Reenadinna Yew Wood

The rarest habitat type within Killarney National Park is probably the area of pure Yew woodland known as Reenadinna, which can be found on the Muckross Peninsula between the lower and middle lakes. This is the only significant area of Yew woodland in Ireland and is one of probably no more than three pure Yew woods in Europe.(photo Mike Sandover)

The wood covers an area of approximately 60 acres (25 hectares) which comprises a series of undulating limestone outcrops known as reefs. The soil is generally thin throughout the wood and in many parts of the wood the Yew trees are rooted into fissures in the bare limestone. The dense shade cast by the Yew trees means that flowering plants do not flourish here, and the herb layer is poorly developed. Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) on the other hand, are abundant and thrive in the cool, humid atmosphere. Continuous blankets of moss which can be up to 6" deep are found in some parts of the wood.

There is, however, little regeneration of the Yew trees themselves within Reenadinna. Overgrazing of the woodland floor by Sika Deer could be partly to blame, but exclosures (small areas of the wood fenced off to exclude deer) set up in 1969 have still demonstrated little Yew regeneration. The dense canopy in the Yew wood allows little direct sunlight to reach the woodland floor and this in itself may prevent the growth of Yew seedlings.



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