Four Acorns in Cloon Oak Glen

When my friend Anita T shared pictures of Cloon Oak Glen a few weeks ago, I promised myself we would make our way there as soon as the 5km restriction was lifted. So today we did!

Following the 4.5km Oak Glen loop trail, we walked down to the Glencree River. We failed to see the oaks for the vast stands of luminous silver birch. Perhaps because oaks are not in full leaf yet, while birches are adorned with a myriad yellow catkins quivering gently in the breeze?


Silver birch (Betula pendula)


Goat Willow catkins (Salix caprea)

Crumbling old walls and ruins and mossy erratics dot the glacial valley. Here and there, the foamy white blooms of blackthorn, the timid purple flowers of common dog violet, the delicate leaves of wood sorrel, or “lemonade leaves” as the acorns call them. Everywhere, the sweet coconut fragrance of gorse flowers in full bloom.



Wall Speedwell (Veronica arvensis)


Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna ssp verna)

Trailside snack of gorse flowers

Then, on the valley floor, the luscious Glencree River babbles between mossy rocks and ancient oak trees. A long pause ensued, basking in the warm spring sunshine, before looping the loop through more silver birch, pussy willow, alder, wild cherry and holly.

By the Glencree River


Blackthorn in bloom


Blackthorn flowers


Wild cherry (Prunus avium)

It was a glorious afternoon that felt like a long exhale after 3 endless months of oppressive lockdown.

There truly is no place like Earth

Cloon Oak Glen 

The name Cloon means “a meadow in a clearing in the forest”. It was once part of a native forest of mainly oaks that the Normans enclosed to create a royal hunting deer park. The upper part of Cloon Wood, just below the car park, is a recently planted native woodland, with oak, ash, birch and Scots pine, while the lower section is the site of Cloon Oak Glen. This project, in partnership between Coillte and Crann – Trees For Ireland, saw the planting of 120,000 oak trees in 1990, in an effort to recreate the native forest.


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