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She was a big deal in botany.

Born in the Cork village of Ballylickey, Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815) specialised in lichens, mosses, liverworts and seaweeds and discovered many plants that were not just new to Ireland during that time, but also new to science.

This month, a festival being held in her honour will allow people of all ages to explore and enjoy her fascinating world in West Cork.

The Ellen Hutchins Festival 2018 runs as part of National Heritage Week from August 18th to 26th with a ton of cool, interactive events planned.

You can get a full programme here, but in the meantime, here are four events we’ll be checking out:

1. Broaden your plant knowledge

The National Biodiversity Data Centre will host two workshops in Glengarriff Woods on Sunday, August 19th (Lichens with Paul Whelan, €30) and Monday, August 20th (Bryophytes with Dr Joanne Denyer, €50).

2. Learn to paint botanical art

Botanical artist Shevaun Doherty will host Fabulous Fruit, a two-day botanical art workshop in Bantry House Tearooms on August 23rd and 24th.

3. Take the heritage trail

Explore Bantry Bay’s shores, woods and mountains by following a self-guided trail telling the story of Ireland’s first female botanist from August 18th-26th. Pick up a leaflets at Bantry Tourist Office or Library and follow in Ellen’s footsteps visiting many of the places she hunted for plants, as well as her birth and burial sites.

4. Sail the bay and taste local seaweed

A free boat trip will take the passengers around the beautiful inner bay on Sunday, August 19th at 5pm, seeing the land and shores that Ellen explored, as well as the places where she lived. The guided tour will be followed by an exciting chance to taste seaweeds. Booking is free and available here.


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