Mooney, Thursday June 20th 2013

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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...

What’s in a name? – quite a lot according to the residents of Poor Town who are looking to change theirs! We’ll look forward to a weekend of Dublin Pride festivities. We have live music from Juan Martín, check in with our Blue Tits and Swallows, and visit a school in Athlone who have just received their FIFTH Green Flag!

NestWatch 2013

Our five Blue Tit nestlings and two Swallow nestlings are continue to grow in size and strength - it won't be too long before they fledge, so click here to watch the Blue Tits. and click here to watch the Swallows!

Screengrabs From The Blue Tit Nestcam

Three of the Blue Tit nestlings

One of the nestlings stretching their wings - they're almost ready to fly!

The female Blue Tit feeding her young

Three of the nestlings all snug!

The female Blue Tit removes a fecal sac from one of the nestlings

Screengrabs From The Swallow Nestcam

The female swallow with one of the nestlings

Getting lunch from mother!

The female Swallow with her two nestlings

One of the Swallow nestlings

Staring into the camera!

The Swallow family! 

Ballybough Name Change

Ballybough Name Change

A few years ago on this programme we spoke to a local Dingle woman, Mary Devanne-Wilson, who was so passionate about the name of the place she was born that she started her own campaign to keep the name on the map when it was threatened with being changed from Dingle / Daingean Ui Cuais to An Daingean.

Seven years later, there is another community that is concerned with this issue of its name ... that of Ballybough, in inner city North Dublin.

The current Irish translation is "Baile Bocht", which means "Poor Town"…

But there is a campaign underway to get that officially changed. Local councillor Neil Ring says the correct Irish translation is "Baile Bog", reflecting the wetland heritage of the area. He says someone made a translation typo a long time ago, and the unfortunate people of Ballybough have been misrepresented ever since.

Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden went there this morning to meet Councillor Ring.

It appears that there are a very large number of place names in Ireland that got mixed up in translation, and to tell us more about this, Derek is also joined in studio by Alan Titley, Emeritus Professor of Modern Irish at UCC...

Juan Martín

Juan Martín

Derek is joined in studio today by guitarist Juan Martín for a chat and some music! 

Juan Martín will perform at the National Concert Hall TONIGHT, with his Dance Ensemble, which includes Raquel de Luna (Bailaora/Dancer), Miguel Infante (Bailaor/Dancer) and Amparo Heredia (Cantaora/Singer).  The concert begins at 8pm - for more information, click here.

Beached Whales In Meath

Beached Whales In Meath

As you may have heard on the news, there have been two whale incidents in County Meath this afternoon. One pilot whale was found dead, and another, in a different location, was successfully re-floated.

Mark Coleman is a Member of the Stranding Network of the Irish Whale & Dolphin Group and he joins Derek on the line with the latest...

To find out more about Ireland's whale and dolphins, visit the website of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG):

Dublin's Gay Pride

Dublin's Gay Pride

Over the next week Dublin will come alive with colour as Dublin Pride is celebrated.

Friday is the official start of the event and thousands of revellers are expected to descend on the capital.

The annual series of events celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender life in Dublin. It’s the largest pride festival in the Republic of Ireland and has grown from a one-day event in 1983 to a ten-day festival celebrating LGBT culture in Ireland. It will culminate with a parade through the centre of Dublin on June 29th.

Dublin Pride Secretary & Parade Director Barry Hogan joins Derek in studio today to tell us what else is in the Festival! For more information, visit

Green Flag Ceremony At St Mary's, Athlone

Green Flag Ceremony At St Mary's, Athlone

This morning, Derek and Brenda visited St. Mary's School in Athlone, where Derek raised their 5th Green Flag! There are almost 400 students in the school. The staff and pupils at the school are all passionate about biodiversity and nature:

We are celebrating our successes and achievements over the last two years in St. Mary’s with our 5th Green Flag, a Discovery Primary Science award and our new “Outdoor Classroom” and “Living Larder”. We are all thrilled to be on such a “Winning Streak” and we hope that it continues for us.

Our success began when pupils of all ages entered into the Westmeath County Council Art Competition 2012 and produced a beautiful calendar which came in 1st and won our beautiful outdoor garden classroom. We went on to enter this competition again this year and also came in 1st and won an outdoor living larder which will house many plants, fruit and vegetables thus promoting Biodiversity within our school grounds even further.

We are also celebrating our success in the Discover Primary Science awards. Our 5th class pupils entered the Primary Science Fair in the RDS in January and presented fabulous projects on improving our ecosystems by using bird feeders and wormeries. Senior Pupils were also involved in the Green Wave Project and they recorded temperatures, wind speed and rainfall over the last number of months. We are also delighted to have been awarded another “Award of Excellence in Science” this year.

We entered into the green schools projects in 2002 and have been committed to recycling, conserving water and energy, encouraging children to walk to school and to keep active in an effort to promote environmental awareness and promote a sustainable environment.
This year, St. Mary’s N.S Athlone, have been awarded their 5th Green Flag for Biodiversity. We know that Biodiversity relates to “the variety of life on earth” and we produced our own simple code “Biodiversity- that’s nature to you and me!” We are very lucky in here in St. Mary’s school in the middle of town to have such diverse grounds and garden areas to promote our work on promoting biodiversity. We enhanced our environment greatly by creating garden areas, wild areas, a bug hotel/habitat, bug rug/habitat, composting, conserving rainwater, developing a trail around the school grounds to promote tree awareness, installing bird, bat and bug boxes. A variety of work went an also within the classrooms where children studied plant and animal life, food chains and threats to biodiversity. Students also used their mapping skills to increase awareness of ecosystems within our grounds/habitat thus promoting awareness for all.

Our teachers, green committee and pupils followed the 7 steps to achieve our goals. Together we devised an action plan to incorporate lots of curriculum work, we invited guest speakers from the community to the school, arranged field trips in the locality and this was all portrayed on our Green schools notice boards and school newsletters. We will continue in our efforts to promote an awareness of biodiversity among our students and to promote ecosystems.

Derek with the staff and pupils of St. Mary's, with their Green Flag


Derek Mooney, Brenda Donohue and Eta Maguire, a teacher at St. Mary's

Joan Travers-Hind, Principal of St. Mary's, with Brenda Donohue


Derek and Brenda prepare to raise the Green Flag


Derek with the staff and pupils of St. Mary's

To find out more about the Green-Schools flag initiative that runs nationwide, visit

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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