The grasslands of Fingal can be broadly classified into
two main types: Semi-natural and Highly Modified.
Semi-natural Grassland in Fingal
Semi-natural grasslands are those that have largely escaped
the improving influence of man. These semi natural
grasslands have many different plant species growing in them
and are generally very rich in flowers. This type of grassland
has become increasingly rare in Fingal, but pockets of it
can be found along the coast and further inland. Some of flower-rich
grasslands are grazed, like the Natural Heritage Area near
Loughshinny for example. Red clover, Common Birds-foot
trefoil, Fairy Flax, Eyebrights and Yarrow are some of the
plants that grow here. In the Tolka Valley, there are several
pockets with flower rich grassland that support more unusual
species such as Pyramidal orchids and Common Spotted orchids.
Small pockets of acid grassland still occur on Howth Head,
but human interference, absence of grazing and Bracken encroachment
have led to much of this habitat disappearing.
Highly Modified Grassland in Fingal
Highly modified grasslands are those that have been frequently
re-seeded and/or heavily fertilised. This type of grassland
supports only a very small range of plants. Intensively farmed
grasslands, such as those used for silage production or animal
grazing for example generally only support a limited range
of plant species. Other types of highly modified grasslands
are those managed for amenity purposes, including football
pitches, parks and golf courses.