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Some Irish Birds…

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The weather outside is absolutely freezing… it has been for some time now and today the snow fell in Ballyboughal heavy enough to concern me. With that in mind I had reckoned I should do a post on some things frost[y] related.

In what I can only describe as a sincerely very welcome press release [and I get a lot…] …it’s especially for you guys and it’s all about birds. Got an apartment, balcony, a billion acres of garden or not then read on.

As you can gather the weather is causing havoc for a lot of of our wild birds such as the sparrow, the thrush and the Goldfinch and BirdWatch Ireland [I had mentioned the Bird Watch boys previously] are on a mission to encourage people to put out food for the birds that visit their gardens. According to Oran O Sullivan [this is the press realease bit…. 😉 ]

Cooked household scraps as well as peanuts and mixed seed all provide a vital source of energy for garden birds, particularly important as daylight hours are short and frozen ground affects garden birds ability to hunt for prey items. Remember to keep feeding regularly through the winter months, putting out food in early morning. It is also important to provide fresh water as many normal water sources are frozen over.

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I myself  like to buy a big bag of feed [both types] nuts and seed. The seed is so the little ‘uns get something [the bigger birds cant get their beaks through the gauze].

When I was growing up we always left out some stale bread and water milk for them… but then I have two dogs and four hens…. not really enough waste to around I guess 😉

Anyhow… it’s good fun and depending on what you put outside for them… it’s also free.

I had done this post previously on birds in my garden.

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kilkenny Castle Rose Garden & Park

On Monday the 26th October 2009 I went to visit Kilkenny Castle Rose Park & Gardens. I went under the recommendation of my good friend Pat Fitzgerald.

As I walked up towards the castle I was bemused at the amount of brand spanking smooth polished granite that adorned such a vast are[n]a, complete with mirror polished steel against this ancient backdrop of the beautiful castle…. who on Gods earth decided on this…? such a shame. And to those who did this… you should be ashamed.

That out of my system. It was the gardens I went to see.Admission is free. The grounds are very well maintained.The sight of new tree planting schemes is to be applauded and admired. I really do love this park… The hills of grass so high in parts that one couldn’t see over the far side. The wooded areas were left with stacks of wood [brilliant for wildlife]underneath the canopy of wooded leaf areas. The leaves adorned some of the footpaths but not all. There are so many options when walking here… the poem ‘the road less travelled’ really does come to mind. The walkway by the waters edge is superb, so romantic, such a break from the norm…

It really is so very well done.  The grounds staff deserve a standing ovation. I could have stayed here all day….

The bad bit…. the rose garden was closed off. I attempted to sneak in under the advice of two local ladies…. but I got caught and was chucked out 😉 So this now becomes a review of Kilkenny Castle Park…

Go there and visit. Take your time. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Watch out for the such beautiful secluded seating areas. Take your time and enjoy. This is up there with the best of them.

More images of kilkenny castle gardens can be viewed here

outdoor events and greeny gigs

Thanks to my good friend Joerg for some of these…. I’ve got a long list of free events all outdoors and green related that are on over the next coming days….. so go on get outside and enjoy yourselves 🙂

first up…

The Ballymun farmers market takes place on the first thursday of every month. I’ve never been to this one before, so if I can make it [fingers crossed I will] I’m really looking forward to it. If the weather is bad it takes place inside if the Civic Centre – thats the one directly opposite the Tesco shopping centre [scroll below the images……….. ]

phoenix-park-dublin walled-kitchen garden phoenix-park-victorian walled-kitchen garden phoenix-park-walled-garden- kitchen-garden-phoenix-park coultry-park-ballymun coultry-pk-ballymun

The Phoenix Park Summer/Autumn Programme is almost at it’s end. That said, they still have some really cool gigs still on the go. Get the calender out and mark these down…. here are my choices. If you’ve gotta bit of time to burn – a must is the €2 [adult] and €1 [child] bus journey aroud the entire park…..

For Children: 10.30am – 12.30pm a workshop for children [5+] parental supervision required

  • Sunday Aug 30th – medieval life including a visit to Ashtown Castle.
  • Sunday Sept 6th – birds in the park
  • Sunday September 13th – animals of the park

For all ages – from the visitor centre starting 3pm

September Sunday6th is a guided tour of the kitchen walled garden with Margaret Gormley and Declan Birmingham. I highly recommend this if you fancy a bit of grow your own.

Also note the gardeners of the Phoenix Park are in The Walled Garden on the first Saturday of every Month – The next is September 5th btw – from 10.30am to 5pm.  They are all really nice guys…. really 😉 You can go and ask any of the questions and also see how and why in person. I recommend going when the weather is really bad so you get a good one to one information session.

courtesy of the dublin event guide [email dublineventguide [at] gmail [dot] com to subscribe ]

on saturday 29 th august GUIDED HIKE – DUBLIN MOUNTAINS
A Guided Hike along the Dublin Mountains Way is taking place on Sat 29 Aug. A special Dublin Mountaineer bus service is departing at the Sandyford Luas stop at 11:30 and you will return in the 16:08 bus from Grange Road (Marlay Park) to the Sandyford Luas bus stop. The hiking is taking a route through Cruagh Wood and Tibradden Forest and Mountain, joining with the Wicklow Way back through Kilmashogue to Marlay Park. (Length: approx 12km (linear walk) and Duration: 4hr (strenuous walk)) You need to bring good hiking boots, rain gear, hat, water, lunch. Booking is essential. The guided tour is free and there is only a bus fare of EUR 5 to pay for the return trip. Contact karen.woods@coillte.ie or info@dublinmountains.ie
(Phone: 01-2011187) to book! http://www.dublincity.ie/RecreationandCulture/Events/SummerInDublin09

also on sunday IRISH GRAND PRIX – RADIO CONTROLLED CARS

The Radio Controlled Car Association of Ireland will run the Irish Grand Prix – a festival of r/c-racing at St Anne’s Park, Raheny, on Sunday 30 Aug. Racing will take place from 10:30-18:00. The event will feature participants from all over Ireland. All are welcome. For further details, phone 087-2512422 or visit www.orcaireland.ie

and…. also on sunday

the festival of world cultures are on in Dun Laoghaire is on with loads of free events and things on…. too many to mention http://festivalofworldcultures.com/ If you are going my good friends The Riptide Movement are playing the buskers corner [their playing on saturday!!!…] make sure and check them out…. free gig btw 😉 have a listen to theri newest song while your reading away…..

MUSIC IN THE GARDENS – FARMLEIGH HOUSE Sun 30 Aug from 14:00-16:00 the Ardee Concert Band will play in the garden of Farmleigh House. http://www.farmleigh.ie/culturalevents/currentevents/summerprogramme2009/august/#d.en.10372

TREE WALKING TOUR – FARMLEIGH HOUSE
On Sun 30 Aug two Tree Walking tours with guest speaker John Mc Loughlin from the Tree Council of Ireland will take place at 15:00 and at 16:00.
http://www.farmleigh.ie/culturalevents/currentevents/summerprogramme2009/august/#d.en.10372

ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN ENTERTAINMENT
On Sun the entertainment in St. Stephen’s Green will be Mary McEvoy from 15:00-17:00 to celebrate Heritage Week. This event will conclude the Summer Entertainment in St. Stephen’s Green! http://www.phoenixpark.ie/media/St%20Stephen%27s%20Green%20Bandstand%20Summerfest%20August%202009.pdf

I really like this one…… on tuesday 1st September

GREEN DRINKS – SCIENCE GALLERY

Green Drinks is a simple idea that’s gone global. Once a month in 448 cities around the world, people with an interest in green issues get together to chat, share ideas and raise a glass to a brighter future. In Dublin this will take in September in the Science Gallery Café (Naughton Building, Trinity College) on the first Tuesday of the month and (with the exception of October when the event is on the 2nd Tuesday) every month after that. You are invited to a fun eco friendly evening with free admission, drinks and snacks. This event is organized by www.leafliving.com. At the event on 01 Sept (from 18:00) the discussion will be about recycling: Ever wondered what happens to our waste after we throw it away? How much is being recycled compared to the amount incinerated or shipped to the developing world? What’s the scale of the problem and what can we do about it? Robert O’Shea, Secretary of the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) will shed some light on the issue. http://www.greendrinks.org. The organisers ask you to confirm your attendance via their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Drinks-Dublin/73308564711

On thursday OPERA IN THE OPEN – CIVIC OFFICES, WOOD QUAY
“Opera in the Open”, the free lunchtime operas return to Dublin city. Now in its tenth year, ‘Opera in the Open’ returns with five free performances of well-known operas each Thursday at 13:00 from 06 Aug – 03 Sept. Do something different at lunchtime this summer and listen to opera in the informal and intimate setting of the grounds of Civic Offices on Wood Quay in the city centre. ‘Opera in the Open’ is an initiative of Dublin City Council Arts Office as part of its remit to make the best of art and culture accessible to all in the city.
03 September: ‘Idomeneo’ by Mozart
The performances feature Janyce Condon, Stephen Fennelly, Mary Flaherty, Victoria Massey, Simon Morgan, Niall Morris, Sandra Oman, Donna Gallagher and Liz Ryan. Musical direction is by David Wray, stage direction by Niall Morris and narration is by Ted Courtney. http://www.visitdublin.com/events/AllDublinEvents/Detail.aspx?id=237&mid=6152

on the way

WHAT IS LIGHT? – PUBLIC LECTURE
Albert White from www.LightPollution2009.eu alerted me to a lecture that is taking place in September but for which you need to book one of only approx. 120 tickets, so you better decide soon and book early. The lecture is part of the 9th European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky and is entitled “What is Light?” Lecturer is Leo Enright. Leo Enright, a broadcaster on Space Exploration and Science, explores the history of Ireland’s sometimes tenuous connection with luminosity
– while naming and shaming some modern big wicks. He will focus on the importance of continuing public access to dark skies, especially during the present ‘Golden Age’ of astronomy, whilst noting that historically Ireland has sometimes been defined by the absence of light – why else would the Romans have called it Hibernia?
The event will take place on Wed 16 September 2009 at 19:00 in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Admission is free but places are limited. For booking please visit http://shop.ria.ie/shop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=22&cat=Event%2BRegistration

Whatever you do – enjoy your week outdoors 😉

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Velvet Strand, Portmarnock Beach, Dublin

When it’s right on our doorstep… they say you rarely use it. Personally, I always loved the beach.

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I hated it as a child. I had to get in. People would be in duffle coats and I’d be in my pants freezing, eating salad covered in sand 😉 Oh happy days! Great memories 😆 But when I was a teen my family moved there and the strand took a whole new meaning.

It was more than a getaway for me in the teen sense of it. Because I love[d] nature so much… this had everything. It was I suppose the ultimate in escapism. I had no mobile phone then….. Last week, a meeting was delayed…. an hour to spare. I took my flask of coffee and went for a wander. I loved every second of it.

A few points of note if you are going. Make sure and park in the municiple car park [next to the country club hotel]. Cars parked on the main road have a habit of getting parking tickets. Also I read in the Portmarnock local newsletter that they had done some work on the dunes and grasslands around to attract bees so be mindful of that. Aparently the efforts have been quite successful and numbers appear to have increased. Make sure and see the Southern Cross Monument called Eccentric Orbit. The two islands are Lambay and Irelands eye and a walk up by The old Martello Tower [which goes all the way to Malahide] is also quite nice.

Also do take your time…. and enjoy 😉

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recycle a [red] satellite… ?

I wanted a bird bath for my ‘wild’ fruit garden area

remember my very dead [& red] tree….?

remember my long grass under the fruit trees….?

I found a satellite and had some paint left over….

I also needed a bird bath… 😉

And I fancied a little ACDC….

It makes me smile in the morning 🙂

Here’s how it was all done…. enjoy!

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