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“Rising in darkness is the hardest part for some, but I have always enjoyed it ever since those very early childhood mornings with Mum.”

This article relates to the upcoming Irish Times Winter Nights festival. More details at the bottom of this page. For full line-up and tickets go to&n(...)

Helen Macdonald has a good turn of phrase. Photograph: Bill Johnston

A few weeks ago I saw a pair of swifts in the local park, sweeping around in dizzying arcs, swooping towards the ground but never touching, never stop(...)

Crystal jellyfish, Aequorea spp is found in Irish waters

My son took this picture underwater of a jellyfish. It is like the common jellyfish but without the four pink rings. Is it unusual? Brian Ó Cuiv, Indr(...)

Gannet with fish: Anyone who has watched the birds plunging vertically from the sky to seize mackerel deep beneath the surface must marvel at their anatomy. Illustration: Michael Viney

Someone has pocketed my lovely gannet’s skull – well, probably not, but it seems to have disappeared from the years-old jumble of tideline ossuary on (...)

Meadow grasshopper

I came across this unusual pink grasshopper in the woods just outside Ennis. What species is it? – Emer Dunne, Ennis, Co Clare The common field grassh(...)

Fox with prey: The urban adult is “thin and exhausted” from finding and ferrying food to its cubs. Illustration: Michael Viney

Of the many surreal images in the iconography of lockdown, for me the most telling was the trotting fox on a shuttered, empty Grafton Street. There wa(...)

Choughs. Illustration: Michael Viney

At the far end of Dursey island, Co Cork, the choughs are gathering in new families to probe the ground for grubs, stabbing the wind-shorn grass with (...)

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

This bird is recovering after crashing into the kitchen window. The beak and tail are long. – Valerie Collins from Killorglin, Co Kerry. It’s a j(...)

Cocksfoot grass: their hint of purple strong against the light in a sunny meadow

Weeks of cold, raw, early rain, then droughty weeks of a misplaced summer; weeks of showery rain again, some of it teasingly warm: such are the mood s(...)

Buff-tip moth

I thought this was a twig that somehow got stuck on the wall. On closer inspection it revealed itself as, I assume, a moth. Darryl Broe, Corca Dhuibhn(...)

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