Mooney Goes Wild

    Sunday, 10pm-11pm, RTÉ Radio 1

    Friday, March 8th 2013


    On Mooney Goes Wild, with Olan McGowan, today:

    It only happens a couple of times every year, but an entirely new species of bird has been found in Chile. And an Irish team were central to the discovery! We congratulate University College Cork, now ranked third in the global green-campus rankings. And, it's happy birthday to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher - 300 million years old, geologically, and looking better than ever.


    Things You Never Knew There Was An Actual Name For!

    Olan McGowan is presenting Mooney Goes Wild today, and he starts the show by chatting to Richard Collins and Eanna ni Lamhna about things that you never knew had a name!

    Philtrum = The groove in your upper lip.
    Glabella = The space between your eyebrows. The glabella can be used to measure skin turgor in patients suspected of being dehydrated.
    Nare = Nostra hole
    Columella Nasi = The space between the nostrils.
    Mysophania = Annoyance with somebody eating or breathing too loudly.
    Phosphenes = lights you see when you shut your eyes tightly.
    Rasceta = the lines on the inside of your wrist.
    Lunule = a crescent moon shape at the base of the fingernail.

    Grawlix = typographic symbols used to represent a profane word.
    Morton's toe. = When the second toe is longer than your big toe.
    Feat. = A lone, dangling lock of curly hair.
    Tittle jib = the doubts over the i's and j's.
    Punt = the groove at the bottom of wine bottle.
    Bodacious = Excellent, admirable, or attractive. Audacious in a way considered admirable.


    Sinkholes, and The Burren - 300 Million Years In The Making

    Explaining Sinkholes

    It was horrible, it was almost unbelievable… And it was certainly the stuff of nightmares.

    On Thursday of last week, a 37-year-old man called Jeff Bush was tucked up in bed, in his home in Seffner, Florida. Suddenly, and without warning, the earth just gave way underneath the bedroom floor. The ground opened up and effectively swallowed Jeff Bush and a large part of his house.

    What was left was a gaping hole more than 9 meters across and 15 meters deep. And despite intensive rescue efforts, his body was not recovered . Because of the instability of the site, the decision was taken to demolish the rest of the house, and the site has now become the grave of its owner, Jeff Bush.

    As a tragedy, it was both unimaginable and unforeseeable. And it wasn't the stuff of science fiction, but of pure geology. The tragedy gained worldwide media coverage. But the question on our minds all week has been... Could it happen here, in Ireland?

    Now, we don't mean to be alarmist, but the answer is.... "Yes, it could!"

    To explain exactly how, and under what circumstances, these "sinkholes" can occur, we are joined in our Limerick studio by geologist, Dr Eamon Doyle, who is a geologist at the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark.


    300 Million Years Of The Burren

    Planxty wouldn't be the only people to have been awed and inspired by the stunning landscape of the West Coast of Clare: the Aillwee Caves, the Burren, and of course, The Cliffs of Moher.

    Well, if you are one of the thousands and thousands of people who are fascinated by this corner of Ireland, Eamon Doyle is running an introductory course about its unique geology.

    - It started last night and will run for 4 more weeks but people can still sign up - It is called “Stone, Water and Ice: Understanding the Burren Landscape”. It runs from 7.30 to 9.30pm on Thursdays. - it will feature lectures and outdoor excursions focusing on how the world-famous karst landscape and underground features of the Burren were formed. - Key topics will include the Geology of Ireland; Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes and Volcanic History of the Burren; Evidence of Folding, Burial and Uplift, Rock Types of the Burren; Underground Features; and an outdoor excursion to some of the best known Burren landmarks, including Murroughtoohy, Slieve Elva, Caher Valley, Pollnagollum and Fanore Beach.

    Stone, Water and Ice: Understanding the Burren Landscape will be held at the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Bell Harbour, Co. Clare. For further information visit, or contact Dr. Eamon Doyle on 087 900-8031.


    New Species Of Seabird – Pincoya Storm Petrel

    When you think of discovering new species you might think of the great naturalists and explorers of the 19th Century – but new species of all animals are discovered every year, right up to the present.

    Not so frequently, however, in the world of birds – where only a couple of new species might be discovered each year.

    So you can imagine the thrill an ornithologist gets when he finds a new bird and realises he has come across a completely distinct new species.

    Pincoya Storm Petrel

    Our next guest has done exactly that. His name is Peter Harrison, he is the world’s foremost expert on seabirds – so it makes it all the more special for Peter is that it is a new species of seabird he has discovered. Peter is on the line from Cape Town, in South Africa, to tell us about the Pincoya Storm Petrel that he discovered off the coast of Chile...

    And there’s an Irish angle to this story too! Irish birdwatcher Jim Dowdall, along with three friends, first photographed this bird in 2008. They got 14 snaps and wrote a paper for a Dutch Birder journal.  Jim joins Olan and Peter to explain more...


    Wildlife Cameras

    We get an extraordinary amount of e-mails sent to the show, particularly for Mooney Goes Wild. And every now and again, an e-mail or phone call or text strikes a nerve, and we decide to investigate further!

    This is exactly what happened last week, when an e-mail came in from Dublin listener, Gerry McHugh. Gerry was given a bird feeder as a present a few months ago. Prior to this he had no interest in wildlife or nature. He is now 'bitten by the bug'! But he has gone one step further. He was given a bird camera as a present at Christmas. This is a free standing camera which he has set up in the garden (it is not a nesting camera). With this he can both film and take photos of the birds in the garden and then view the action when he gets home.

    Terry went to visit Gerry at his home in Portmarnock...


    UCC student green conference

    You are probably aware of the "Green Flag" initiative... Schools up and down the country encourage their pupils, staff, parents and indeed the wider community to be more aware of their environment – recycle rubbish, collect waste water, walk to school instead of using the car. You've probably even seen the flags flying proudly outside a primary or secondary school near you.

    In 2010 University College Cork became the first University in the world to receive a green flag. Now the university has received another accolade by coming third in a World Rankings of Universities who’ve succeeded in making their campus green.

    Maggie Creed is a PhD student in UCC, and she's also Society Development Officer of the UCC Environmental Society.  She joins Olan from our Cork studios to explain more about their work...

    The National University Environmental Forum will take place at UCC on Friday, March 22nd.  For more details, visit

    Name The Foal Competition

    Thank you to everybody who submitted an entry to name our young filly at the Irish National Stud.  The competition has now closed.  We had a phenomenal response, with some really original, witty and creative suggestions!  And we'll be revealing the winning name of our young foal next Tuesday, so good luck to all who entered!

    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.

    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

    If you require a CD copy of this programme please e-mail  Transfer fees and terms and conditions apply.

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