hazy with rain.

Despite the unpleasant conditions, my attention was focused on the horizon, where, tucked into a secluded valley beneath the stony slopes of the Caha Mountains, I could see Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve.


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