Welcoming Essex Skipper Butterflies to Johnstown Castle Estate!

Our bid to boost biodiversity on the Johnstown Castle Estate is bringing us Essex Skipper butterflies!

The Essex Skipper – the smallest butterfly in Ireland – is quite new to Ireland, as well as Johnstown! It was first sighted in 2006 in the south-east corner of Wexford. The rare species has spread further north and west since then, and, now, Essex Skipper butterflies have started to make themselves at home at Johnstown Castle.

Planting for butterflies

To help support the biodiversity of our gorgeous gardens, and attract butterflies including Essex Skippers, we have allowed some areas of grass in the Johnstown Castle gardens to develop into wild meadow areas.

This change has made the garden much more attractive to butterflies and it has won over the Essex Skippers you can now look out for at Johnstown Castle Estate from July to August each year. They have mainly been spotted in the meadow area beside the entrance to the walled garden. They are also present in the second half of the walled garden (an area is not yet open to the public).

How to spot an Essex Skipper

  • Look out for small butterflies with bright orange-brown wings and brown antennae.
  • They will have their forewings angled above their hind wings.
  • Males have a thin black line running through the centre of the forewing.

Have you seen an Essex Skipper on your walk yet?

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