Mooney, Monday February 17th 2014

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Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!

On Mooney today...

On Mooney today...

Are you a cougar, or looking for one? Derek and Brenda chat about why we are looking for you! As we continue the search for a child star, we speak to one young performer, Zena Donnelly, and her mother on what it takes to break into the big time, we hear an unusual version of the Irish National Anthem from Ennis musician Paul Quinn, Brenda finds out about a very special letter to Santa, dated from 1911, and three listeners play Mooney's Monday Quiz!

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

To find out how to care for and attract garden birds, read Jim Wilson's Guide To Garden Birds - CLICK HERE!


Derek chats to Brenda about a recent episode of the C4 show First Date, in which a 'cougar' dated a younger man. Are you a man interested in an older woman? Or gone on an unusual date? If so, we'd like to hear from you - e-mail!

How To Become A Child Star!

Here on Mooney, we are trawling the country for talented children who are confident performers – to find Ireland’s next child star. The competition is open to boys AND girls – as long as you're 10 years old or under. To enter all you have to do is record a piece that's no more than three minutes long, tell us where you're from and how old you are - and entries must come in to us via parents or guardians.

You can record it on your iPhone, smart phone, computer, or in a studio – whichever is available to you.

Then e-mail your entry to, putting "SEARCH FOR A CHILD STAR" in the subject field.

Remember, the competition is open to children 10 years old or under. Tell us where you're from and give us a phone number so that we can get in touch with you! Make sure you have the consent of your parent or guardian.

Well our first guest today is undoubtedly a child star. 11-year-old Zena Donnelly has sung with Whitney Houston, in front of Queen Elizabeth II, been invited to meetings in LA, and her movie The Food Guide To Love premieres in Dublin tonight. But it all started off when she appeared on The Late Late Toy Show when she was just seven.

Zena Donnelly

Zena joins us in studio this afternoon with her mother Darina Ní Chuinneagáin, who is behind the charity Baby Max - Wings Of Love. Her son Max died from meningitis when he was less than a year old. The charity helps to save the lives of other children and avoid parents the painful loss they have suffered, by purchasing vital medical equipment for hospitals, hospices and paediatric units nationwide. For more information, visit

Irish National Anthem

When is the last time you sang the National Anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann? Maybe it was at an Irish international sports event? Maybe it was when you were going to bed after RTÉ had finished its programming? Do you remember the video that accompanied the anthem of the crashing waves, the flowing stream, the sunset - and all the scenes from nature? Maybe the last time you sang the national anthem was at the end of a disco...

Generally it is the orchestral version of the national anthem that we hear, but we came across a beautiful acoustic guitar version done by Ennis musician Paul Quinn, so we decided to invite him to go into our Limerick studio today! 

Paul's version of Amhrán na bhFiann

To visit Paul's channel on YouTube, click here, and to 'like' Paul Quinn on Facebook, visit

Paul will be gigging with his band The Bad Pennies at the Maureen Lavery Pink Angel Ball on June 21st in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co. Clare. (Mairead Lavery is a friend’s sister who died). He is also planning to release an EP this summer.

Santa Letter

Although we're in the throes of February, and St. Valentine's and mid-term breaks etc..., the funny thing is, Christmas wasn’t that long ago. Only a few weeks ago, lots of children were busy writing their letters to Santa. We even had the great man on the show on Christmas Eve, before he and the reindeers and elves took off from the North Pole to deliver presents.

Well today we have a story of a man who found a Santa letter up his chimney - dated back to 1911! His name is John Byrne and reporter Brenda Donohue went to meet him.

The Santa letter dating from 1911

John with the Santa letter

Mooney's Monday Quiz

It's Mooney, it's Monday, so it must be time for our Mooney's Monday Quiz! And we have a gorgeous prize up for grabs today...

It's a two-night weekend break to the 4-star McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris in County Mayo.

Your prize is based on two people sharing one room and includes cocktails on arrival, breakfast on both mornings and dinner on an evening of your choice in the hotel's 'John Gray's restaurant'.

So if that sounds like something you'd like to win, we are looking for three contestants to take part in our Quiz today.

To enter just text your name to 51551 or email

The quiz will take place just after 4 o’clock today.

You must be over 18 to claim the prize but under 18’s can play on your behalf.

Hedgerows: It is an offence to 'cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions'. For more information, click here.

UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:

Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed

BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted.  It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.

Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made.  This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).

The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.

BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal.  In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( to report such activity.

BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.


Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.

If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit


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Music Played on the Show

Swan Lake Waltz

Swan Lake Waltz




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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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