Donal Hickey

New grants and apprenticeships are aiming to conserve Irish skills of old

TIME was when the traditional Irish thatched cottage was associated with rural poverty. Then, there was a change in perception when photographer John Hinde — a man who always portrayed Ireland as a land of perpetual sunshine and blue skies — came along. His postcards featuring such cottages went all over the world.

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The buzz on the buzzard

ONCE persecuted to extinction here, the buzzard, a bird of prey, seems to be making a comeback and we’ll probably be seeing more of it in southern parts, writes Donal Hickey

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Burnin’ down the grouse to make way for fresh growth in the country

JUST like Christmas, it happens annually with calendar certainty. From around St Patrick’s Day until well into April, the uplands are ablaze in parts of the west and southwest. 

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It’s time to feed on the weed

OUR grandmother’s liking for carrageen moss was looked upon as a sort of an oddity, says Donal Hickey.

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Falling eel stocks a concern

ON a visit to the royally-endorsed English Market, in Cork, globetrotting TV chef Rick Stein was pulled, as if by magnetic force, to the seafood corner, as are many.

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Protect natural habitats

A WALK on a country road these days will show that we don’t have to look too far to see nature showing its face again, writes Donal Hickey.

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Anglers bring in more revenue in Ireland than golfers

Bold lettering on a quirky tee-shirt we saw a man wearing the other day declared that if you want to be happy for a day, get drunk, but if you want to be happy for life, take up fishing.

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Cigarettes are litter, no ifs or butts

IT seems many peopl do not realise they are causing litter when they throw a cigarette butt on the ground.

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Cleaning up our streams

IRELAND is speckled with small lakes and streams, about which little enough is known scientifically.

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The perils of plastic pollutants

GIVEN the massive amounts of marine waste that was washed in by last year’s storms, people might be justified in thinking that there was little more of it left in the oceans.

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Spring is definitely in the air now that St Brigid’s Day has passed

THE ‘biddies’ were out over the weekend in some rural areas, keeping alive an age-old custom that marks the coming of spring while schoolchildren here and there have been making St Brigid’s crosses in honour of the saint whose feast day is February 1.

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Water sports spreading invasive species across Ireland

PEOPLE who move between locations to use waterways for sport may, unwittingly, be spreading dangerous invasive species in Ireland.

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We must prioritise coastal protection and tackle erosion

WITH memories of storms a year ago still fresh, people in coastal areas worry about a recurrence of the damage and flooding — made worse by a lack of hope that anything meaningful will be done about the situation.

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Help to save our wildlife

WE might as well get into positive mode early in the New Year.

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Foxes are at home in cities

PEOPLE in city and country areas may hear eerie cries these nights, but be not be afraid. The screams might sound like the banshee. More than likely, however, it’s a female fox as we are in the mating season for the madra rua.

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Threats to salmon widen

AS people tuck into mountains of smoked salmon — most of which is the farmed variety — over the festive season, the wild Atlantic salmon will continue its long battle for survival.

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Dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, here's the facts

WHY, asks Donal Hickey, is it that so many Christmas cards continue to feature images of snow on the ground when white Christmases are so rare?

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Tips to ensure rats and mice are not an unwelcome visitor this winter

IT might be hard to credit, but there has been a downside to the remarkably mild year we have enjoyed. The prolonged fine weather and abundance of food created ideal breeding conditions for rats and mice and is resulting in a current boom for pest control firms which are hard-pressed to meet demand for their service.

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Plants face icy future

LARGE amounts of water flowing into the North Atlantic from melting Polar ice caps, as a result of global warming, could have serious consequences for growing conditions along our south and west coasts.

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