Moss on stone

Lately while out rambling..


Thick with moisture loving mosses, these plants are earths oldest colonizers.  A hidden world for microscopic plants and important home for invertebrates, mosses are particularly fond of stone walls.


This garden wall has niches built in, and while we’ve seen these inside cottages, they are quite rare in garden walls in these parts.  I’m advised they may have been for geese or hens to roost in.


A fine farmhouse in it’s day, it was owned by a mysterious Russian woman called Mara Losseff, a soprano and film actress of some fame in 1930s Germany.


She had fled the War and lived here in Donegal for a number of years, before abandoning this homestead in the 1950s


Remote and lonely


But lovely to see the old lime render still breathing


Note the splash skirt of lime one third way down the wall to throw off water


Hand dressed sills and lintels


Washes of coloured lime in bedrooms


And big old slabs in the byre roof.  Looking at the 1830s map this is the oldest part of the building, which was then a smaller cottage dwelling.


During WW1 thousands of women were sent to gather moss across Europe due to its natural iodine content being good for packing wounds.


Moss was used to make bread during famine times in Sweden. Other uses have been for purifying water, packing food, bedding and insulating dwellings.





19 thoughts on “Moss on stone

  1. That was a superb meditation on a wonderful olde house. Those Cyclopean slabs on the byre roof suggest a very confident age when the building was young.
    The uses of mosses are well worth further thought. As both the first & last plants in any given spot they are a foundation for what comes later and a seal on what has gone.

  2. Funny how your lovely blog posts about old stone buildings perfectly synchronise with my ‘driving mistakes’ viz yesterday., yet another old lady falling over needing 999 attention with 30 disgruntled onlookers hissing due to ‘incurred delays’. Crazy, You only can but Laugh and Smile & Think Yourself Lucky you are in Ireland where there are far fewer to contend with.

  3. What a poignant story about Mara`s life and Richard Tauber. My hero . I wonder if the old house will ever be renovated .
    Material for a good documentary here .

  4. Hi, lovely article. This house looks very similar to one I’ve had my envious eyes on for a couple of years since we started holidaying in Donegal – I don’t suppose it lies midway between Clonmany and The Rusty Nail pub?
    Thanks, Paul

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