Old Irish Goats: As the last remaining goats of their kind, the animals warrant protection, not least as an irreplaceable genetic resource for future breeding.  Illustration: Michael Viney

A neighbour stopped on the road one morning in our braver “alternative” years to lean over the hedge and inquire, in encouraging tones, as to the purp(...)

Kite surfer Francois Colussi takes on the Atlantic.

Mayo was the spinster aunt of Irish tourism for many years, forgotten and forlorn; forever in the shadow of her more glamorous sisters further south. (...)

How many must die?: a flight of young sparrows. Illustration: Michael Viney

Apart from our evening swirl of swallows, swooping for midges between the trees, the acre has fallen rather quiet. This follows an avian breeding seas(...)

Irish lakes are home to rare plants and fauna that few nonsnorkelers will ever see. Illustration: Michael Viney

An ecologist friend spends much of his working life in a neoprene wetsuit, floating face-down with mask and snorkel on Ireland’s lakes and lagoons. He(...)

Gunnera growing on Achill. Photograph: KB Wills and Jerry Moorman

‘Which plants do best in our gardens?” Matthew Jebb asks before answering himself: “Usually foreign plants, because generally our predators and pathog(...)

Sealed off by a landslide: a cave of ancient bear bones at Chauvet, in France, was shut off by a landslide 30,000 years ago. Illustration: Michael Viney

It was Oscar Wilde’s father, William, a Dublin surgeon-naturalist, who decided in the 1860s that it was time some order was put on the thousands of bo(...)

Into the light: uncovered pine stumps on the shore. Illustration: Michael Viney

All summer the quiet tides returned the sand that last winter’s storms had dragged offshore, heaping it even deeper over the old oaken wreck on(...)

Harry Clifton, Paula Meehan and Michael Longley: to spend even a short time with these three very different poets is to experience a tiny fraction of their love of words and their finely-tuned sense of mischief. Photograph: Dylan Madden

The Ireland Chair of Poetry is a solemn, formal, academic institution. The poets who hold it, however, tend to be anything but. Gather the three mo(...)

Great lake: mayflies’ sudden emergence from the water and nuptial swarmings have signalled the launch of anglers eager to catch trout with imitation mayflies of their own. Illustration: Michael Viney

The mayflies that dance above the lakes of late spring are of the insect order called Ephemeroptera: they hatch, fly, mate, lay eggs on the water and (...)

 A hiker on summit of Slieve Carr, in the Nephin Beg Mountains
Ten great walking weekends

Tóchar Phádraig, Co Mayo The walk from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick is possibly the most alluring in Ireland, a 35km pilgrimage route th(...)

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