You are just leaving the western car park at O’Loughlin’s Farm. These lands have been used for low-intensity agriculture for many years. Cattle and some sheep were grazed outside all year round and artificial fertilizer was rarely used on the farm. At one time most local farms were managed using this ‘low input’ approach. The O’Loughlin farm is now a rare example of species-rich habitats containing many plants and animals that are now scarce in the wider landscape.
Just beside the car park, there is an old lone hawthorn tree. The Gaelic name for this tree is ‘Sceach Gheal’ meaning white bush which comes from its profuse blossom during May.
Single Hawthorn trees feature widely within this upland landscape. Native Gaelic myth and legend has many references to the tree and its connection to the otherworld. Historically farmers have avoided damaging these trees in the belief that disaster would befall those who dared to dig up or cut down a ‘fairy thorn’.