To play golf at Rosses Point is to play through a landscape teeming with wildlife. This coastal links supports a vast array of wildflowers, grasses, animals, insects and birds.
Properly managed, golf courses can play a vital role in preserving our natural environment. The site at Rosses Point covers a large area but only 15% is intensively managed and the rest remains in a near-natural state.
The preservation of traditional links conditions is of paramount importance to the Club which aims to:
Our Course Manager and Greenkeepers strive to ensure members and visitors enjoy their golf and at the same time enjoy the flora and fauna. Don't always see an unintended visit to the rough as a disaster, try instead to appreciate the beauty of the wildflowers, the sight of a hare skipping across the fairway, the heron flying overhead or the skylark soaring in the blue sky.
This is obviously not a definitive list of all the wildlife that you are likely to encounter on the golf course but hopefully it will encourage all golfers and visitors to look a little more closely at this beautiful habitat and perhaps in the words of Walter Hagen;
"Don't hurry, don't worry.
You're only here for a short visit.
So be sure to stop and smell the flowers."
Below are just some of Rosses Point’s natural highlights.
Other birds include the Meadow Pipit (often mistaken for the Skylark), Swallows and Sand Martins can be seen swooping for insects during the summer months. Look out to sea when you come to the 13th hole where Common, Herring and Black Headed Gulls fly above the waves of the harsh Atlantic Ocean. When spotted on the golf course it is often a sign of an approaching storm.
Butterflies and moths thrive in this rich environment where nectar in abundance can be collected from the many wildflowers. Watch out for the Large and Small White Butterfly and the Silver Y Moth. The Bomore Course is the favourite haunt of the Blue Dragon Fly.
As night time descends on the links you may be lucky enough to catch sight of a fox or badger on the prowl.
|Common Blue Butterfly||Five Spot Burnet||Cinnabar Moth||St Mark's Fly||Beetle|
Common Blue Butterfly
A locally common butterfly the Common Blue flies from April to September in successive broods. The male can be identified by it's blue upperwings. The larva feed on trefoils which are in plentiful supply around the links.
This distinctive, day-flying moth has red hindwings with five red spots on otherwise metallic greenish blue forewings. Flies July to August.
The Cinnabar Moth
This moth can be recognised by it's red and charcoal-grey wings. It flies from May to July, usually at night but can also be seen during the day. Watch out for its orange and black striped larvae which feed mainly on Ragwort, usually seen in groups.
St. Mark’s Fly
Best described as a dopey fly, that you will certainly bump into as it flies in late April and May. Its name comes from St Mark’s Day, April 25th, as the adults first appear around this date. Its antennae are short and the body is black and hairy. Appears very sluggish in flight, the male flies with dangling legs. The larva lives in the soil.
There are a number of varieties of beetle that normally go unnoticed on the course. One inhabitant that appears during a spell of hot weather is the chafer beetle, they colonise the greens in large numbers making putting very difficult!
|Burnet Rose||Kidney Vetch||Birds Foot Trefoil||Common Centaury||Lady's Bedstraw|
Should you be unlucky to find the rough, you may also be lucky enough to see a low growing pretty white rose. This is the Burnet Rose which flowers from May to July. The hips are purple-black in colour but beware of the prickly stems.
This is a very handsome erect flower that thrives in the sandy soil of Rosses Point. The colour can vary from shades of yellow through cream to pink, red and purple. It is a rich source of food for the Small Blue Butterfly.
A common sprawling flower in sandy areas. The flowers are yellow, though are often streaked or tinted orange or red. Only 10-18mm long, you will find 3-8 in clusters atop a long stalk. Its fruits are cylindrical pods 10-15mm long, arranged like a bird’s foot. It is an important food plant for the Common Blue Butterfly.
A low/short biennial to 50cm, but very often seen as low as 2cm. The flowers are clear pink, in tight clusters. The plant has healing properties and an infusion made from it has long been used as a tonic to aid digestion.
This is an attractive, finely hairy, erect or sprawling perennial, with creeping, underground stems. The flowers are bright golden yellow. The leaves are linear, smelling of new-mown hay. In times gone by, hay made from this useful plant was popular for stuffing mattresses, not only for its sweet scent but also because it deterred fleas and other vermin. Lady’s Bedstraw was formerly used as a substitute for rennet to curdle cheese. The underground stems yield a red dye.
|Common Spotted Orchid||Pyramidal Orchid||Harebell||Meadowsweet||Yellow Iris|
Common Spotted Orchid
Expect to find this exotic flower in the rough at Rosses Point should you find yourself searching for a ball. Flowering anytime from May to August this short to medium sized flower varies from white to pale/dark purple, with dots or small blotches of darker purple.
Short 60cm rich deep pink flowers often clove scented. Many small flowers combine to make this pyramidal shaped spike. Take a moment to appreciate both of these flowers, as the sandy areas of the Sligo coast and the Burren in Co Clare are two of the areas that they can be most frequently seen.
A beautiful delicate pale to mid-blue bell shaped flower on a slender hairless erect stem. The flowers can be seen nodding in the breeze on long thin stalks. In Ireland the harebell was considered a fairy plant, which was not to be picked.
A tall hairless perennial, forming extensive stand of creamy-white flowers 4-8mm in foamy clusters. Flowers from June-Sept. With its sweet smelling flowers it was valued for its use in flavouring beer and for strewing with rushes on the floor of rooms to keep them fresh and pleasant smelling. Meadowsweet was also used for complaints as diverse as dropsy and kidney trouble in Counties Cavan and Sligo.
By far the commonest iris, with a tall rich yellow flower and broad leaves and pale brown flattened seeds. Also known as Yellow Flag and found in marshes by fresh water. In Irish myth the Iris was a symbol of beauty. The leaves of the Yellow Iris were used for bedding and thatching and the root could be used to make a black dye. The rhizome (root) was used as a cure for toothache, you just needed to hold a piece of the rhizome against the affected tooth.
For this small modest white crimson-tipped flower with the yellow heart, the fairways of Rosses Point are a haven. The Daisy loves short well mown grass and flowers all year long. The Irish name for the daisy is Noinin and it was widely regarded as the harbringer of spring.
Ox Eye Daisy
This is our largest native daisy, with white petals and yellow centres, growing on sparsely leafy stalks from May to September. Its Irish name is Noinin Mor and it is commonly known as the Dog Daisy. Both the Common Daisy and Ox Eye Daisy had a great reputation in traditional medicine for curing fresh wounds when applied as an ointment.
Grass of Parnassus
A short pale green tufted perennial, Parnassus has beautiful white flowers grained with green, buttercup-like but with five stamens alternating with scales. It flowers from July-Sept. The leaves are pointed oval and heart shaped.
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