Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are ...

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Damien Enright: 'Are they mean to people?' Donald Trump asked about badgers

Damien Enright: 'Are they mean to people?' Donald Trump asked about badgers

He asked his Chief of Staff if he could show him some pictures of badgers, seeming to be unaware of the potential of his mobile phone.

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Damien Enright: Should you forgo fugu?

Damien Enright: Should you forgo fugu?

Pufferfish species are present off Irish coasts. As long ago as 2002, an article in Matt Murphy’s informative quarterly, Sherkin Comment, reported that a blunthead ...

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Damien Enright: An ‘event’ observed (for a while) over coffee on terrace

Damien Enright: An ‘event’ observed (for a while) over coffee on terrace

I took a break from scribbling this morning to have a coffee with my son, who had also taken a break from his writing. His mother and I met him and his wife and ...

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Damien Enright: Castaway, and trying to avoid exploding whales

Damien Enright: Castaway, and trying to avoid exploding whales

Last week, I wrote about a Cuvier’s beaked whale killed off our La Gomera coast by sharks or orcas and washed onto rocks at the mouth of a secluded beach. ...

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Damien Enright: Merciless predation on the beaches of Gomera

Damien Enright: Merciless predation on the beaches of Gomera

Gomera is always replete with stories to tell, and this week is no exception.

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Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Last week, I wrote about "small is beautiful" as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, ...

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Damien Enright: Nothing sappy about realising good fortune of living here

Damien Enright: Nothing sappy about realising good fortune of living here

It seems that what is damaging the world more than anything else is the extraction and use of fuel for the transport of goods and people. I'm stating the obvious ...

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Damien Enright: Splitting the silence of the upper valley in La Gomera

Damien Enright: Splitting the silence of the upper valley in La Gomera

Splitting the silence of the upper valley in La Gomera, the sharp crack of a rifle echoes between the steep, inaccessible scree slopes, patterned in horizontal or ...

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Damien Enright: Children’s joy back on the street as island lockdown lifted

Damien Enright: Children’s joy back on the street as island lockdown lifted

On April 25th, this Canary island of La Gomera was declared coronavirus-free. There were no deaths. Remoteness was an important factor.

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Damien Enright: ‘The Sausage’ finds himself between rock and a hard place

Damien Enright: ‘The Sausage’ finds himself between rock and a hard place

Lots of news to be reported from this remote island, despite the fact that we’re still banged up and only allowed to leave our flat for essentials.

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Damien Enright: Strawberry-munching lizards and froglike humans

Damien Enright: Strawberry-munching lizards and froglike humans

Before the Easter weekend, we were shocked to hear that ferries were carrying visitors from England across the Irish Sea and, according to Cork and Kerry people, ...

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Damien Enright: Coping with confinement by coronavirus in the Canaries

Damien Enright: Coping with confinement by coronavirus in the Canaries

I'm writing this column on March 25. Dates are suddenly vital. Measures to lower the death toll from Covid-19 improve daily. For some of us, their early implementation ...

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Damien Enright: Rats off their tree on La Gomera, but for very good reason

Damien Enright: Rats off their tree on La Gomera, but for very good reason

We will soon be returning to West Cork from La Gomera, in the Canary islands. Yesterday, I found the text of a light-hearted radio talk I gave about island life ...

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Fish being caught faster than they can reproduce

Fish being caught faster than they can reproduce

The oceans of the world should be farmed, as is fertile land wherever it exists on our planet. We call the rock that is Earth “our planet”. We assume ...

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Damien Enright: No first light on island as dust storm rages over Canaries

Damien Enright: No first light on island as dust storm rages over Canaries

ON SUNDAY morning two weeks ago, while I read reports in newspapers from all over the world of the ‘Calima’ of dust storms from Africa then obscuring ...

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Damien Enright: Worrying lack of rain as La Gomera struggles in dead heat

Damien Enright: Worrying lack of rain as La Gomera struggles in dead heat

In contrast to floods in Ireland, this island of La Gomera in the Canaries now suffers a worrying deprivation of rain and an increasing occurrence of ‘calimas' ...

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Gomera: beautiful walking trails and a bohemian life

Gomera: beautiful walking trails and a bohemian life

For those who enjoy encounters with flora, birds, marine, amphibian and avian varieties they don’t see every day, La Gomera, an island in the Canaries group, ...

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Where once was all bananas, we are now spoilt for choice

Where once was all bananas, we are now spoilt for choice

One of the exotic pleasure of this island of La Gomera, and indeed of all the Canary Islands, is the variety of fresh fruit one can enjoy in one’s porridge.

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Damien Enright: Miracle tree tagasaste can turn desert into arable land

Damien Enright: Miracle tree tagasaste can turn desert into arable land

The farmer who dropped by to give unasked-for advice to my friend and his wife clearing their newly bought quarter of an acre of long, abandoned terraces on a steep ...

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Damien Enright: ‘How enchanting for humanity that we have birds’

Damien Enright: ‘How enchanting for humanity that we have birds’

A Courtmacsherry neighbour, Kathy Gannon tells me that when the tide is out, the vast acres of clean, grey mud of the bay reflect the sun in splendour in the clear, ...

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Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent ...

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Damien Enright: On the Canaries, it is the ravens who predominate

Damien Enright: On the Canaries, it is the ravens who predominate

FIFTY seven Canada geese at Coolmain Strand and 47 Canarian ravens touring the sky above the blunted peak of the long- extinct volcano of La Gomera, in the Canary ...

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Grandmother whales help in pod with rearing of young

Grandmother whales help in pod with rearing of young

When I read about whale grandmothers running creches for their grandchildren while their parents went out to work — ie to find and round up fish to feed the ...

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Damien Enright:  A new formula could help prevent the wasting of fruits

Damien Enright:  A new formula could help prevent the wasting of fruits

Just now, in La Gomera in the Canary Island, the avocados are coming in as the mangas are going out.

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Great to see owls on our return to La Gomera

Great to see owls on our return to La Gomera

Yesterday evening, when we went to ‘our village’ in the Valley of the Great King on the island of La Gomera in the Canaries, we saw an owl in the first ...

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Dursey Island is a special place because of its remoteness

Dursey Island is a special place because of its remoteness

Last week, en route to La Gomera in the Canary Islands, I decide to stop off in Tenerife and take the 1.2km cable car ride to the top of Mount Teide, 3,660m above ...

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Unique ambience of Dursey Island under threat

Unique ambience of Dursey Island under threat

In our country we still have places that bear no evidence of disturbance by man, that are in their pristine state and rich with all the elements that feed the spirit ...

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Damien Enright: Offering a helping hand at shore gets seal of approval

Damien Enright: Offering a helping hand at shore gets seal of approval

Damien Enright reflects on a close encounter with a stranded seal pup.

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Merlin enchants the sky with wonderful wizardry

Merlin enchants the sky with wonderful wizardry

"A close observer of nature, he knew he had witnessed a rare sight indeed"

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Interplay of rooks above Cillmanister a lovely mystery

Interplay of rooks above Cillmanister a lovely mystery

Touched by the last rays of the sun, the grey mud of the estuary is dimpled with silver pools. Above them, rooks fly in their thousands, rooks uncountable, on different ...

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Damien Enright: Calamari or kalamari tastes great however you spell it

Damien Enright: Calamari or kalamari tastes great however you spell it

The other evening I saw a Donegal woman on TV demonstrate the slicing and cooking of squid for a TV chef.

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Winter crept silently over the woods and banished autumn

Winter crept silently over the woods and banished autumn

Here, it was a chilly ending to October; there, on the Greek island which we left just 48 hours ago, it was a warm sea and a white beach and the infinity of space ...

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An assignation with the Hellenic seductress frangipani

An assignation with the Hellenic seductress frangipani

Here in Syros, a small island in the Cyclades in Greece, I was ambling homeward at night after a memorable meal of kalamari (squid) stuffed with feta cheese, when ...

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Fleeing Trump, unlikely, welcome birds of different feather

Fleeing Trump, unlikely, welcome birds of different feather

Driving along the Ring to Clonakilty bay side road in bright sunlight with the tide out, I saw bunches of dunlin roosting along the channels, and a small flock of ...

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Crickets for lunch anyone? Time - is running out - to get over our western food prejudices

Crickets for lunch anyone? Time - is running out - to get over our western food prejudices

Sandhoppers for breakfast? It’s just not cricket

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Importing apples highlights damage to our environment

Importing apples highlights damage to our environment

I've been watching the antics of three grey crows that form a small gang hereabouts. Last night, in the near darkness and drizzle, when I was walking by the sea, ...

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We can talk about climate change till the cows come home

We can talk about climate change till the cows come home

There’s a lot in what the small Swedish girl said about school- goers walking to school rather than getting the parents to drive them there. It would save ...

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In awe of nature’s bounty on a glorious September day

In awe of nature’s bounty on a glorious September day

In awe of nature’s bounty on a glorious September day

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Bleeding canker disease hitting beloved ‘conker’ tree hard

Bleeding canker disease hitting beloved ‘conker’ tree hard

A reader from Ovens recently got in touch to voice concern about the dead horse chestnut trees

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Orchard with ancient cultivars is the apple of my eye

Orchard with ancient cultivars is the apple of my eye

After an hour touring the gardens and orchard of a local farmer, I feel I should share his knowledge of old apple varieties while it is still verdant in my mind.

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Eagles are the jewel in Glengarriff’s glittering crown

Eagles are the jewel in Glengarriff’s glittering crown

Glorious Glengarriff and Garinish, the ‘near island’,can indeed be called gems in that they are precious, more precious with every passing year, trenchant ...

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Monomaniacs herald the ruin of English nation

Monomaniacs herald the ruin of English nation

‘Grey’s Elegy’ does in verse what cow painters do in oils. ‘The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea ... And leaves the world to darkness ...

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Damien Enright: Great writers took inspiration from walking

Damien Enright: Great writers took inspiration from walking

As landlords’ enclosures of villages and commonages during England’s industrial revolution drove landless countrymen into the maws of the poet William ...

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We need to treasure our oceans like we once did gods

We need to treasure our oceans like we once did gods

Three fin whales, each bigger than the Courtmacsherry whale-watch boat, were spotted off the Old Head of Kinsale last week.

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Squirrelling away to look at a rarely spotted rodent

Squirrelling away to look at a rarely spotted rodent

The story this week begins with an unfortunate flat squirrel encountered on a road in the Czech Republic, awkwardly renamed Czechia, uncomfortably similar to that ...

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Damien Enright: Quasi-camping with family in Czech countryside

Damien Enright: Quasi-camping with family in Czech countryside

I'm intrigued that edible dormice may share this very barn, my son’s workshop in South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where I have temporarily set up a desk.

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We have a lot to learn about nature but pond newts a start

We have a lot to learn about nature but pond newts a start

Last Sunday afternoon, I went to see newts in a pond created by an ecologically-minded doctor and his family in West Cork.

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Gazing at hedgerows a much under-rated summer activity

Gazing at hedgerows a much under-rated summer activity

On these midsummer days of this (mostly) lovely midsummer weather, there’s so much to look at when one goes walking that it’s almost impossible to get ...

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