Donal Hickey

Mating call of stags are being heard in mountain valleys of Killarney

The primal mating cry of Japanese Sika deer is already being heard in the mountain valleys of Killarney, heralding the start of the so-called rutting season.

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Coastal tales from Kerry

On a glorious, sunny day recently in the Dingle Peninsula, I met two young German men who were admiring the view from Ceann Sibeal (Sybil Head). They didn’t know they were standing at the location of a Star Wars movie set, earlier in the summer.

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Pine martins: one of Ireland’s rarest wild mammals being portrayed as a blood-thirsty lamb kille

How is it that there always seems to be some animal in Ireland singled out for demonisation and persecution asks Donal Hickey

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Cork: A great spot for birds

A wonder of the natural world is currently taking place.

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Calling all for beach clean-up

A casual walk on a beach anywhere will tell you the ocean has become a massive dumping ground.

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Foxglove thriving in ditches

Foxglove, fabled in folklore not just for its beauty but also for its medicinal properties, is thriving this summer in the warm and, occasionally, sunny conditions, writes Donal Hickey

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We don't appreciate the gems on our doorstep

How is it that so many people dream of seeing the wonders of faraway places while often ignoring gems which are virtually on their doorstep?

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Hedges: to cut or not to cut

People in rural areas have rarely seen the level of vegetation growth along roadsides as that witnessed this summer.

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Burren is haven for butterflies

A scarcity of butterflies has been noted by yours truly and others this summer, but late July and early August can often be good times to see these delightful, delicately coloured creatures, experts tell us.

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Reducing food waste could save you €1000 per year

ANYONE want to save €1,000 per year, asks Donal Hickey

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Treasures wash in with tide

BE IT an intriguing message in a bottle from some far-flung corner of the world, or even a glittering gold nugget, the oceans have ways of hiding things until, seemingly, the right person just happens along. 

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These are the creatures you can expect to encounter in nature this summer

It’s summer holiday time for the children, who will be out and about and, hopefully, enjoying the natural world which comes alive at this time of year. And, given that so much is taught about nature and the environment in school, the rising generation may be able to teach their mums and dads a thing or two.

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Our bogs are rich in species

A LONG country roads these days, you’ll occasionally meet tractors towing trailers clamped high with new season turf, being brought home earlier than usual as a result of excellent drying conditions in the bogs.

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Piseogs abound for the whitethorn plant

Several people have been in contact regarding the notable profusion of blossoming whitethorn, or hawthorn, since May, writes Donal Hickey. 

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Scourge of the midges during an Irish summer

An unseen enemy lies in wait for people making the most of fine weather and long evenings at this time of year. Many people may not have heard of Culicoides impunctatus, but everybody is familiar with a tiny creature called a midge, its name in plain language.

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Wonders of our wildflower

Some of the wildflowers that once decked the landscape are no longer seen, except in the remote corners, due to modern farming methods, destruction of habitat and the loss of hedgerows.

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Magical summer is here and people are heading toward the coast

Summer is here, at last, and with it comes the magnetic pull of the sea, writes Donal Hickey

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Flood plain mistakes mean expensive lessons have been learnt

NEW housing minister Simon Coveney accepts mistakes were made in the recent past over building on flood plains. Expensive lessons have been learnt, as many people who built and bought houses in such areas would agree.

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Wild deer an issue for State

FARMERS and other private landowners are losing patience over damage caused by roaming wild deer, some of which stray outside the bounds of State property such as national parks.

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The ancient tradition of Bealtaine is still celebrated

THE OLD pagan festival of Bealtaine, marking the coming of summer and the season of fertility, is still celebrated at an ancient stone fort at the foot of the Paps mountains, writes Donal Hickey

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