Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena

Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist


Look out for hanging clusters of dark blue-black elderberries, so loved by birds that trees are stripped bare quickly when ripe. They are used to make elderberry syrup and wine. Elder supports many invertebrates, including many that feed on the jew’s ear fungus which grows on elder almost exclusively.

The leaves are similar to ash leaves but with fewer pairs of leaflets and as they change colour in autumn, elder stands out more. It is not good if topped in hedges as it results in gaps. Known as bour tree in northern parts of the country, elder is part of our native Irish biodiversity.


The Fairy Rath

She told a Mosiaic story, of


the widow Wynne, to the


that gathered round her


of a bush that beats a man

caught out on his own, alone,

instead of one that burned;

two tablets, it was said,

were set in slabs of stone,

as she spread blackberry jam

thick along the soda bread

and filled the pewter teapot,

left them by Matilda

Murphy’s decent husband, Ned.

How her Paddy went and of his

own accord,

though he knew the beans

curse could light upon him,

to chop it down without a


the schioch tree on the

Fairy Rath –

I knew he’d cleared the furze –

he’d need the land for barley in

the spring,

with two more cows and calves

to feed.

But did he mention that fairy

bush to me!

The widow passed around

the plate of bread and jam,

and poured the mugs of tea.

He never should have touched


she went on, tears welling in

her eyes,

and did he bring them with


his cannister of pills?

The oul people all had warned

him the man that puts an axe

again it,

the Maybush on the hill,

is sure to have bad luck.

And that’s the way I found him,

His poor heart not too good,

His dinner frozen cold,

he beaten blue and black,

Not a Christian near him,

The low branch soaked in


Written by Dr Arthur

Broomfield; author of eight

books of poetry including his

latest, Ireland Calling.

Number of the week: 100,000

The number of visitors welcomed to “the real capital” for last year’s Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Will the number increase for 2023?

Picture of the week

SPOT THE STAG: Fionnán Drohan from Colligan, Dungarvan, Co Waterford gets top marks for this snap of a recent up-close-and-personal encounter with some local wildlife. Submitted by his mother, Eibhlín Drohan.

Quote of the week

'The danger in farming is that cocaine is often used to keep people awake, and alert, while they are actually working at silage, slurry or baling.The two most important things for a body to function properly is sleep and fuel [food]. They are trying to counteract that; to manipulate themselves with cocaine’

Cocaine series part two see Health special

Online Pick of the Week

Bord Bia Bloom is offering opportunities for aspiring garden show designers to showcase their skills. Pictured from left; Show garden designers, Joe Eustace, Nicola Haines and Alan Rudden.

Consumer Tip

A new survey has revealed that almost half of Irish consumers are hit by gift card fees. With the festive season near, a recent iReach consumer sentiment survey of over 1,000 adults nationwide (commissioned by gift card brand found that almost half (46%) of adults experienced a loss of funds on a gift card that has decreased in value through administration or non-usage fees.

According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), you have rights when it comes to using a gift voucher, depending on the type of voucher.

For a specific shop or shopping centre, you can ask for any remaining unspent amount to be retuned to you in cash (or electronically or through a new voucher). For other types of vouchers, those rules do not apply. After a period of time, some gift cards will apply maintenance fees of up to €3 per month.

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Welcome to a week in the country

Welcome to a week in the country