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May 27th - Lisnabreeny, Cregagh Glen


Botany


Lisnabreeny lies on the south east border of the City of Belfast, an enchanting glen path begins at the very outward end of the Cregagh Road and follows the glen stream steadily rising uphill until it meets the Manse Road. Here the path goes beneath the road via a culvert, into what remains of the old Lisnabreeny estate walled garden. From there it carries on for another mile or so until it reaches a Rath at the top of Lisnabreeny hill, the highest point in the Castlereagh hills.

Nesca Robb, local writer and poet donated the house and 156 acres of land including farmland and most of Cregagh Glen to the National Trust in 1938, making it one of the earliest National Trust acquisitions in Northern Ireland.


Field Club members gathered near the entrance on the A55 ring road on this fine spring evening and set off at a gentle pace in search of the various flora that that Lisnabreeny has to offer.

The group found a good variety of plants including Wood Avens (Geum urbanum), Enchanters Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana), Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) and Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys).


Along the way Craig talked about recent work carried out by the National Trust such as the upgrade and improvement of paths, the replacement of bridges and the removal of Leylandii and replacement with native broadleaf trees in the old walled garden area.


The evening finished with a visit to the former US military cemetery memorial on the Rocky Road. In 1943 the National Trust donated a 10 acre field to the United States military for use as a graveyard. The Cemetery opened in December 1943 and by the end of the war 148 servicemen were buried there, most of them the victims of training accidents. In 1948 the cemetery was closed and the bodies moved to cemeteries in England and the United States.

In 2013, Castlereagh Borough Council and the National Trust embarked on a project to create a fitting memorial to the fallen who were once buried there. The existing original gates and walls were repaired and a simple Mourne granite stone was carved with the names of the servicemen. The garden area was created with two Cherry trees and white gravel paths to reflect the original cemetery.


Craig Somerville

 

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Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)