Wild Walks: Parkowen
Parkowen, formally St. John’s cemetery, is located just off of Quaker Road on the south side of Douglas Street. Also known as St. John’s Park, this grassland habitat is afforded protection as a heritage site and has since been repurposed as a public amenity. Once neglected, this park has since been rewilded to its natural state as part of the Green Spaces for Health project, carried out by Cork City Council with advice from Cork Nature Network.
The space is now rich in wildflowers, native trees, and shrub species and is slowly building a layered biodiversity profile of native plants and animals. However, management strategies are required to control invasive non-native plant species on site that were able to grow under neglectful circumstances. Although small in size, this site offers an insight into Cork city’s rich heritage and native biodiversity, as well as a fantastic view of the city skyline.
From Quaker road, through Parkowen estate.
156 metre loop
Scientific Name: Geranium robertianum
Irish Name: Ruithéal rí
Herb Roberts is a hairy, small plant that grows in shaded areas and near the base of walls and shingle. Its pink flowers give it a pleasant appearance but don’t be misled as it is not as sweet smelling as it looks. It can be found along the wall boundary of Parkowen.
Scientific Name: Trifolium repens
Irish Name: Seamair bhán
Clover is a common grassland plant and is the perfect early spring flower for bumble bees and other pollinators. They are sweetly scented, with plenty of nectar to be found in their white flowers. Clover is very efficient at fixing nitrogen, which greatly benefits the soil.
Scientific Name: Hedera hibernica
Irish Name: Eidhneán
This climber plant is present all year round and flowers from September. Ivy is an important source of pollen for pollinators late in the year. In the Spring, purple-black berries ripen but should not be eaten as they are poisonous in large volumes.
Scientific Name: Rubus fructicosus
Irish Name: Dris
Bramble, also known as Blackberry, is a prominent fixture of Irish hedgerows and boundaries. Their thorny stems can be a hindrance when trying to pluck the ripe blackberries that appear during the summer. The fruit goes from red to purple/black when ripe.
Scientific Name: Epilobium hirsutum
Irish Name: Lus na Tríonóide
Giant Willowherb has a large, four-petalled flower with a four lobed stigma at the centre. The leaves are hairy and soft to touch. Willowherb is a great source of nectar and pollen.
Common Name: Field Bindweed
Scientific Name: Convolvulus arvensis
Bindweed is a fast-growing, creeping, twining plant that grows on structures or around the wooden stem of other plants, potentially resulting in the death of the other plant. The funnel flowers can be white, pink, or white and pink striped and the leaves are arrow shaped.