Reservations please: insect hotels for overwintering friends

Fiann Ó Nualláin discusses the work of our insect friends in the garden and suggests a seasonal B&B.

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Giving bees another job

Mary O’Riordan says when the honey crop has been removed, there is usually a huge population of bees in the hive, so it is a good time to get some comb drawn.    

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Massacre at mass on Scariff Island

They are such idyllic places that it is hard to fathom the violence once meted out on Irish islands, writes Dan MacCarthy.

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Young hedgehogs fend for themselves as winter looms

THE evenings are drawing in. It’s getting dark early. Out there in the snuffling night, young hedgehogs are on their great life-or-death adventure, writes Damien Enright.

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Halloween unjustly demonises the harmless bat

THE build-up to Halloween seems to be starting earlier each year and bats, more than any other animal, have come to symbolise this ancient pagan festival. Bats are being used to create a creepy, macabre, and ghostly atmosphere. Be not afraid, however. It’s mostly mythology.

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The weight of a paper clip, the red admiral butterfly is admirably plentiful

’RED Admiral thrives despite wet summer’ runs a headline on Butterfly Conservation’s website. This glamorous insect is doing well in the UK, writes Richard Collins.

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Yes you 'canna' eat this beautiful flower

We have the climate and the know-how to nurture this tropical and exotic plant, says Fiann Ó Nualláin.

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The islands of Ireland: Take Ireland's only cable car to Dursey Island

The sign tells you that you are 3,310km from Moscow as such signs sometimes inform the curious geographer, writes Dan MacCarthy

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No rumpy pumpkin as calls fall on deaf ears

Natural selection is untidy, it often leaves ‘loose-ends’ behind it. Whale front legs evolved into fins, writes Richard Collins

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In autumn the haw is the lord of our hedgerows

Whole swathes of country hedges are red with haws. If we contrived to harvest them, we’d be millionaires, writes Damien Enright

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See our blooming beauty

Life must surely be worth living for anyone that opens their eyes to the beauty all around us. And, often, we don’t have far to go, writes Donal Hickey.

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Sweet on ‘sour grapes’ and bringing some late colour to your garden

Certain varieties of Penstemons can bring colour and life to a garden late in the year, says Peter Dowdall

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The islands of Ireland: Achillbeg a beauty to behold off Mayo

Dwarfed by its magnificent neighbour, Achillbeg lies to the south east of the dominant landmass with which it shares a name. It forms the pinnacle of an inverted triangle and was once connected to Achill itself. Now, a narrow sound separates the two Achills through which a powerful current flows.

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Autumn the season of foliage in many hues

For tree-lovers, autumn is perhaps the most beautiful time of the year when foliage changes into a rich mixture of brown, red, yellow, orange and gold.

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Aid to the canon of information on Irish wildlife

Initiatives like the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll give hope for nature in Ireland. 

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Warmer climate brings welcome invaders

Night herons have nested for the first time in Britain. A pair raised two chicks at Westhay Moor nature reserve in Somerset. 

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Glowing under the sugarloaf

It’s no wonder that Peter Dowdall sees Powerscourt as one of Ireland’s jewels. And he thoroughly enjoyed a recent visit with head gardener Alex Slazenger, who embodies the change and continuity in this special place

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Garden offers cures to what rose garden might occasion

Fiann Ó Nualláin on how to lessen the intensity of Rose gardener’s disease from injuries while pruning

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Skimmia shapes up for the winter gardens

Skimmia is a beloved feature of winter, but upkeep is key to its good health, writes Peter Dowdall

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Inishturk island: Home to 60 people, several B&Bs and a lively summer seisiún

Just south of Clew Bay and sandwiched between Clare Island and Inishbofin is the roughly equally-sized island of Inishturk.

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One small step for me, one giant leap for nature

Stepping out of Central Station, Belfast, at about 7pm on the Saturday before last, I saw, at the end of the street, a murmuration of starlings wheeling about the sky.

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Why our bats are really smooth operators

Bats transmit high-pitched sound pulses, using their echoes to picture the surroundings. 

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The silent killer plants that lurk in our bogs

As more people become aware of the treasures our bogs hold, their attention is being drawn to unusual plants which decorate the peatlands.

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