We’ve had a lot of queries about this on the website over the past month or so and, as such, it’s not been directly addressed anywhere. So here it is, the definitive answer.
Rhododendron plants bloom at the Vee above Clogheen between mid-May and mid-June each year.
The blooming season is quite short and it’s not, unfortunately, an exact science as it depends to a large extent on the weather. If it’s too cold the blooms can be delayed by a week or so and if you get bad weather during the blooming season a lot of the flowers can be blown off before the middle of June.
To be sure of seeing the very attractive display along the road from Clogheen to the Bothán (at the car park for Baylough) the best time to visit is the last week in May or the first week in June.
The Rhododendron found in Ireland and the UK is Rhododendron Ponticum. Its flowers are exceptionally attractive when they do bloom, which makes it easy to forget that the species is not native to Ireland and is, in fact, a noxious weed. it is an exceptionally virulent plant that will grow voraciously and kill every other plant around it. If sapling trees are planted in the environs of Rhodendron it will even kill them by removing all access to light. The roots also prevent smaller plants access to water.
The Rhododendron was only introduced to the area around the Vee in the 1960′s and has, since that time taken over the entire mountainside, killing off virtually every other plant that had previously grown there.