The Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum) was considered amongst the rarest and most vulnerable of Europe's plants. Research which fed into the Biodiversity Action Plan and developed alongside it, has forced us to reconsider the level of threat to this species. A hitherto overlooked stage of the life-cycle, the gametophyte, has been shown to be comparatively abundant, genetically diverse, largely threat-free and with the potential over time to regenerate the familiar sporophyte stage. This research also promoted wider public interest which itself generated additional records, such that even the sporophyte is now known at more British sites than at any time previously and the species is accordingly considered ‘recovered’. However, continued legal protection and the need for further research are still recommended.