Lichens like undisturbed habitats. This graveyard holds at least 35 different species of lichen growing on its walls, headstones, flat tomb lids, old buildings, monuments and trees. In this habitat they fall into three colour types: white, yellow/orange and brown.

Examples are:

White: Aspicilia calcarea: this likes limestone and is happy to grow on the headstones. It forms white circular botches.

Orange/yellow: Caloplaca flavescens: this likes to grown on the vertical face of stone and is found on the walls and monuments. It has tiny orange fingers around the edge and is white towards its centre.

Brown: Collema furfuraceum. This has the English name ‘bat’s wings’ It is one of the jelly lichens because when it rains it absorbs water until it is jelly-like. It like to grow where mist comes in from the sea.

You can read more about Ireland’s lichens at

Text and photos by Paul Whelan.