The Mizen Peninsula
The Mizen Peninsula is located in west Cork and is an area of exceptional natural beauty. It covers a region of 34 km from Ballydehob village to Mizen Head, which is the most south-westerly point in Ireland. The Irish Light Signal Station at Mizen Head, which was built in 1905 to protect ships from cliffs during fog, is now being used as a visitor centre.
The rugged landscape along the Mizen Peninsula is host to plenty of different habitats. Mount Gabriel dominates the landscape near Schull. This is also the location of the oldest worked copper mines of north-west Europe , dating back to the 17th century BC. Other habitats such as bogs, wetlands, cliffs and the seashore have a full and diverse range of species.
Mammals such as foxes, badgers, bats, rabbits and hares can all be seen roaming the countryside, while dolphins, whales, porpoises, Basking Sharks, and seals inhabit the coastal waters.
Over thirty different butterflies have also been recorded in West Cork. Species such as Red Admiral and Painted Lady migrate to Cork from mainland Europe. The most unusual species is the Gatekeeper butterfly, which is quite common in West Cork but is rarely found elsewhere in Ireland . Examples of other butterfly species found along the Peninsula are Speckled Wood butterfly, Peacock butterfly and Small copper butterfly.
A wide variety of sea-birds live all the cliffs e.g. gannets, guillemots, razorbills, shearwaters, terns, choughs, ravens and Peregrin Falcons.
All across the Mizen Peninsula there is an abundance of wildflowers, heathers, and fuchsia hedges. As the climate in Cork is so mild, the flowering spring season begins much earlier than most other areas of Ireland. Foxgloves, primroses, bluebells, daisies and the fiery yellow colour of the gorse bushes bring the countryside to life.
An array of trees also occupies the landscape e.g. cedar, cypress, oak, ash, beech, pine and sycamore.
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