Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Thinking of roses, the ornamental ones you may see on Valentine’s Day are bred for their appearance and do not provide accessible pollen and nectar. Our wild dog rose is one of species recommended to sow in new hedges under ACRES.

However, it is only allowed if it is of Irish provenance - meaning grown from Irish seed in Ireland - and as such is unlikely to be available. Please do not confuse our native species Rosa canina with the Japanese invasive alien species Rosa rugosa, which is sometimes sold as an alternative and should not be planted in the countryside. The dog rose, which flowers in summer, is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Letter to the editor

Thank you for highlighting the plight of rural shopkeepers in the recent article on the new Deposit Return Scheme. In my village, we used to have a supermarket, a GP, a post office, a bank and a Garda station.

Now, all have closed except for the pub and my shop.

When people hear that small shops are, “refusing” to partake in the scheme, they might take it the wrong way and think we do not care about recycling or the environment. Of course we do but as a small business owner, I cannot absorb the maintenance costs. By adding some context to the conversation, it creates greater understanding within communities. Small shops are important to rural Ireland, especially for those who find it hard to get around. We have seen so many businesses close down already, we don’t need any more.

Name with editor

Chefs Tip

It’s only just February and I’m already thinking about Pancake Tuesday – one of my favourite days of the year. Growing up in Canada, my mother would wrap coins in wax paper and hide them in our pancakes (this is an Acadian French custom; similar to the Galette du Rois in France or the King Cake in New Orleans).

She would also wrap one small button and throw it into the batter. Whoever got the button would have good luck all year. I can’t say I’ve ever hidden coins in my children’s pancakes, but maybe this will be the year I keep the tradition going.

My favourite buttermilk pancake recipe is very simple: 325g plain flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, pinch of salt, 60g sugar, two eggs, vanilla, 375ml buttermilk and 60g melted butter. These pancakes are soft, fluffy and perfect with crispy bacon, blueberries and maple syrup.

Picture of the week

On 31 January, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, and Ministers of State Senator Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon TD, officially launched the National Women in Agriculture Action Plan. In attendance were industry and Government representatives including

Irish Country Living’s agri solicitor, Aisling Meehan (far right).

Quote of the week

During the pandemic when we couldn’t leave our home, the volunteers from Friends of the Elderly would ring to check in on us. I love to read and was left a book hamper at my door. A lot of older people really suffered during this time with the

loneliness. It’s little things like that which show they are very personal in the work they do.” Dolores and John Boylan married 55 years.

Number of the week

At the beginning of 2023, British Eventing transferred responsibility for event abandonment insurance to the organisers of each individual event.

Additionally, British Eventing transferred responsibility for paying scorers at events to competition organisers, suggesting an 8% increase in entry fees to absorb the additional cost.

The result has been an alarming increase in events choosing to cancel, due to these changes. Upwards of 35 separate fixtures have been lost from the British Eventing calendar for the 2024 season. British Eventing is also experiencing an overall decline in membership.

Online pick of the week

Fire & Fifth Pineapple Margarita.

Was your Dry January so successful you’ve decided to keep it going into February? Check out this round-up of non-alcoholic alternatives from Grace Hanna like Fire & Fifth Pineapple Margarita.

Read more

Welcome to a week in the country

Welcome to a week in the country