Imprints from the past: successive ice ages and weathering have left the fossils of early limestone Ireland’s chief visible heritage. Illustration: Michael Viney

The first Irish fossils to catch my eye shone out from a big panel of dark and highly polished limestone, spotlit beside the desk of Michael Scott, th(...)

Timely: this autumn’s supermoons and all the talk of life on Mars give a topical edge to I Was There’s distillation of evolution. Illustration: Michael Viney

How do you inspire an eight-year-old, say, with young delight in sharing with everything else on Earth, atoms born of the Big Bang, 14 billion years a(...)

Heads down: the ewes turned their rumps to the wind. Illustration: Michael Viney

There are gales you can just about walk in, leaning forward, eyelashes fluttering, cheeks hollowed as if in some rocketing ascent from Cape Canaveral.(...)

Lumbricus terrestrism draws leaves down. Illustration: Michael Viney

The return of the wind reminded the trees it was autumn, whether or not they were ready to let their leaves fall. The beech stays stubborn, already(...)

Summer visitor from Africa: the death’s head hawkmoth photographed by Michael Bell

I spotted a long black insect with its tail turned up. Can you tell me a bit about it? Phil McNamara Kilkee, Co Clare It is a devil’s coach(...)

Snack time: a snail on petalwort. Illustration: Michael Viney

Let us choose for the wreath a flower so small Even you haven’t spotted on the dune-slack Between Claggan and Lackakeely its rosette – Petalw(...)

I came across a bulb or plant when weeding under evergreens. It looked like an alien when it opened. Fionuala McGuinn Dunboyne, Co Meath Yo(...)

Hare-brained: human population growth threatens the planet. Illustration:  Michael Viney

At sunrise on one of the golden mornings the sheep and their pastures sparkled with dew. Tapping briskly forth on the boreen, an ageing squire with an(...)

I awoke with a stinging sensation on my hand and chin. I dislodged the “guest”, which was about 1.5mm long – a light-brown blob with a thorn about (...)

Where pollinators can flourish: a blackthorn in flower. Illustration: Michael Viney

It looked like a miniature bumblebee, about the size of my little fingernail. Then, lifting from a starry blue flower no bigger than itself, the furry(...)