Mooney, Friday June 20th 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 Goes Wild, with Shay Byrne...

On Mooney Goes Wild, with Shay Byrne...

Katriona McFadden visits County Galway, and discovers an extensive network of rivers flowing underground. We ask why anybody would try to poison Ireland's peregrine falcons, and check on the status of the rest of our amazing raptors. And we look forward to a major new RTÉ television series exploring the wonderful and diverse creatures that live in the seas around Ireland...

NestWatch 2014: Herring Gulls

Two weeks ago, our Herring Gull's nest on the roof of Stage 7 here in RTÉ, received the gift of life – two little chicks hatched out.

Eanna ni Lamhna and Terry Flanagan take us through this week's development, and explain the magpie activity around the nest...

To watch the Herring Gulls, click here.

Peregrine Falcons Poisoned

Peregrine Falcons Poisoned

Earlier this week, RTÉ’s Six One News reported a story which shocked many people. The attempted poisoning of peregrine falcons took place at Dalkey Quarry last week – the latest in a line of cruel incidents against these birds of prey.

John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland is familiar with the location and joins us from our Galway studio to explain more...

Hedgehog Street

One of the e-mails that came into us at in the past few weeks was from a woman who claims to be living in the one and only estate in Ireland with a dedicated hedgehog street!

Lynne Gallagher is education officer with the Laois/ Offaly branch of the Irish Wildlife Trust. She has just launched a new project called Hedgehog Street.

The idea is to help hedgehogs find safe routes and places to feed and nest, by creating hedgehog sized corridors between all the gardens in a neighbourhood or street.

Mooney researcher Michèle Browne headed off down to Lynne's house in Chesterfield Close in Birr, County Offaly, where she met with Lynne and three of her children, Zach aged 12, Josh aged 11 and CJ aged 8.

Lynne with her sons

Lynne at Hedgehog Street!

Hedgehog Street

You can find out more about how you can go about becoming a hedgehog champion and create a hedgehog street in your area by visiting

Ireland's Ocean

Isn’t there something so soothing about listening to the sea?

A new four-part television series, called Ireland’s Ocean, begins this Sunday on RTÉ One this coming Sunday, and as you can see from the above trailer, the footage is truly spectacular.

Each episode has a particular focus: dolphins, sharks, the ecosystem in shallow waters, and fish and crustaceans.

Ken O'Sullivan is producer of the series, and he joins us today from RTÉ's Galway studios to tell us what we can expect from the show... For more information on Ireland's Ocean, visit The series begins this Sunday on RTÉ One at 6.30pm.

Newts & Lizards On The Bull Island

Everyone knows of the Bull Island in Dublin, but did you know that it was designated a National Nature Reserve in 1988 and that is listed by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve? Very impressive! But why is it so important.


Well every winter, the island is home to thousands of waders, but this is not the only wildlife present. What else might be present? Have you ever seen newts or lizards there during the summer?

Smooth Newt

Herpetologist Robert Gandola, from the Herpetological Society of Ireland (, has begun a survey of the island to discover if amphibians and reptiles may be present and what their population status might be. We sent Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan out early last Sunday morning to find out more...

Galway's Underground Rivers

Galway's Underground Rivers

The Shannon, the Liffey, the Lee - just some of our famous Irish rivers. You can fish on them, boat on them or simply walk alongside them as they contain many scenic stretches.

But what about Ireland's UNDERGROUND rivers? The rivers that very few of us ever see? Did you know we had underground rivers? 

In parts of Counties Clare and Galway, a 'karst' landscape has been formed by limestone being shaped by water - the Burren is probably the most visible example - and under the ground in this region, and indeed under Galway Bay AND the Aran Islands, there is a huge network of underground rivers flowing through naturally-formed limestone 'pipes'. 

In fact some Aran Island wells have been found to be full of water coming from the mainland in these limestone pipes!

Well we thought it sounded fascinating, so we sent Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden off to Galway to meet geologist Dr Tiernan Henry from NUI Galway, who has just completed a five-year study into this network of underground rivers...

Lydia The Shark

Lydia The Shark

Lots of you have been in touch with the programme to find out the latest news on Lydia the Great White Shark, who had been heading towards Ireland. You can track Lydia's progress by visiting

Singles Night Out!

Singles Night Out!

We are organising a singles night out for our listeners who are over 35! The where and when is still being finalised, but if you are interested in joining in the fun, then send us an e-mail! Let us know your age, gender, and if you are single. You must be available to travel to the venue at your own expense. Please send your e-mail to, with the subject line 'Singles Night Out'. And keep listening for further information!

Search For A Child Star Finalists

Search For A Child Star Finalists

Earlier this year, we launched our competition to find Ireland's newest child star. The competition was open to boys and girls who were aged 10 years old or under. We asked you to record a piece that was no more than three minutes long, and e-mail it in to us.

The finalists, in no particular order, are:

- Hannah Kinsella (9 years old, from Lucan, Co. Dublin) with Pushover
- Nikki Brown (8 years old, from Saggart, Co. Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind
- Anna Lily Fox (6 years old, from Ballinalee, Co. Longford) with a Johnny Cash medley
- Laoise Farrell (9 years old, from Ogonnolloe. Co. Clare) with The Call
- Alannah Bermingham (10 years old, from Kilmacud, Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind

The date for the final will be announced shortly and the winner will perform at our Christmas Mooney Tunes concert.

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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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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