The Dementia: Understanding Together campaign has put together five tips for people to make their own gardens dementia friendly. Photograph: iStock

‘Being in a garden helps a person with dementia to be oriented in time and space’

Abbeyleix Bog. ‘My main hope for the future is in community and volunteer-led initiatives like the Abbeyleix Bog project.’ File photograph:  Bord na Móna

Events aims to celebrate wildlife and raise awareness of damage being done to environment

Michelle Long and Claire Cahill, founders of the Scoliosis Advocacy Network. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

They raised over €14,000 for the orthopaedic charity Straight Ahead and hosted a huge toy collection for children having surgery f(...)

From left: Billy Beesley (11), Soifia Dragacevac, Molly Beesley (6), Luke Shanahan, Seán Gallagher and Harry Beesley (9) at the launch of the UCD Festival 2018, which is back for its third year on Saturday, June 9th, 2018. The festival is a free event where the wider UCD community and the public is invited for a day of events, talks, interactive science exhibitions and modern technologies, creative workshops and live performances. Register at Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Body image at the Science Gallery and public talk on bullying by John Lonergan

There are a number of tasty recipes wildflowers can be used in. Photograph: Getty Images

May is a peak month for foraging as wild flowers and herbs come into full bloom

Social and therapeutic horticulturist Caitriona Kelly with prisoners participating in a gardening course at Loughan House open prison  in Co Cavan. Photograph: Barry Cronin/

Can growing vegetables help prepare prisoners to return to society as law-abiding citizens?

The key is to get moving again and not focus too much on the exact source of the pain

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are hosting an event called "Syria Crisis: Frontline Emergency Room" at The Royal Irish Academy, on Dawson Street, Dublin at 6.30pm on Thursday (May 10th). Dr Javid Abdelmoneim will be talking about his work in Raqqa, Northern Syria providing emergency healthcare at MSF’s trauma stabilisation unit. This is a free event but places are limited so please RSVP to 01 660 3337 or email

An introduction to tai chi and health checks for over-55s take place this week

“A lot of people are afraid of movement and exercise following spinal surgery yet we know that people work better in groups and prefer [physiotherapist] supervised exercise classes.” Photograph: iStock

Got Your Back Ireland is ideal for people with chronic health issues or those after surgery

A Spotted Ray (Raja montagui) eggcase sighted on Carratigue Beach in Co Mayo. This is one of Ireland’s more common species of egg-laying skate

Important marine citizen science projects sometimes struggle to survive

European eels: spend several months travelling from their spawning grounds in the North Atlantic

One of our most threatened native fish species now regarded as ‘critically endangered’

A heron flies over the Dodder waterfall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Irish river trusts spring up as ‘rights of nature’ movement surges internationally

Rhonda Daly, Brian McCarroll and Meabh Henderson. Photograph: Alan Betson

In Ireland, about 1,300 suffer from the life-threatening inherited disease

2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards finalist Caoimhe Bennett, right, from Loreto Grammar School in Omagh, with Andrea McBride, vice-president of Pramerica Systems Ireland, and guest-of-honour Joanne O’Riordan

Caoimhe Bennett was one of the 20 finalists in the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards

Siobhan Hannafin, from Sallins, Co Kildare,  with her children, Liam Hannafin, age 3, and Áine Hannafin, age 7, who has cystic fibrosis, at the launch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day fundraising appeal. Photograph: SON Photographic

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s national fundraising day and Trinity seeks participants for Alzheimer’s study

Added sugars, found in processed food and drinks, are a contributing factor in obesity and diabetes. Photograph: iStock

Avoiding added sugar isn’t easy but nutritional therapist Elsa Jones is there to help

Donating blood: One in four of us will need a blood donation at some stage in our lifetime, yet only about 3 per cent of those who can donate blood do so. Photograph: Istock

In Ireland, you can donate blood, kidney, bone marrow, platelets, breastmilk and hair

Caroline Lynch, organ donation coordinator:  “I’m humbled and privileged to journey with families at such an intense and dark moment in their lives.” Photograph: Tom Honan

Caroline Lynch is one of six organ donation co-ordinators

You can pick up an organ donor card from your local pharmacy and keep it in your wallet. Photograph: Istock

Becoming a potential donor is easy – carry an organ donor card and let your family know

Hedgegrows give rural Ireland that patchwork quilt landscape that Failte Ireland use in international tourism campaigns. Photograph: Getty Images

They provide food for animals and store carbon to mitigate against climate change

The Willow Zen Garden, in Fairview Park, Dublin, with project art manager Laura Larkin, from Dublin Culture Connects (right). It was made by locals from Ballybough Craft Group and Fairview Art Class. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Dublin council project enables northside women to turn their park into a Zen garden

Sir Paul Nurse speaking after being awarded the inaugural George Sigerson award for ‘inspiring aspiring’ scientists by UCD Biological Society. Photograph: Aoife O’Sullivan

‘Not enough money going into discovery on the spectrum of research from discovery to translation to applications’ - Paul Nurse

Rita Shah of Shabra Plastics: “It’s important that people rinse out their milk bottles, take off the labels and lids and don’t leave food on plastic containers so it can be used again.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Two Irish companies make recycling plastics their business

New guidelines dictate that packaging waste must be clean, dry and loose before recycling.

Up to one third of all household recycling bins are contaminated by unrecyclable material

Dr Takanori Shibata, inventor of the therapeutic seal, Paro with a client in the Alzheimer Society of Ireland Orchard Day Care Centre, Blackrock, County Dublin.

Employers across Ireland are encouraged to host an event on national Workplace Wellbeing Day on April 13th

Writing about shamrock in the 1980s, the Irish botanist Charles Nelson said that shamrock was nothing more and nothing less than young clover

There is much dispute as to exactly which three-leafed plant is a shamrock

Derek Devoy of Taxi Watch  in his cab in Kilkenny. Picture Dylan Vaughan

Health Hero: Derek Devoy asks drivers to monitor spots where people go to take their own lives

Mundy, Jess Kav of Barq and Leslie Dowdall at the launch of “A Night for Aware”, a concert in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on Friday, April 6th, in aid of mental health charity, Aware. The concert will also feature Christy Dignam, The Pale, Cry Monster Cry, Jem Mitchell, Trouble Pilgrims and The Skatuesques. Tickets are €25 from Ticketmaster. Photograph: Maxwell

Help build up blood stocks, keep an eye on glaucoma and get your children interested in architecture

 Bluebells are plentiful in the woodlands of Ireland’s country house estates

Spring flowers bring rich colour and gentle scents once the weather gets a little warmer

In Ireland, tidy town groups are now aware of the importance of leaving wild areas with nettles as butterflies and moths feed on them. Photograph: Getty

Nettles are rich in vitamins A and C and iron, potassium, manganese and calcium

Barn owls hover with dangling legs when hunting for small mammals. Photograph:  Birdwatch Ireland

There has been a 50 per cent drop in the number of barn owls over the last 25 years

Jessamyn Fairfield holds the view that comedy holds a unique element that works superbly for scientific communication. Photograph: Steve Cross

American physicist Jessamyn Fairfield turned her improvised comedy routine into a science communication tool, while Irish engineer(...)

Senior class at Dance Theatre of Ireland, at Bloomfield Centre, Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘I discovered the Well Dance for Seniors classes and find it’s a wonderful way to get fit’

Sandra Doody and her daughter Sarah, at home in Stillorgan, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

I asked myself was I doing the right thing taking her from her culture and birth place?

Emma is doing fine in school and the teachers have been immensely supportive. She does attend a psychologist

The children have always known they are adopted, but have totally different responses to it

Sandra Doody and her daughter Sarah, at home in Stillorgan, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘The inter-country adoption process is very gruelling with a lot of uncertainty’

Lichens  don’t have a root structure, and are able to shut down their metabolism during periods of extreme heat, cold and drought

Ireland is very rich in lichens, with over 1,100 recorded species

Do artists and illustrators whose work concentrates on drawing and painting birds, animals and plants have a particular affinity for the natural world?

Drawing and painting wildlife can enhance our understanding of the natural world

Anthropological studies suggest that kissing is an acceptable practice in up to 90 per cent of cultures. Photograph: iStock

The evolutionary origins and physiology behind mouth to mouth kissing

A frog’s life:  frogs spawn in the same place each year. Photograph: Moment/Getty

As the weather gets milder you might spot frogs’ eggs in ponds. But don’t disturb it

Sea gardeners: Marie Power foraging seaweed with helpers Katie and Harry Earl near Tramore in Co Waterford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

You can use seaweed in everything from scones to soup – and it’s almost back in season

Common gorse is the only species native to much of western Europe. Photograph: Getty Images

Pod-like flowers are most prolific on mountainous and bogland scrubs from February to May

Microscopic Alaria plantlets 18 days post spraying

As the world wakes up to the environmental scourge of plastic waste and the EU launches its first ever Plastics Strategy, Sylvia T(...)

Many energy drinks contain 80mg-130mg of caffeine and 30g of sugar in 250ml - twice to three times the recommended daily caffeine amount for young people, and more than the recommended daily amount of sugar

Aldi is banning so-called energy drinks to those under the age of 16

A seal enjoying the high tide in the River Liffey at Wolf Tone Quay in Dublin. Photograph: David Sleator

January is one of the best months to observe grey seals on land

With more than 90 per cent of the population using smartphones, people are more likely to turn to technology for help for mental health problems.

Apps have potential to engage people with diagnosed conditions, say experts

The curlew, with its large size and long curved bill, can be seen in  locations like North Bull Island in Dublin and Cork Harbour

The curlew one of the birds to be seen in estuaries, mudflats and coastal grasslands

Easkey Britton launching Ireland’s Biggest Ever Beach Clean Event last year. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

Beach clean-ups and surfing help us connect with nature, says surfer Easkey Britton

Monks are credited with first bringing snowdrops from Rome to Ireland. Photograph: Getty

In floriography, snowdrops are symbols of hope and consolation

Some 30 minutes’ exercise a day is essential for optimum health

Back pain is one of the main reasons why people take time off work but we now know that staying off work is unhelpful for back pai(...)

The  footprint of a badger’s forepaw in mud. Photograph:  Arterra/UIG via Getty Images

Make rural walks more interesting by seeking out the presence of wild animals

Holly with berries: became a Christian symbol

Ward off evil, contemplate Christ and get the look of love with these ancient Irish sprigs

The Christmas Day swim at the Forty Foot, Sandycove, Dublin last year. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Winter sea swimming has many benefits, but beware of cold-water shock

The popular robin  is a benign symbol of cold, frosty winter days.  Photograph: Jonathan Porter/

Birdwatch Ireland invite people to record the different common garden birds they witness

Choir teacher Helen Doyle during rehearsals in St Vincent’s Girl’s School, North William St, Dublin 1. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Schoolgirls learning choir sessions can boost numeracy, literacy and concentration

Arboreal landmark near Delgany. Scots Pine planted in the mid nineteenth century.

Ireland’s tallest native evergreen was growing here 7,000 years ago

Bill Schindler (foreground) with Jason O’Brien (left) and Aidan O’Sullivan at the Centre for Experimental Archaeology & Material Culture, at UCD Belfield, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

US professor suggests that by re-connecting with the food of our ancestors, we can also build a more sustainable food system with (...)

Clinical Pilates class in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Tom Honan

Rehabilitative exercise classes help people of all ages with chronic and acute injuries

Whooper swans wintering on the Vartry Lakes in Roundwood, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Ireland hosts up to 20% of species overwintering in Europe between October and April

Christy Kavanagh with a Nordmann Fir in a net at  Kavanaghs Christmas Tree farm in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A number of farms let you choose your Christmas tree and have it felled on the spot

 Jennifer Brea  in “Unrest”: She developed ME  following a fever that left her bedbound while studying for her PhD at Harvard. Photograph: Jason Frank

A sufferer has made a graphic documentary about myalgic encephalomyelitis

Grace Darcy from Clane, Co Kildare, interacting with the ‘Doomsday Clock’ exhibit at the opening of ‘In Case of Emergency’, the new free exhibition at Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin.  Photograph: Mark Stedman

‘In Case of Emergencies’ exhibition: The human brain codes risk in five categories – won’t happen, unlikely, 50-50, likely and wil(...)

Like dogs, foxes have excellent hearing but their eye sight works best in low light. Photograph: Getty Images

These wild animals are now a common sight at night when they come out in search of food

The Cork city house  had a very high level of energy efficiency with an A1 BER and Passive House certification

Criteria consider water, light and air quality alongside BER energy standard

The best time to see a murmuration is just before dusk on a fine, cold winter evening. Photograph: Getty Images

Thousands of starlings swirling through the skies is one of nature’s most wonderful sights

The red and the grey squirrel: autumn is ideal for spotting them scurrying about

Contrary to popular belief, squirrels do not hibernate

Prof Matthew Walker: “Regular sleep – seven to eight hours a night – is the best method to maintain brain and body health. We are the only species which deliberately deprives ourselves of sleep.”

Sleeping less than six or seven hours a night increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, says neur(...)

Sharon Groarke,  Bernie Kirwan and Catherine Wallace, support nurses at Hope Cancer Support Centre, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

‘Often people with cancer put on a brave face and say they are fine but they’re not’

Autumn pleasure: the crisp feel of leaves underfoot. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Fallen leaves make for beautiful strolls while also creating habitats for small creatures

Cellist Martin Johnson: “The common problems we have are lower back, shoulder or neck pain.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Members of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra talk about the ailments that beset classical musicians

If you’re lucky, you may be able to see the Aurora Borealis   from Mayo and Connemara. Photograph: Getty Images

Mayo and Kerry are home to some of the best dark, natural skies in Ireland

Chanterelle mushroom

The trick is to learn which trees specific mushrooms grow under

Children select pumpkins at Kennedy’s Pumpkin Patch near Julianstown, Co Meath. Photograph: Wilde Photography

Several Irish farms host pumpkin-picking events in the run-up to Halloween

Pharmacist Tomas Conefrey of Conefrey’s Pharmacy, Pearse St, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan.

The Irish Pharmacy Union has argued that the State could get greater value and efficiency from the health budget if it allowed pha(...)

Paula Finnegan  with her children, from left: Millien (5), Luke (3), Tom (2) and Sam (7) at home in Cabra, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘My left leg was a different colour to my right.’ Paula Finnegan recalls discovering a blood clot

As part of National Reuse Month,  people are encouraged to take part in upcycling and repair workshops. Photograph: Richard Drury/Getty Images

Initiatives include lending household goods, upcycling old products, and donating clothes

Most winter ailments – coughs, colds and sore throats – are likely to settle down with home remedies. Photograph: istock

Beat Winter series: While it can be difficult to avoid illnesses, you can minimise risk of infection

A mobile green haven in London

‘We will be asking the public to gather the data and consider what solutions will work best for their cities’

Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Co Tipperary: to celebrate the day that’s in it the ecovillage is hosting a sustainable community fair. Photograph: Alan Betson

This landmark day is a good time to highlight the diversity of the projects across Europe

Gate Lodge at the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Park ranger Paddy Crowe and his family rent a Regency style lodge in the Phoenix Park

Guilty pleasure: The FSAI received almost 750 complaints about suspected food poisoning in 2016

More than 50 per cent of adults say they eat undercooked burgers in restaurants

These competitions recognise young people’s role in combating climate change

Railtours Ireland’s Titanic Belfast/Hills of Donegal rail and coach tour takes travellers back in time - and past some of the most(...)

Tara McNeill with staff member Johney Martin at the new Simon Community gym on Island Street, Ushers Island. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland’s first gym for homeless people improves fitness of both body and mind

“We want more growers, schools, community and allotment gardens to use our seeds to grow Irish heritage vegetables,” says Jennifer McConnell, ISSA general manager

Spreading the word about open pollination is key to the Irish Seed Savers Association’s operation

Girl Guides from Swords, Portmarnock and Rathfarnham at the Glow 6 Camp at Ignite 2017, where  more than 600 tents were needed. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ignite 2017: When Girl Guides gathered to learn to be strong women in the 21st century

Marie Wynne at home with her husband Denis. “He played rugby. He was a sales director in a company. He was always building or making something at home or working in the garden.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Some family carers object to anti-psychotic medications being given to their loved ones

Anja Murray: “When you go out with friends and children, leave your phones at home and go with the intention of noticing what’s going on around you.”

National Heritage Week a prime opportunity to connect with our natural environment

Picnics and trips outdoors can beneft dementia sufferers and their families

Dr Andreas Weber: mingles his vast scientific knowledge with a poetic turn of phrase which draws readers into connections with the natural world.

Environmentalism must be fuelled by passion and empathy, argues Andreas Weber

Find it difficult to fall asleep? Make sure not to eat before you go to bed and cut out caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sleep whisperer Chris Winter solves sleep problems without resorting to pills

Fashion researcher Rebecca Earley: “You get to experience rather than buy the clothes you want. It also offers more choice with less resources.”

It could be only a matter of time before we're leasing everything from jeans to ball gowns

The Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. The car park at the cliffs site frequently becomes full at 11am during the summer months

There is an onus on visitors to choose carefully where – and when – they visit

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