You may have the impression that we don’t see as many butterflies around Ireland as we used to – and your impression would be right. Eighteen percent of the native Irish butterfly fauna is under threat of extinction and a further fifteen percent is near threatened. The focus of this article is one species, the Mountain Ringlet, which is unfortunately extinct in Ireland. All is not lost, however, because the Mountain Ringlet, is still found throughout the British Isles and Europe.
A dark brown butterfly with a row of black-centred orange eyespots, it is found predominantly in mountain grassland. Adults are highly active only in bright sunshine. They keep low to the ground in short flights, pausing regularly to bask among grass tussocks.
The Mountain Ringlet was recorded in the nineteenth century in Ireland from Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo to Lough Gill, Co. Sligo and was last reported in 1901 from Nephin Mountain, Co. Mayo.