A Pope and popemobile which forms the centre piece of the Durrow Scarecrow festival in Durow, Co Laois. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A giant scarecrow version of Pope Francis has won joint-first prize in a competition at the Durrow Scarecrow Festival. The pontiff is due to visit th(...)

A tortoiseshell butterfly in an Irish garden feeding from the magenta flowers of oregano. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Seen many butterflies recently? No? What about ladybirds, wild bees, dragonflies, frogs or hedgehogs? Nope? Me neither. The sad truth is that the abse(...)

A scarecrow on duty in an Irish school garden. Photograph: Richard Johnston

Writing about scarecrows in the New York Times recently, the author Geoff Dyer described them as “Silent beings in dilapidated attendance . . . devoid(...)