Paul Green 
I first visited Ireland with Penny Austin, Vera Copp, Geraldine Crouch, Ian Green and Di Maxwell in September 1988 to help with recording for the BSBI Monitoring Scheme. Spending a week in Co. Waterford and a week in Co. Galway, from then on I fell in love with Ireland. Even so I did not return again until 1997 when I offered to help the BSBI with recording for the New Atlas. After that there was no keeping me away from Co. Waterford. Visiting every year, I moved to New Ross, Co. Wexford in January 2006.
To start with my brother and I decided to record by 5x5km squares (but always keeping to a 1km square or tetrad within these squares) because of the amount of time we would have recording. It soon became clear that this was too large a unit to record with. In 2002 I started to record using tetrads, meaning I more or less was starting from scratch again. This meant there were now twenty-five tetrads per 10km square instead of the four 5x5km squares I had become used to. It soon proved a much more efficient way of recording. Co. Waterford has 38 10km squares, comprising of 12 squares that have land in all 25 tetrads (at least at low tide) and 26 part squares of varying number of tetrads. In all there are 544 tetrads in the county. I have visited all but two of the 544 tetrads at least once since 2002, S01F was only visited in 1998 and S01K I have never visited, (this is only a very small part of a tetrad on the edge of the Knockmealdown Mountains).
The majority of tetrads have been visited at least twice. Only a few of the part tetrads along the edge of the Knockmealdown Mountain range have had just one visit. It is unlikely that many other species would be found at other times of the year in these tetrads. Recording is not even over the county. The eastern end is probably much better recorded than any other area of the county. This is partly because I always stayed at this end of the county. It is not the number of visits to a tetrad that gives it a good species list it is the amount of time spent on the first visit and the number of habitats visited within the tetrad. The average time spent on a first visit to a tetrad was two hours. A normal list of species found on this visit would be between 150 and 180. It was rare to find 200 species on the first visit. The number of tetrads visited in any one day would vary from three to around ten. As I had limited time a normal day in the field would start around 7a.m. and carry on until it was too dark to see the plants.
All records made for the survey of the county and records extracted from as many sources as possible have been computerised using Mapmate. By the close of recording at the end October 2007 there were 175,708 records for the county in my database.
During 2005 and 2006 much of the recording done was gap filling for common species which I felt should be in a tetrad and had just been over-looked on previous visits. This varied from common species such as Rough Meadow-grass to plants restricted to set habitats like coastal species. It may seem pointless looking for a common species which you know will be there. On these gap filling visits other species were always added and occasionally rare species (like Rough Horsetail, found when Matt Stribley and I visited Stradbally to look for Sea Plantain). It was not always possible to find a common species in a tetrad without having to make more than one visit and then I was not always successful. Efforts were also made to try and add more tetrads for species that are often difficult to find or fill in tetrads for species growing scattered along rivers or the coast, e.g. Babington’s Orache, Canadian Waterweed, Frog Rush, Opposite-leaved Pondweed, Perfoliate Pondweed, River Water-dropwort, Sea Spleenwort, Stream Water-crowfoot, Summer Snowflake, Tunbridge Filmy-fern, etc. I found spring was a good time to search for Barren Strawberry while it was flowering and before the other vegetation had overgrown it, many tetrads were added this way. Saltmarshes were visited during the autumn of 2003 to make sure all the Glassworts were recorded well and to fill in any missing tetrads for Lax-flowered Sea-lavender. During the spring of 2005 and 2006 all the sites for Sweet Violet were visited to see if they could be named to a variety. The white flowered plants seemed much easier to identify than the purple flowered plants. At first I had named some sites as variety praecox; visiting all the sites with purple flowers again in 2006 I came to the decision that they were all variety odorata. All sites for Reflexed and Rock Stonecrop were rechecked in 2002 to make sure that they were named correctly. Nearly all had been, and in one case when Declan McGrath said he had found Rock Stonecrop in Ballynaneashagh Cemetery,Waterford, I was not sure if he was correct as I had recorded Reflexed Stonecrop. On a visit together we found that they both grew in the cemetery. All sites for Round-leaved Mint were rechecked to make sure they had been correctly identified as many I had originally recorded as Apple-mint. As I studied the flora of the county in more depth I started to look at more than the species, trying to record some species to varieties. As this took place late in the survey the majority have much more work to be done to give them an even coverage, for example I did not start looking at the varieties of Corn Spurrey until 2006.
The computerising of records was done between visits and in the winter months. This involved recording cards used for recording in the field and extracting records from literature and other sources. I would randomly print out a tetrad and check the list of species with the recording card. Very few errors were made and when a list of species was printed out for the county in the autumn of 2005 before I started writing the species accounts only one plant appeared on the list that shouldn’t have been there, it being Hjelmqvist’s Cotoneaster.
Many hours were spent extracting historical records and looking at specimens in herbariums. The first such visit was when Tim Rich invited me to Cardiff Museum, Cardiff. Many visits were made to the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin with a few trips to Trinity College, Dublin and the library at The Royal Irish Academy, Dublin and a single visit to the University of Cambridge, Botany School, Cambridge. The BSBI also gave me access to the records used for the 1962 Atlas and the New Atlas. These were wonderful. However, there were problems. When the records were converted to the national grid used today from that used for the 1962 Atlas many were placed in the wrong 10km square and in some cases did a disappearing act altogether and never appeared in the New Atlas. Some coastal species have been placed in inland squares but by far the worst are the number of species that appear in S21 and X17 that I am sure would never have grown in these two 10km squares. There are a number of records credited to Co. Waterford for S61 which belong to Co. Kilkenny. A number of these have specimens in DBN to support the record. There are a number of other individual records scattered around the county which are likely to have been placed in the wrong 10km square. Consequently, care must be taken in interpretation with many pre 1987 records in the New Atlas. Also, X27 is shownas one of the 10km squares that had no work done in it for the New Atlas; records made in 1997 were sent in but for some reason never appeared on the maps.
The writing of the flora started in the autumn of 2005 and finished during the spring of 2007 with additional information added later as new plant records were made during 2007. My proof readers were very efficient returning checked pages very soon after I had sent them.
The number of whole or part days each year I have spent on my own or with other botanists in the field recording in Co. Waterford from 27 April 1997 to 31 October 2007:
Year Number of days
1997 31
1998 15
1999 1
2000 19
2001 28
2002 32
2003 76
2004 39
2005 55
2006 56
2007 17
Total number of days = 369
The number of whole or part days I have spent in the field recording in each month on my own or with other botanists in Co. Waterford since 27 April 1997:
Month Number of days
January 2
February 15
March 18
April 56
May 29
June 60
July 91
August 32
September 28
October 33
November 4
December 1
The number of records made in the field each year since 27 April 1997:
Year Number of records
1997 18468
1998 3080
1999 317
2000 9588
2001 13217
2002 31154
2003 51230
2004 20245
2005 12764
2006 6918
2007 1115
The average number of records made per day of recording since 27th April 1997: 456