Erris. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill 2:53

ERRIS, CO. MAYO   At every stage of this year’s Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland competition, we judges had lengthy discussions about (...)

Iberian mystery: how did the  large-flowered butterwort of Kerry get here? Photograph: Michael Viney

Just behind the telly is the strongest shelf in the house, supporting the heaviest books in my natural-history library. Weightiest of all is on(...)

In the Comeraghs: Coumshingaun Lough, in Co Waterford. Photograph: George Munday/Alamy

Robert Lloyd Praeger, whose book The Way That I Went, from 1937, remains an eccentric treasure for anyone interested in our natural history, described(...)

Flights of fancy: winged ants. Illustration: Michael Viney

In all that heat last month, and near enough to the silly season, these islands conjured not a single insect “plague”. No kamikaze squadrons of water (...)

Wicklow beaches: nesting terns have to be fenced off. Illustration: Michael Viney

Airy as spindrift, sharp as knives, they flicker beyond the third wave in flashes of white light, plunge-diving for sand eels. Their courtship is an a(...)

Spring audition: Browning wrote about the song thrush. Illustration: Michael Viney

Back on duty as soon as the rising temperature allowed, a song thrush has been waiting on the same branch, morning after morning, to share with(...)

When Robert Lloyd Praeger encountered the Knockmealdown Mountains on his famous exploration of Ireland’s landscape, he wasn’t impressed. “Nothi(...)

Gunnera: the gargantuan Chilean rhubarb-that-isn’t. Illustration: Michael Viney

Spring doesn’t work without rain. After 17 days without a drop – such magical mornings! – a first millimetre in the rain gauge offered hope to (...)