Mooney, Wednesday July 30th 2014
When the weather is nice and mild, there's nothing nicer than heading down to your local waterway for a dip or a stroll. But amongst all the beautiful plantlife you can find there, lurks a very pretty looking flower – that can burn!
Mooney listener David Gillic reminded us of its dangers in an e-mail to us recently. He was out running in Kildare when he briefly brushed against an unknown plant and a few hours later erupted into painful blisters.
He realised he had been in contact with 'Giant Hogweed', a non-native species that excretes a phototoxic sap. He wrote "I was personally shocked to learn of the existence of this type of plant. I believe I'm now more than qualified to say it poses a serious public health risk. Contact with the eyes can lead to blindness! I have attached a few photos of the offending plant and of the results of my run-in with what I feel is a plant sent straight from the gardens of Hell!"
How the hogweed affected listener Dave Gillic
How the hogweed affected listener Dave Gillic
Dave Gillic asked us to spread the word, so we sent our Eanna ni Lamhna off to meet Dr. Joe Caffrey, Senior Research Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland, to see the plant in the flesh...
Dr. Joe Caffrey with Eanna ni Lamhna and one of the offending hogweed plants
Dr. Joe Caffrey examines some hogweed
To read Inland Fisheries Ireland's Giant Hogweed ID sheet, click here, and for their best practice control guidelines, click here.
For more information about Giant Hogweed, click here, and to download an identification guide in pdf format, click here.
Mysterious National Geographic Photo Of Achill Island
We often tell you to go to this website to see photos, get extra information on items we have covered or to listen back. And we're happy to say that we are one of the top webpages in all of RTÉ. But today we'd like you to 'play along' with our next item!
It involves a mysterious photograph and where it might have been taken...
A couple of weeks ago, Mooney listener Paddy Gallagher from Achill Island contacted us about his mother's engagement ring. You might remember it was lost in a haystack and turned up eighteen years later in a neighbouring field and it was a very charming story beautifully told by his parents Kathleen and Geoffrey.
And whilst Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden was in Achill, Paddy happened to mention another story to her, about a mysterious photo. Paddy was on eBay one night googling Achill and he came across a photo page for sale from a 1915 National Geographic magazine.
It's a black and white photograph taken by an A.W. Cutler on Achill Island and printed in National Geographic magazine. You’ll see an old thatched cottage, a little girl on a horse, an older woman (maybe her grandmother) and other small children, a big turf pile and in the background the sea and the Minaun cliffs.
Paddy thought it was fascinating and thought it might be nice to try to figure out where the photo was taken and who the people were in the photo. He thought he might easily trace their descendants and show them this photo.
Paddy Gallagher and Sean Molloy at Option No. 1
Option 1: Deserted Village on Achill Island
But it proved to be a little tricky. He enlisted the help of his friend Sean Molloy and they decided that the photo was taken at Achill's famous Deserted Village – which is now a big tourist attraction - which was deserted after the Famine after rents went up but it remained as a 'Boley Village' where cattle were brought to graze in summer.
But then a spanner was thrown in the works by local Archaeologist Dr Theresa McDonald. She said she spotted a few discrepancies in the photo and SHE believed the photo was taken less than a mile up the road at another location.
Paddy Gallagher and Archaeologist Dr Theresa McDonald at Option No. 2!
So Paddy called Mooney to try to figure it out and get to the bottom of it! You can make up your own mind by looking at the pictures above and listen to Katriona's interviews, to try and decide just where was the photograph taken...
To visit the 'What's On In Achill' Facebook page, as mentioned in the report, click here.
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 (www.npws.ie) 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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie