Mooney Goes Wild Monday 10 December 2018



Twitter: @NatureRTE

Mooney Goes Wild

Mooney Goes Wild

Derek Mooney and guests explore the natural world in all its forms.

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight

On tonight's programme, we'll be roasting chestnuts on an open fire, dreaming of a white Christmas and bringing you our suggestions of Christmas gifts for the wildlife lover in your life!  Derek Mooney is joined by Dr. Richard Collins, Eric Dempsey, Sinéad Renshaw, Terry Flanagan, Éanna Ni Lamhna and others with their favourite presents for those with a love of nature...

Mooney Goes Wild Christmas Special

In one of our last programmes before Christmas, we normally bring you some festive good cheer along with some timely ideas for gifts inspired by wildlife and the natural world.  Tonight, Derek is joined by zoologist and ornithologist Dr. Richard Collins, and Eric Dempsey of Birdwatch Ireland, to trawl through some of the best gifts for this festive season.

Dr. Richard Collins' recommendations:

Hi Vis Deluxe Map Compass sold in the Great Outdoors.

'Last Child in the Woods' by Richard Louv published by Atlantic Books

'Hidden Life of Trees' by Peter Wohlleben, published by Greystone Books 

Eric Dempsey's Wishlist:

The Great Big Book of Irish Wildlife by Juanita Browne with illustrations from Barry Reynolds, published by O'Brien Press

Educational Wildlife Book for Teachers

There's nothing like a good book and we'll feature quite a few on the programme - but what about an educational book, and an educational book for teachers at that?

Well Paul O'Donnell is a primary school principal in St. Patrick's National School in Slane, County Meath and he's written a unique textbook aimed primarily at teachers to help them pass on the skills that our parents and grandparents had and which are in danger of being lost.

Entitled Wild Teaching, it includes lesson plans for every month of the school calendar and is stuffed with hints, ideas and superb colour photographs.  Our own Terry Flanagan payed a visit to St. Patrick's, where he caught up with Paul and the sixth class students there...

'Wild Teaching' by Paul O'Donnell is supported by Meath County Council and published by the Heritage Council Programme.


Suzanne Campbell & Her Girls Go Foresting

Journalist Suzanne Campbell and her daughters Anna and Robin believe that where gifts are concerned you can’t beat taking a walk on the wild side into nature.

Christmas Gifts for Children

They say it’s better to give than to receive but if we’re honest it is lovely to receive a gift on Christmas morning. Particularly from someone who has put a bit of thought into it! 

And of course Christmas is primarily for the kids and for the magic and wonder it brings into their lives once a year. So we dispatched our own Sinéad Renshaw to take a look at what’s on offer in terms of gifts for children from the wild and natural world.

Sinéad Renshaw's Wishlist:

Explore The Forest Jigsaw Game

Eyewitness Butterfly Casting Kit

Birdsong, 150 British and Irish birds and their amazing sounds

OWLS (Outdoor, Wildlife, Learning and Survival) is a fun outdoor children's charity dedicated to working with children and their families discover more about nature.  The charity delivers a range of public park events in order to raise awareness and understanding of the natural environment.

Woodland Foraging  - Christmas Decorations using natural materials
Saturday 15th December

10am–12pm  Bushy Park. Meeting outside the tennis court huts.

1pm - 3pm. St.Annes Park. Meeting in the courtyard of the Red stable.

 Join 'mouse' leader of the OWLS team for this winter foraging event as he strolls through the park on his quest to find interesting natural materials in order to make christmas decorations.  A fun family craft-making event, where children whilst on their search get to hear stories of the parks wintering animals, then with material collected get to make their own christmas baubles and stars with a touch of gold and silver spray to take home.  Fee. €3  Leader: (Mouse),  OWLS. Booking required: Tel/text  087 3299936 or email

Family outdoor craft- Make a Christmas Wreath and Deer/Unicorn Sculpture..

Saturday 15th December 

10am–12pm. St.Catherines Park, Lucan Meeting in the main car park

1pm - 3pm. Turvey Park, near the village of Donabate

Come along to this creative workshop and try your hand at making you own Christmas wreath using natural materials found around the park. Finish it off with ribbon and spray with gold and silver spray, then a dash of sparkle to bring it to life, ready to take home. With the left over pieces material make a magical unicorn or deer sculpture for the mantle piece.   €5  Leader: (Mouse), OWLS. Booking required. Tel/text 087 32999 36 or email

OWLS Winter Wonderland 

Friday 21st December

10am–11.30am  Tymon Park, Tallaght, Meeting in the main car park next to the fairy wood.

12.30 - 2.30pm. Santry Demesne, Santry Meeting in the main car park. 

Come along for this fun festive adventure and take part in games and activities that will teach you about woodland animals that prepare and survive the winter, store their food, wibble wobble on a plate, build a nest or escape to warmer climates.   Finish off the adventure with a feast of choclate log cakes and mince pies, washed down with some juice.   A family fun walk around the park with a focus on nature awareness..   Fee. €3  Leader: (Mouse),  OWLS. Booking required: Tel/text  087 3299936 or email

For more information visit or follow OWLS on facebook. OWLS Children's Nature Club.

Choosing That Book

Dubray Book store has launched a new service, a personal shopping voucher offers an hour chatting about and choosing books with one of their knowledgeable staff.

If you're looking for the perfect gift for booklovers, could this be the one for you? well we sent our own Éanna Ní Lamhna to check it out.

Books mentioned:

The Bee Book by Emma Sarah Tennant

Field of Dreams by Bob Salisbury

The other books mentioned were 2019 Nature Month-By-Month and Animal Heroes


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.  To read the Heritage Bill 2016, as passed by Dáil Éireann on July 5th 2018, click here.  To read the Heritage Act 2018, click here.

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

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.


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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