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 Bird’s-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.
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