Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Look out for the first whitethorn leaves unfurling. The leaves are lobed like oak leaves and appear before the white flowers, which is a clear distinguishing difference from blackthorn, where flowers appear before leaves. As whitethorn leaves seem to be unfurling early on hedges planted in recent years, the concern is that such shrubs may have been imported?

While recommended to plant whitethorn of Irish provenance, grown in Ireland, farmers in ACRES can now plant imported whitethorn. Other hedging species must still be Irish grown. Supplies of Irish grown blackthorn, holly, hazel, spindle, guelder rose and dog rose are rare, but ACRES hedges can be fully whitethorn – part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Rural Rhymes

Something to Crow About

A crow sits on its perch

Ready to build, it’s the first of March

Tradition tells us it’s their chosen date

To build a nest and seek a mate

At building nests they’re highly skilled

They’ll choose a site where to build

They’ll create a rockery on the highest tree

They’ll work together on building spree

The crow is no way musical, just caw caw

A noisy community like their cousin Jack daw

They are by nature a clannish lot

They live in a rookery, a territorial squat

They weave their nest in a work of art

From twigs and brush it is a curse

They gather cipeens and stalks of hay

A quick look round, then on their way

They’ll hatch a brood and keep them warm

In their nest secure from rain and storm

Hours in search of food they’ll spend

But they are certainly not the gardener’s friend

Poem written by Paddy Egan, Rambles in Kilcommock, Volume 8

Online Pic of the week

Éala Kenneally checking the latest Neven Maguire recipes for her mammy. Submitted by Micheal Kenneally, Co Cork

Meet the Maker

In this week’s Meet the Maker, Grace Hanna chats to embroiderer Alice Cummins of Be Alice about her business.

Be Alice Embroidery.

Consumer tip

Travel experts predict this summer will be the busiest in years as bookings return to pre-pandemic levels. People are booking earlier than ever with package holidays still a popular choice for many.

Holiday bookings don’t always go smoothly though; unexpected hiccups can arise. The good news is that you have consumer rights when travelling.

Am I covered with a travel agent? It’s true to say your consumer rights and protections depend on the type of holiday you choose. If you have booked a ready-made holiday, your travel agent is responsible for making sure your holiday goes smoothly. A package holiday is a one-price-fits-all trip which includes at least two different travel services (transport, accommodation, car hire, guided tours/waterpark ticket activities, etc).

What kind of circumstances am I covered for? You are covered in the event of the travel company making unexpected changes to your booking. These could involve:

Changing the price less than 20 days before you leave

Lowering your standard of accommodation

Moving the dates of your trip

Cancelling the trip altogether

If any of these happen, your holiday agent must provide you with a replacement holiday similar in quality, or a lower grade one and a refund in the price difference.

For more information, see

Read more

Meet the Maker: Alice Cummins

Health: labour of love