Damien Enright

We kept the best til last on our trip

TO paraphrase the well-worn phrase from the great poet, TS Eliot (who may well have stolen it from someone else), his advice to writers was: “Don’t plagiarise, steal.” We arrive at the end of our journey, and find the place we should have visited at the beginning.

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Paradise island with a sting in the tail

Wandering around the island of Lombok you’ll encounter everything from sea turtles to black water buffalo. Among the less friendly fauna Damien met was a scorpion, which dealt him a vicious sting.

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In the colourful land of Tír na Óg

“I don’t mind the heat but will those damn doves never stop!,” I asked my wife, paraphrasing poor Caruthers, the prototypical English administrator in the heart of darkest Africa, driven demented not by the doves but by the incessant drums.

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Sound of silence in an ash-covered city

I suppose I should have wondered about the unfamiliar silence that lay over the city of Yogjakarta in central Java when I was woken at 4am by the call of the muezzin to dawn prayers at the mosque.

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Sweet thrill of the thrush’s song

THESE dark evenings, against the grey sky, rooks tour in their thousands and squawk and caw and make metallic noises that overwhelm all other sound but for the lambent, repetitive notes of a blackbird and the full-throated variations of a song thrush carolling from the top of a tree.

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Heed warning on sprat stocks

COLIN BARNES, originally from Sussex, has been fishing in Irish waters for over 30 years.

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‘Cap and trade’ incentives may slow global warming

ON Jan 22 we learnt that, after heated debate between factions, the European Commission pledged that by 2030 it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared with 1990 levels, and produce 27% of its energy from renewable sources by the same date.

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Migrant birds give climate change clues

ON mornings after the storms, when the sun is bright and warm and the tide is far out, the floor of the bay stretches away in miles of mud and sand, dissected by narrow channels reflecting the blue of the sky.

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Ivy an unsung hero of our environment

THE wind in the beech tops sounds like an overhead railway rocketing down a tunnel, but on the ground there isn’t a puff of breeze and the water in the pond is mirror-still.

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Curl up with a great nature book this winter and you’ll be all ready to stride into spring

THE short daylight hours of the Christmas holidays and of winter in general offer the opportunity for those who enjoy the outdoor world to read up on the finer details of natural history and be replete with knowledge and curiosity when the world reopens to welcome a new spring.

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La Palma an island steeped in history

THE rain lies like a soft gauze curtain across the view of the terraced mountains and the white houses of the island of La Palma, westernmost of the Canary Islands.

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Glorious weather unveils our beautiful country

IN the glorious weather during the weekend of Nov 23 and 24 — historic weather, one might almost say — the canvas of the Kerry landscape would have inspired, and probably defeated, the efforts of the greatest painters.

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Really good news as elver population grows

THIS year, the number of elvers swimming up UK rivers and waterways was 20 times the norm of recent decades. This is good news.

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