Rural Rhymes

A Fire of Turf

By Michael Fox

To please my heart and warm my feet

Near an open grate to find a seat

To watch a winter fire glow

And wonder where glittering sparks will go

To see a wood and grasslands bear,

to watch Celtic warriors stand and stare

Of days gone by, a distant past,

still the smell of turf will last

Ancestral time of toil and trouble

In a windy bog with lunch and shovel

As famine rage and winters storm,

rely on turf to keep you warm

Through cottage doors the scent pervades

A jug of milk, a bucket and spade

As hungers bite and dawns delight,

for every morn one must fight

Children cry and mothers sigh

Leaving in thousands and saying goodbye

On foreign shores to remember and cherish,

a distant land where so many perish

To dream of crossing the raging surf

and sit again near a fire of turf


Growing wild

with Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc countryside management specialist

Look out for bluebells, forming a blue carpet under hedgerows and in old woodlands.

Our native bluebell has drooping flowers on one side of a gracefully arching stalk suiting bumblebees which land upside down to access the flower.

The introduced Spanish bluebell is paler and sturdier with flowers all around the stalk. The native Irish native bluebell hybridises with the Spanish bluebell, resulting in a new cross-bred species.

Both the Spanish bluebell and the new hybrid bluebell are very fertile and threaten our native bluebell. This highlights why planting flowers in the countryside is not good for our plants growing wild and not good for our native Irish biodiversity.


Quote of the week

Your mistakes are your best teachers, whether your machine is threaded wrong, whether you split your wood when you were drilling it, whether your paint bled; like they are your best lessons, that’s how you actually learn

Catherine Carton


Katherine’s home management tip

A microwave oven can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Spatters and splashes can be a food source for germs. Always cover food that is being re-heated to avoid the splashes.

Small morsels of food that stick to the door will burn and may cause a hole in the protective membrane.

Once this happens, damaging rays can escape. The only solution is a new microwave oven!

Once food has been heated, be on alert for hot centres, as the food is heated from the centre out.


Tweet of the week


Number of the week

18 - The number of years since Waterford’s Ballyduff drama group were last crowned all-Ireland drama champions.

My Country Living

Photo of the week

Work never stops: Donnacha McPartlin (8) from Co Leitrim feeding his pet lambs Crunchie and Darcy on his First Holy Communion Day.