Scourge of urban noise

TIME was when noise nuisance in Ireland was generally created by that dreaded dog which never stopped barking in an area, or the busy, inconsiderate neighbour who insisted on working machinery late at night, writes Donal Hickey

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Where hippie ambience and vacationers’ expectations collide

La Gomera offers a uniquely different ‘vibe’ from other Canary islands in one important respect. Apart from its unique cloud forests, unspoiled beaches, walking paths and absence of glitzy resorts, a distinctive laid back feeling abides, writes Damien Enright

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Mammoth tracks give an insight into lives

During a 2014 field trip to Oregon’s Lake County, palaeontologist Gregory Retallack discovered fossilised animal tracks, writes Richard Collins

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Chilly air doesn’t diminish warm welcome of La Gomera

The Valle Gran in La Gomera in the Canary Islands is much the same as ever, writes Damien Enright

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Put our slurry to good use

Copious amounts of slurry from Irish farms, as well as some of the million tonnes of food waste produced here annually, could be used to create energy, writes Donal Hickey

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Hedgehogs face a prickly future in Ireland

Over the next few weeks, hedgehogs will be awakening from their winter slumbers. The prickly porkers have slept, tucked up in nests of leaves and grass, since October or November, relying on their heating fuel, brown body-fat, for sustenance, writes Richard Collins

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Rain, rain, go away

It is often raining in the Horse’s Glen when the sun is shining in every other part of the country, at any time of the year, writes Donal Hickey. 

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Unsplattered windscreens a sign of low insect numbers

The number of winged insects in Germany has fallen by 75% over the last 27 years, writes Damien Enright. 

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Pebble might be key to Earth’s origin

Hypatia, the first great female astronomer and mathematician, lived in Egypt in the 5th Century AD. 

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Puffin Islands strictly for the 10,000 birds from across the Atlantic

For the last few years, the Skelligs have become the most visited islands in Ireland, popularised by the intergalactic sagas of Star Wars.

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Dippy to display dinosaur designs in Belfast

Pope Francis will visit Ireland in 2018. Whether he will venture into the North isn’t yet known but, later in the year, Belfast will welcome another distinguished visitor.

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‘Pill’ could aid deer control

It might sound silly to suggest a form of “the pill’’ for animals, or some other means of contraception to keep ou burgeoning deer population down. Not all that fanciful, however.

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Ocean reveals we’re not the only species to use tools

One of my sons received an underwater camera with video for Christmas. They’re not expensive, but to make use of them you’d best be somewhere with acceptable sea temperatures.

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Start January as you mean to go on - A cup of tea, chips and thee

A day on the beach on the first day of a new year beats a green smoothie and a liver cleanse any day. Start as you mean to go on and be nice to yourself, advises Valerie O’Connor.

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Who needs a gym when you're gardening?

Gardening gets a lot of positive press about its social and mental health benefits, but a few hours a week can also result in a flat tum and tight buns, writes Fiann Ó Nualláin.

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The Islands of Ireland: In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

The underworld has always held a fascination for mankind. From the fabulous Cave of Swallows in Mexico featured on David Attenborough’s Planet Earth to the Lascaux Caves in France which has elaborate paintings of animals from 17,000 years ago.

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Endless changes of Courtmacsherry Bay gladden the heart

Here, on the side of Courtmacsherry bay, where there’s so much unimpeded space in front of one’s nose, the world is lit with an overwhelming brightness after storms or rain, amazing not simply because of the contrast with the non-view of the last time one looked, but because it can be brighter than summer.

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Have we too many tourists?

Barring an unforeseen calamity in the world, 2018 should be another boom year for tourism in Ireland, following last year’s record 10.6m visitors.

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Tracing the origins of the turkey

During excavations at Paul St in central Exeter in 1983, archaeologists found the leg and wingbones of a large bird.

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Planning your garden of delights for 2018

Peter Dowdall waxes lyrical about the joys of planning the garden for the year ahead.

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The Islands of Ireland: All along the watchtower

The Dublin suburb of Dalkey is immortalised in the surrealist work of one of Ireland’s greatest writers, Flann O’Brien.

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Whooper swans now opting for threesome

Women are to be allowed drive cars in Saudi Arabia and a cinema may open there shortly. A paper in the Turkish Journal of Zoology, suggests that the ultra-conservative whooper swan may also be “loosening up”.

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Kirby and the kittiwakes

WITH all the hype about Star Wars and Skellig Michael, there’s a danger some people might be deluded into thinking it is just a spectacular rock that has only recently been discovered in the Atlantic.

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Any excuses for the snoring father with his feet up?

First, the perennial question arises of who or what is responsible for the condition of the venerable paterfamilias snoring, mouth agape, in his armchair post Christmas dinner, while his wife and children make like mice so as not to disturb his “well-deserved” rest.

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Resolving to grow in the garden for the year ahead

It’s a quiet time for the garden, so Fiann Ó Nualláin takes the time to map out a plan for the year ahead.

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A good time to review the garden

Peter Dowdall sees this as a great time for a redesign as the bare bones of the plot are on show.

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The islands of Ireland: Tragedy strikes at Shenick Island

Dervived from the Irish for fox (sionnach), Shenick Island in Co Dublin forms a beautiful focal point in St Patrick’s Bay, Skerries, writes Dan MacCarthy

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Heron’s courtship may necessitate increase in fish supply

It’s a freezing cold but starkly beautiful day here in the SouthWest, while it’s mucky, snowy, or slushy in the North-West, North and East; how fortunate we are. 

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Irish people are living in denial when it comes to climate change

Daffodils blooming in November. Grass growing at Christmas. Climate change is here for all to see, writes Donal Hickey

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Ever wondered about the brain power difference between dogs and cats?

Dogs, according to their owners, are more intelligent than cats. Some even have jobs; rounding up sheep, guarding buildings and performing circus tricks. Cat enthusiasts, however, consider the slavish grovelling ways of dogs to be slightly degrading.

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Sharks show us the way in travel dilemma

Today’s jet aircraft are 80% more fuel-efficient than those of the 1960’s, but aviation still accounts for 3.5% of human-induced climate change, writes Richard Collins

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Irish beaches scourged by plastic

A stroll on a beach anywhere in Ireland reveals the scale of the marine littering problem, says Donal Hickey

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Billy Murphy’s strolls were a constant in a changing world

Not part of the bay but part of the view of the bay was this elderly man, springy of step and healthy of complexion, forging along with his walking stick at a lively clip and no-nonsense gait, in latter years wearing an overcoat in late autumn and winter and, only in the last few years or so, companioned by a daughter or son.

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The Islands of Ireland: Former East Skeam resident recalls life on the island in West Cork

Overlooking Roaringwaterbay in West Cork is a house on a hill. A couple of Scots pine trees stand by the house as if on guard. The setting is majestic — the island of East Skeam. The views are otherworldly, writes Dan MacCarthy.

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Tips to pick the best Christmas tree

Peter Dowdall gives some practical advice on choosing the right Christmas tree this weekend.  

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The Islands of Ireland: Island of serendipity

SOME islands are synonymous with writers: JM Synge with Inis Meáin; The Great Blasket with Tomás Ó Criomhthain.

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Getting by with a little help from their friends

WITHOUT the help of grand-parents siblings and friends, single mothers can find it difficult to raise a child.

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Beautiful plaques are key to West Cork’s bird life

ON THESE bright winter mornings, when the tide is out, the sand of Courtmacsherry Bay is carved by cobalt rivers, flowing toward the surf line in the distance. 

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Problem of one-off houses

A HEFTY price is being paid for relaxed planning regulations, over many decades, which allowed houses almost everywhere in rural areas, particularly in western counties.

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Turning your garden into a winter wonderland

A touch of frost and a hazy shade of winter can transform your garden, says Peter Dowdall

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