Consumer tip

Have any old sterling pound notes lying around the house? Now is the time to exchange them. After 30 September, the Bank of England will no longer accept £20 and £50 paper notes as they have switched over to a polymer version. The Central Bank of Ireland says it will continue to exchange old Irish pounds or damaged euro notes and has no plans to withdraw this service, but cannot exchange foreign currency including British pound notes.

“The Central Bank of Ireland does not exchange any foreign currency, but the Bank of England website includes full details on how to exchange their old sterling notes before the withdrawal date. We would urge people to check any sterling notes they may have and make sure they exchange them before 30 September,” the bank says in a statement.

To avail of this service in time, visit and go to its “Exchanging Old Banknotes” page for instructions and contact details.

Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist

Guelder Rose

Look out for the translucent crimson red fruit of guelder rose amid striking purple, red or yellow-coloured, maple-like leaves. While not poisonous, the fruit have a very nauseous taste, but are eaten by birds. This shrub is found in hedges and woodland edges on damp soil. While germination is erratic, propagation is worth a go. Collect fruit and store in a plastic bag until over-ripe or rotten. Wash to separate flesh from seeds and sow immediately after cleaning. Growing shrubs of local provenance is the best way to maintain our native Irish biodiversity.

Picture of the week

September sunshine: James and Conor Twomey with Fred the dog in Co Cork.

Quote of the week

Don’t get caught up in the belief that every object and experience’s value is determined by its price.

Catherine Callaghan, Mindfulness.

Tweet of the week

Rural rhymes

The Open Hearth

By Trevor Johnston

I miss my blazing hearth fire

Fuelled by turf, harvested from

The bogs of Drumhome.

By my father’s strong and sinewy arms.

The flame has long flickered out

Where in its dying embers

We toasted slabs of bread

In our stocking feet.

Or roasted apples plucked from

The fields of Dromore

And its gentle hills.

A flickering fire that

Slowly roasted soft buttery mushrooms

Picked from the dew-dropped Lurgan fields

At the coming of the day.

I heard the cuckoo’s first song

And the corncrake’s rattle,

As I stared into its flames

Sounds I will hear no more.

A hearth that signalled

The seasons of the year

As a pot lid with a winter stew

Let dancing flames lap

On large Kerr’s Pinks

Mined from the Derries

Or further afield.

The fire is out

Both in my heart

And the hearth.

But I can still dream

Of those distant flames

As I gaze vacantly

At the bricked up wall.

Number of the week - 25

he number of vacant GMS (GP medical card contract holders) positions currently. Rural Healthcare investigation.