Donal Hickey: Praying for rain — in Ireland

Donal Hickey: Praying for rain — in Ireland

IRISH folklore is replete with stories of priests praying for fine weather to help farmers save their crops in wet summers. However, the opposite could soon be happening ...

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Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s ...

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Donal Hickey: Red squirrel at risk

More tree-planting would help the survival of our native red squirrel, which is under serious threat from the American grey squirrel, a new study suggests.

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Donal Hickey: Explore your shore to find real treasure trove

Donal Hickey: Explore your shore to find real treasure trove

As people respond to the magnetic pull of the sea, expect to see plenty of coastal images in the Irish Examiner’s readers’ photo competition.

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Donal Hickey: Aren’t the trees just terrific?

Donal Hickey: Aren’t the trees just terrific?

MAYBE it’s just because there’s more time to stand back and observe during the coronavirus crisis, but am I the only person who thinks our trees never ...

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Dónal Hickey: Taking water for granted

Dónal Hickey: Taking water for granted

In the coming years, we’re likely to be hearing a lot more about ‘rainwater harvesting’ which is common in places such as Australia and parts of ...

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Donal  Hickey: Our parks need boost of green energy

Donal Hickey: Our parks need boost of green energy

One of the good things emerging from the coronavirus crisis is that so many people have come to appreciate the value of parks, open public spaces, forests and walks ...

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Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the ...

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Donal Hickey: Welcome to the blooming beautiful flowers of May

Donal Hickey: Welcome to the blooming beautiful flowers of May

You’re as welcome as the flowers in May is an old Irish greeting. So, in these times, it gives the heart a much-needed lift to see wild flowers blooming so ...

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Donal Hickey: Ancient goodness of garlic

Donal Hickey: Ancient goodness of garlic

An old belief in Irish folk medicine was that there’s a plant or herb for every ailment, if you could only find them. And there’s no problem this year ...

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Donal Hickey: Wonder all around to see

Donal Hickey: Wonder all around to see

People often say the wonders are all around us. If we only opened our eyes. And what better time than the May public holiday. Stroll at your ease along a country ...

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Donal Hickey: At last — cuckoo is here

Donal Hickey: At last — cuckoo is here

People of a certain vintage, yours truly included, still feel a childish delight on hearing the repeated ‘cuck-ooo, cuck-ooo’ break the stillness of ...

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Donal Hickey: Birdsong and sound of silence

Donal Hickey: Birdsong and sound of silence

It’s the silence. The huge drop in noise from motor traffic, and fewer people out and about enables us to hear sounds that are usually muffled by the bustle ...

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Donal Hickey: Call of the bog is in the air

Donal Hickey: Call of the bog is in the air

For many people, Easter was a time when they began an annual expedition to the bog, perhaps cutting the turf on the Saturday or bank holiday Monday when extra help ...

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Donal Hickey: Let’s doff Cap to nature

Donal Hickey: Let’s doff Cap to nature

I t’s not that long since suggestions that farmers should devote part of their lands exclusively to nature would have been treated with utter disdain.

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Donal Hickey: Stick to lowland walkways

Donal Hickey: Stick to lowland walkways

As one of the tens of thousands of people who took full advantage of recent fine weather to walk in the outdoors, it was clear to be seen that the vast majority ...

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Donal Hickey: Turning over a new leaf

Donal Hickey: Turning over a new leaf

Ireland is near the bottom of the league of EU countries when it comes to forestry, but could we be on the brink of an all-out, tree-planting blitz? If so, we’ll ...

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Seals part of Blaskets heritage and must be protected

Seals part of Blaskets heritage and must be protected

The well-publicised deer cull in Killarney National Park could boost calls for similar action against grey seals which, fishermen claim, are now out of control because ...

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Donal Hickey: There’s something in the air

Donal Hickey: There’s something in the air

THE open fire in the sittingroom has been replaced by the more efficient solid-fuel stove. But the smoke must still go somewhere.

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Donal Hickey: Time for frog-spotting

Donal Hickey: Time for frog-spotting

Some readers have been in touch about the movement of frogs, which is timely as these fascinating creatures now emerge from hibernation.

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Time to give nature free rein once again

Time to give nature free rein once again

If the Green Party is a partner in a new government we’re likely to hear about ‘rewilding’ as part of its programme.

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Old cures for warts and all

Old cures for warts and all

A recent column on traditional folk medicine involving the use of plants and herbs for treating various ailments drew a response from several readers.

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Donal Hickey: Huge fall in water bird numbers

Donal Hickey: Huge fall in water bird numbers

It's one of the great movements of nature. The arrival in Ireland of hundreds of thousands of birds from colder northern climes for the winter.

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Donal Hickey: Deer birth patterns evolving

Donal Hickey: Deer birth patterns evolving

An ongoing cull is resulting in a major reduction in the deer population in one of the country’s most visited natural attractions.

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Facing up to Lyme disease

Facing up to Lyme disease

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance ...

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Donal Hickey: Hawthorn was a natural medicine for the heart

Donal Hickey: Hawthorn was a natural medicine for the heart

Time was when people in Ireland didn’t run to doctors and pharmacists with every ache. Instead, they had their own medicine drawn from herbs and plants.

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Money for old rope is net gain

Money for old rope is net gain

It could be called money for old rope. Enterprising people are being urged to look at ways of turning abandoned fishing nets into useful products.

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Donal Hickey: A festive walk in the boglands prompts much food for thought

Donal Hickey: A festive walk in the boglands prompts much food for thought

A walk in the mountains or bogs can be highly recommended for working off the excesses of the festive season. It’s hard to beat the fresh air some of us will ...

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Ending the waste of spent grain

Ending the waste of spent grain

By now, pubs and homes are well stocked with booze for Christmas but, given the time of year that’s in it, few give a thought to what to do with the huge amount ...

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Keep an eye out for redwings this winter

Keep an eye out for redwings this winter

We hear a lot about the geese, ducks and swans that arrive here from colder climes for the winter, but much less about smaller birds that come here to escape harsher ...

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Birds of prey on the rise

Birds of prey on the rise

We often hear how nature will do well, even come back from the brink of extinction, if given a chance and some human help.

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Donal Hickey: It’s time to tackle food waste

Donal Hickey: It’s time to tackle food waste

AS the seasonal shopping splash-out gathers pace we can be certain of one thing: A sizeable amount of food will be thrown out post-Christmas, writes Donal Hickey.

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A look at wind and solar advances in EU countries

A look at wind and solar advances in EU countries

There are 30,000 wind turbines in Germany alone. In Denmark, for instance, 41% of electricity is wind-generated; in Germany, it is around 25%.

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Breaking News

Six rare spiders found in Killarney National Park

A NEW survey confirms the presence of at least six rare spiders in Killarney National Park.

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Donal Hickey: Battling for bat survival

Donal Hickey: Battling for bat survival

Even though long summer evenings, when bats emerge at dusk to devour flying insects, are the best time to see them, many people associate bats more with this time ...

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Hedges vital for wildlife

Hedges vital for wildlife

Anyone travelling the roads at this time of year will inevitably note examples of crude hedge-cutting. And the irony is that local authorities, which should be prime ...

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Be careful picking mushrooms- Ireland has 2,500 species, including 8 'magic'

Be careful picking mushrooms- Ireland has 2,500 species, including 8 'magic'

By now, you have to look a little harder for them under fallen leaves but wild mushrooms are still on the ground and the picking season can continue into November.

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‘Bashing’ invasive plants

‘Bashing’ invasive plants

More and more communities and volunteers are taking on environmental tasks around the country. In Clonmel, Co Tipperary, for example, people have united to get rid ...

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Meeting our tree targets must be an environmental priority

Meeting our tree targets must be an environmental priority

As Ireland continues to fail to meet its forestry targets, efforts are being redoubled to urge people to plant more trees, writes Donal Hickey

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Special report: Lyme disease - Failure to tackle tick problem may come back to bite us

Special report: Lyme disease - Failure to tackle tick problem may come back to bite us

A ten-fold increase in the debilitating disease should have alarm bells ringing, writes Donal Hickey, especially as some experts believe the real rate is even higher. ...

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Cases of Lyme disease soar in Cork/Kerry region

Cases of Lyme disease soar in Cork/Kerry region

There has been a ten-fold increase in the incidence of Lyme disease in the Cork/Kerry region alone, amid concerns the extent of the disease nationally is being hugely ...

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Fears for shrinking sand dunes as weather patterns, tides, currents and sand movements change

Fears for shrinking sand dunes as weather patterns, tides, currents and sand movements change

Old Mick Cahill used to say there was an acre of ground for every day of the year in the sand-dunes of his native Rossbeigh, on the Ring of Kerry.

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Getting inspired by autumn

Getting inspired by autumn

The turning of the seasons, especially summer easing into autumn, has for centuries inspired poets. The changing colours of trees and falling leaves which crunch ...

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Alice’s salmon of knowledge

Alice’s salmon of knowledge

There’s a revealing story well told by the writer Alice Taylor about the day a neighbour gave a present of a poached salmon to her family.

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Time is ripe for this berry

Time is ripe for this berry

As the weather turns cooler, people will be paying over the counter for cures for seasonal colds and sniffles. But we don’t have to look far for free vitamin ...

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Danes put brakes on fish farms

Danes put brakes on fish farms

THE Danish government has decided to ban new fish farms at sea, or expansion of existing ones. The move is being watched by the industry here and by people who continue ...

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Leaves withering too early- a cause of concern?

Leaves withering too early- a cause of concern?

What seems like a premature withering of leaves on certain trees iscausing concern to some readers. After all, we’re only just movinginto autumn and it’s ...

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Progress at snail’s pace

Progress at snail’s pace

Everyone knows there’s no chance of the Government reaching its target that such cars should make up 10% of all vehicles.

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Donal Hickey: We can do better on waste

Donal Hickey: We can do better on waste

It’s being proven again and again that a most effective way to train people to do something is to show how they can save money, however small the amount, by ...

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Wonderful year for our trees

Wonderful year for our trees

As we move towards autumn, people everywhere are remarking how magnificent trees look this year.

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