Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Yew Berries

Look out for yew berries – pinkish red beadlike fruits. Many have now fallen to the ground, but still conspicuous lying on the mossy ground layer beneath trees in a yew woodland where few flowering plants get enough light to thrive. Yew trees are most common in graveyards.

Being highly poisonous, the presence of a yew ensured animals were not allowed stray in.

The flattened spray of soft dark green leaves is often used instead of palm on Palm Sunday. Yew berries are eaten by birds, including thrushes. Yew wood was used to make bows and arrows and was protected under Brehon Laws. This evergreen is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Letter to the editor

Dear Margaret Hawkins,

Thank you for writing the piece about acoustic neuroma in Irish Country Living health pages (November 9 2023).

I am delighted with it. It covers all the really important personal details of my diagnosis and recovery which others can relate to and provides information for people with brain tumours and their diagnosis. The photos look great, really colourful and eye catching.

Thanks so much,

Kathy Higgins

Photo of the week

The cows were enjoying their first week of winterage at Aghawinnaun in the Burren, Co Clare. \ Adrian Burke

Consumer news

Recent research from An Post indicates that 60% of adults travelling to the UK and the United States want to have both cash and card options.

Having conducted an analysis that shows buying foreign currency ahead of time can save people more than €15 on unnecessary ATM charges, An Post Money has some cost-saving tips for those planning to travel:

• Foreign currencies: If you have budgeted to spend €100 per day, only take that amount out, leaving the remainder in your hotel security box. You can exchange foreign currency cash at one of over 900 post offices nationwide to avoid unnecessary charges.

• An Post Money Currency Card can be loaded with cash and spent across 15 different currencies, including sterling as well as US, Canadian or Australian dollars. Set a target exchange rate using the FX Rate Alerts feature, which allows you to buy at your preferred rate.

• Pay in local currency to avoid paying DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) at ATMs. Limit ATM visits as they offer poor exchange rates. Always opt for bank-owned ATMs with the Mastercard symbol.

Quote of the week

Panto and the tradition around it hasn’t changed one bit. It is still about the comedy and music. It is still the, “He’s behind you,” and “Oh no, he didn’t!” It’s the giant coming on stage and the kids screaming to watch your back. Its about the double entrendre jokes, those clever adult lines that have the Mammies and Daddy’s laughing.’

Alan Hughes aka Sammy Sausages

Number of the week - €9.3bn

a record high turnover for Irish foodservice in 2023.

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Find out what caught the eye of Irish Country

Find out what caught the eye of Irish Country Living