This book contains detailed species accounts as well as a site guide for the best areas to see butterflies in Ireland, with photos of 28 sites. It also includes practical advice on butterfly conservation including tips to encourage them to visit and breed in gardens. It contains life cycle accounts and photos of all 35 Irish butterflies that are residents or regular migrants.
There is a fantastic selection of books today on insects of the British Isles by British authors. However, there is always a lack of information on the Irish fauna. Jesmond Harding's book Discovering Irish Butterflies and their Habitats addresses this gap and is one of the few texts on Irish insects. Addressing an even bigger gap, Jesmond's book has been written for a wide audience and there is something in it for gardeners, professional ecologists, and indeed anybody with an interest in Ireland's butterflies. This self-published book is the result of twelve years of personal dedication to the study of Irish butterflies. It is divided into three sections. Jesmond is a butterfly conservationist as well as a keen gardener and he combines his knowledge very effectively in the first section by looking at wider conservation issues affecting Irish butterflies and then gives practical information on creating and managing garden habitats for native butterfly species. The second section consists of the species accounts and each account is furnished with beautiful photographs, detailed descriptions of the animals, their behaviour, foodplants, preferred habitats, and distribution in Ireland. The final section gives practical information some of the best butterfly sites in Ireland - how to get there, access issues, what species you might expect to see, etc. Did I like this book? Yes! And all members of my family that have ever expressed ANY interest in butterflies received a copy for Christmas or their birthdays. It is very well priced, informative and very accessible. Any changes I would have made? I would have loved to have seen some maps for the distribution of the species and perhaps photos of the caterpillars for each species. But overall, it is a great book and a credit to Jesmond's dedication to the subject. Eugenie Regan, National Biodiversity Data Centre