Recent Events

 Biodiversity Training a Great Success!

Thanks to everyone who came along to our biodiversity training on Saturday 6th June. Dr. Tomás Murray of the National Biodiversity Centre in Waterford, kindly came along to share his knowledge on bumblebees and butterflies. While it must be said that there was already a high level of knowledge among some members of the group  (myself not included), we all found it very useful.

Tomás began by explaining the work of the centre, and how some of the work being done there is leading the way across Europe. He explained how we, as amateur naturalists, can become regular contributors to the database, by walking a particular area regularly over many months, reporting species seen during that time. Alternatively, we can report randomly when we see a species we think merits noting. He encouraged us to report even common species as they are an indicator of environmental change. It is easy to add the data to records, and Tomás showed us how to enter the information. We can also report as a group, using a common email, generating our own database of our local biodiversity.

He then went on to explain how to differentiate between the various bumblebees, white tailed, buff tailed and even a red tailed ( ginger?)one. We heard about the cuckoo bumblebee, who goes into a nest, kills the queen and takes over. And that only female bees sting!

In the butterfly session we discovered that there is more than one species referred to as ‘cabbage white’ (or worse when its caterpillars destroy our cabbages). We were told how we might spot such creatures as the dingy skipper, the green hairstreak, and the more glamorous sounding pearl-bordered fritillary.

After a short break for lunch, the weather having improved somewhat, we thought we’d try the Demesne Golden Mile to search for bumblebees and butterflies. We found, caught, identified and released a number of unfortunate creatures, among them carder bees, and an orange tip butterfly with beautiful marbled under wings. We returned via the demesne, where unfortunately a large area has been sprayed with weed-killer, so very little insect life remained there.

All in all, a good day was had by all, and we’d like to thank Tomás for his time and enthusiasm.

If you want to try your hand at identification go toButterflies: http://butterflies.biodiversityireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Crash-course-BF-ID.pdf
Bumblebees: http://pollinators.biodiversityireland.ie/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Crash-course-in-bumblebee-identification_2015.pdf

orange tip butterfly

Male Orange Tip Butterfly showing marbled under wings.

Another Successful Dawn Chorus Event in Greenfields

Many thanks to those of you who showed up so early for our Dawn Chorus event on Sunday morning, and to Neil Sharkey for being the resident expert on the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t record all of the birds we saw or heard last year, although some of them were recorded after we had officially finished (so we can’t include them). Results were as follows:
Headford Environment Group’s dawn bird walk at Greenfields

Please select the link below:

HEG2015DawnBirdWalk

See you next year!

From Falcons to Owls

Thursday 4th December, 2014@ 8pm

Headford Environment Group to Host a Talk by Well-known Ornithologist, John Lusby.

The locally-based environment group has been working in Headford for 4 years now, and aims to increase environmental awareness and appreciation of our natural heritage. “While we normally hold a series of talks in the Autumn, this year‘s three biodiversity signs and Golden Mile entry have kept us extremely busy” said Venetia McEllin, a member of the group. “However, we are delighted to welcome back one of our most popular speakers for December”.

John Lusby, a conservation officer with Birdwatch Ireland, who is most known for his work on RTE Radio 1, drew a large crowd of all ages when he last visited Headford. This time he will be speaking on the raptors of Galway, “From Falcons to Owls”.

John Lusby’s talk takes place on Thursday 4th December at 8pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford. Everyone is welcome, there will be a raffle on the night, and while admittance is free, donations towards the group’s work will be very welcome.

GORDON D’ARCY TO LAUNCH A BIRD IDENTIFICATION SIGN AT

GREENFIELD,  HEADFORD CO GALWAY

ON SUNDAY 11 MAY AT 7.00 AM

Gordon D’Arcy, author, artist and environmentalist, will officially launch a Bird Identification Sign on Sunday 11 May at 7.00 am, following a dawn chorus walk, starting at 5.30 am, at Greenfield, Headford.

This sign was planned by the Headford Environment Group. following  a most enjoyable dawn chorus event at Greenfield in May 2013, when a total of 33 different species of bird were identified. The sign depicts and describes 21 species of bird which may be seen at Greenfield.  “The aim of the sign is to raise awareness and provide information about the rich bird life and biodiversity in the area” said Dr Kate McAney of the Headford Environment Group, “and we are delighted to have Gordon D’Arcy coming to mark the occasion”.

The sign also features information on fishing at Greenfields, a description of the bird life to be found, and personal recollections of life on Inchiquin before the Causeway was built in the 1960s.

This project is part funded under Galway County Council’s Local Agenda 21 Environment Partnership Fund 2013.

Refreshments will be available for all those brave souls who set the early morning alarm to come and join us.

Environmental Practices in the Home

Our second talk of the 2014 Sprng Series of lectures will be given by Sindead Ni Mhainnin, Environmental Awareness Officer at Galway County Council.

It will focus on areas such as waste reduction, composting, refrigeration, energy consumption etc. and will show us how to become greener in the home.

This will take place on Wed 26th March ’14 at 8pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford. We hope you will be able to attend and look forward to seeing you there. As usual, donations will be welcome at the door.

First of our Spring Talks for 2014

Galway Birds: Seen, photographed and videoed in Galway.
by Tom Cuffe
Tom Cuffe is a Heritage Specialist with the Heritage in Schools Scheme. Bring avian fauna to the national schools of county Galway for the past 3 years. He has a large collection of bird photographs and videos all taken in Galway over the past 15 years. This will form part of his presentation. Tom is an avid bird watcher since an early age when he was in the cub scouts. He leads bird watching walks for Bird Watch Galway on a monthly bases at Nimmo’s Pier. He has given numerous talks and walks all around Galway for a wide range of interest groups.
 This talk will take place in the Anglers’ Rest Hotel, Headford on Wed 19th February at 8pm.
Entry is free, but donations, as always, are welcome.

Water Pollution – Causes, Effects and Solutions

The second of our Autumn 2013 talks is on the subject of:

WATER POLLUTION –

CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS

a talk by Con McCole

at 8pm on

 Wed 20 November, 2013

in the

Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford

Admittance free – everyone welcome

Autumn Talks 2013

Biodiversity Report for Headford

On 10th December, the third  and final talk of the Autumn 2013 series, will be a report from a recent biodiversity study carried out in the town of Headford.

An exciting learning opportunity arose for  11 postgraduate students at NUIG to carry out surveys of the biodiversity found along the Sandybanks lane for Headford Environmental Group and the local community. The students carried out habitat mapping, and recorded plants and animals along stretches of the lane. The students are undertaking a taught MSc in Sustainable Resource Management Policy and Practice which is a multidisciplinary course jointly run by NUIG and UL.

Thanks to the students, who have kindly agreed to share their findings, we are delighted to welcome you to join us to hear the results of their work. Who knows, there may even be a mince pie or two….

10th December at 8pm in Anglers Rest Hotel, Headford.

All Welcome!

Here’s a taster of what they found….

One of our residents.

Wood Mouse

‘The story of a Community Garden in Co. Galway’    by  Lynn O’Keeffe-Lascar,

 A Galway woman, Lynn studied commercial organic vegetable production at Otley College of Agriculture in Suffolk in 1996.
Having worked on commercial organic farms in Ireland and Italy for several years, she now lives in Kinvara on the Clare /Galway border, where she is married with 3 children.
In Kinvara Lynn helped to set up a local community garden in 2005 with a group of  volunteers and support from the Heritage Council – namely Doorus Orchard Project. This community orchard, where she works as garden manager in a voluntary capacity, is in a walled in garden, and planted up with 70 heritage fruit trees & a wide range of soft fruits, and contains vegetable gardens, poly tunnels, a picnic area, an outdoor oven,  biodiversity garden and ornamental plantings.
Lynn has a great interest in the benefits of community gardening, and has helped other groups get started, particularly Kilkishin in County Clare with funding from Clare Rural Development. She also writes a regular article on wildlife gardening for WINGS , the Birdwatch Ireland quarterly magazine.
Since 2009, in partnership with Anna Jeffrey Gibson, Lynn worked with Kinvara Sustainable Living, as an outreach horticulturist. They teach courses in fruit and vegetable growing, polytunnel culture and poultry keeping. Kinvara Sustainable Living runs day courses, evening classes,  transition year programmes for secondary school, and VEC funded courses. The talk will take place in The Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford Co. Galway,  on 17th Oct @ 8 pm. Admission free. Donations welcome. Open to all. Further talks are to follow in November and December.

Autumn Talks 2013

Biodiversity Report for Headford

On 10th December, the third  and final talk of the Autumn 2013 series, will be a report from a recent biodiversity study carried out in the town of Headford.

An exciting learning opportunity arose for  11 postgraduate students at NUIG to carry out surveys of the biodiversity found along the Sandybanks lane for Headford Environmental Group and the local community. The students carried out habitat mapping, and recorded plants and animals along stretches of the lane. The students are undertaking a taught MSc in Sustainable Resource Management Policy and Practice which is a multidisciplinary course jointly run by NUIG and UL.

Thanks to the students, who have kindly agreed to share their findings, we are delighted to welcome you to join us to hear the results of their work. Who knows, there may even be a mince pie or two….

10th December at 8pm in Anglers Rest Hotel, Headford.

All Welcome!

Here’s a taster of what they found….

One of our residents.

Wood Mouse

‘The story of a Community Garden in Co. Galway’    by  Lynn O’Keeffe-Lascar,

 A Galway woman, Lynn studied commercial organic vegetable production at Otley College of Agriculture in Suffolk in 1996.
Having worked on commercial organic farms in Ireland and Italy for several years, she now lives in Kinvara on the Clare /Galway border, where she is married with 3 children.
In Kinvara Lynn helped to set up a local community garden in 2005 with a group of  volunteers and support from the Heritage Council – namely Doorus Orchard Project. This community orchard, where she works as garden manager in a voluntary capacity, is in a walled in garden, and planted up with 70 heritage fruit trees & a wide range of soft fruits, and contains vegetable gardens, poly tunnels, a picnic area, an outdoor oven,  biodiversity garden and ornamental plantings.
Lynn has a great interest in the benefits of community gardening, and has helped other groups get started, particularly Kilkishin in County Clare with funding from Clare Rural Development. She also writes a regular article on wildlife gardening for WINGS , the Birdwatch Ireland quarterly magazine.
Since 2009, in partnership with Anna Jeffrey Gibson, Lynn worked with Kinvara Sustainable Living, as an outreach horticulturist. They teach courses in fruit and vegetable growing, polytunnel culture and poultry keeping. Kinvara Sustainable Living runs day courses, evening classes,  transition year programmes for secondary school, and VEC funded courses. The talk will take place in The Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford Co. Galway,  on 17th Oct @ 8 pm. Admission free. Donations welcome. Open to all. Further talks are to follow in November and December.

Headford’s First Bird Dawn Chorus Event Sunday May 19th

To mark Biodiversity Week 2013 several brave souls dragged themselves out of bed to meet up at 5am at Greenfields, close to the causeway to Inchiquin Island. These intrepid bird watchers were ably led by Neil Sharkey and by 7am a total of 33 different bird species had either been heard or seen by the group. The small but varied area searched by the group yielded familiar summer visitors such as the swallow but also three secretive warblers, two wading species and a tern. There were five species of crow, four different finches, and even a goose! All 33 species are listed below.

Neil pointed out the difference between the calls of the three warblers; the rich melodic, soft, clear warbling notes of the Blackcap, the loud, fast sequence of harsh grating chattering notes of the Sedge Warbler, and the thin, pleasant liquid notes of the Willow Warbler, which starts out softly, rises in pitch and then fades away. The calls of the Cuckoo and the Wood Pigeon were distinguished by listening carefully for the Cuckoo’s ‘cuc-coo’ and the pigeon’s ‘cooo-cooo’.

The most exciting twitching moments were spotting a group of Whimbrel flying along the horizon and a Common Sandpiper. The Whimbrels were on their spring migration, moving north from wintering grounds in Africa to breeding grounds in Iceland and northern Europe. The sandpiper is a small wader that is at home on the edges of rocky water bodies, and was spotted resting on rocks but also flying low over the surface of the water.

Just as the group started to make its way back to the cars, an Arctic Tern was spotted making shallow dives into the water, presumably feeding on small fish. To reinforce the fact that it is generally much easier to watch birds than mammals, the only hint of the latter was the very strong fox scent picked up at one spot along the walk.

The event was enjoyably rounded off with a hot cup of tea. The target for next year’s dawn chorus is 40 species!

Common Gull; Black-headed Gull

Willow Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Blackcap

Blackbird

Pheasant

Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Linnet

Wood Pigeon

Mallard

Wren

Goldcrest

Blue Tit

Cuckoo

Raven; Jackdaw; Hooded Crow; Rook; Starling

Greylag Goose

Cormorant

Whimbrel

Swallow

Mute Swan

Robin

Curlew

Common Sandpiper

Magpie

Pied Wagtail

Arctic Tern

Kate McAney – Headford Environment Group

Don’t Forget Our Last Spring Talk….

..

‘Irish Bumble Bees’ by Dr Una Fitzpatrick.

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013 at 8.pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel.

Our final talk for this Spring will be given by Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Bees are Ireland’s most important pollinators and provide a vital ecological and economic service to society. However of the 101 different species of bee that occur in Ireland, around 30 are threatened with extinction and three have become extinct over the last 80 years.

Everyone is welcome. Our talks are free, but any donations given on the night are used for projects of the Headford Environment Group.

Spring Talks 2013

Spring Talks 2013

‘Leather Wings and Bushy Tails’ by Dr. Kate McAney

Wednesday, 20th March 2013 at 8pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel

Following the success of our talk on Barn Owls, we are delighted to present this talk on bats, stoats and pine martens. Our speaker, works for the Vincent Wildlife Trust, and is a member of our group.

Kate has worked for the Trust in Ireland since 1991. She manages 13 lesser horseshoe bat reserves located along the west coast, from Mayo in the north to Kerry in the south. Since 2010, she has run pilot studies on the Irish stoat in County Galway. She promotes mammal conservation and research through lectures, bat walks and publications. Kate completed her PhD at University College, Galway, on the summer activity of the lesser horseshoe bat. She has a particular interest in the diet of insectivorous bats; her most recent study was on Bechstein’s bat. Kate was a founder member of the Galway Bat Group and is a committee member of Bat Conservation Ireland. Office: Headford, County Galway.

‘Irish Bumble Bees’ by Dr Una Fitzpatrick.

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013 at 8.pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel.

Our final talk for this Spring will be given by Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Bees are Ireland’s most important pollinators and provide a vital ecological and economic service to society. However of the 101 different species of bee that occur in Ireland, around 30 are threatened with extinction and three have become extinct over the last 80 years.

Everyone is welcome. Our talks are free, but any donations given on the night are used for projects of the Headford Environment Group.

Spring Talks for 2013

Yes, its that time of year again, and we are happy to announce our series of Spring talks for 2013. This year, we start with the well know expert from Birdwatch Ireland, John Lusby, who will be talking to us about ‘Barn Owls in Ireland’. This will take place in the Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford on Wednesday, 20th February 2013 at 8 pm.

We’ll have two further talks, in March  and April. Details will be announced soon, both here and on our Facebook pages, ‘Headford Golden Mile’ and ‘Headford Environment Group’

Biodiversity Training in Headford

Biodiversity Training for local communities that will start in Headford on Thursday January 17th at 7.30pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel. This training should be of interest to a wide range of people including farmers, anglers, tidy towns groups, environmental groups, teachers, group water schemes and anyone with an interest in nature, the environment and community development.

All welcome!

A Community Garden for Headford

We are setting up a community garden in Headford.

If you are interested in getting involved, whether you have gardening expertise or not, please come along to the Angler’s Rest on Thursday 18th April at 7.pm. or ring Mags on 087 6708123

Following on:

Glad to say that we had a really good turnout, however, new people would still be welcome. Our next meeting is a visit to Kilmaine Community Garden on Thursday 25th April at 11.30am.

Introducing our final Spring Talk, ‘Climate Change: The Science Behind The Spin’, by Michael Henehan.

Wed 2nd May at 8pm in Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford.

Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to differentiate the wheat from the chaff with regards climate change science. Too often, opinion is muddled with fact. Too often, climate change is viewed from within a political, or religious frame: a dogma that one may choose to identify oneself with, rather than an empirical fact.
What’s more, even among those who are comfortable that man-made climate change is a reality, there is a worrying lack of understanding about the fundamentals of climate change: how it happens, how we know it is happening, etc.
This talk will attempt to cut through a lot of the nonsense that surrounds the science of climate change and get down to the basics- how does climate change happen, has it happened before, and what has been happening since we’ve started burning fossil fuels.

Michael Henehan, a former pupil of PCH, is currently a Phd researcher, working on “Ground-truthing the Boron Isotope Proxy” at University of Southhampton, having graduated with an MSci in ‘Paleontology and Evolution’ at University of Bristol

Wednesday, 2nd May at 8pm in The Anglers’ Rest Hotel, Headford.

INVASIVE PLANTS AND ANIMALS IN IRELAND TODAY THEIR EFFECT ON OUR ENVIRONMENT

On 19th April, we are pleased to present our second Spring talk. We welcome Elaine O’Riordan who is the Manager for the Galway County Biodiversity Project ‘People and Nature’. Biodiversity simply means the great variety of life in nature including all the different plants, animals and habitats.  The aim of the project is to encourage greater awareness and care for the biodiversity of County Galway.

Invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. Elaine will discuss the problem with invasive plant and animal species in general and describe  some of the main pest alien species in County Galway.

The talk will take place in the Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford at 8pm on Thursday 19th April. There will be no charge for admittance but donations will be requested on the night. Any funds raised will go towards future Environment Group projects.

All welcome!

Wolves In Ireland

A public talk by Dr. Kieran Hickey of NUIG.

March 22nd, 2012 at 8pm in The Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford.

Dr Kieran Hickey has written a book on ‘Wolves in Ireland: A Natural and Cultural History’, Dublin Four Courts Press. (Copies will be available on the night).

Wolves were a common part of the Irish landscape until 1786 when the last one was shot in Co. Carlow. Wolves had survived longer in Ireland than in any part of Britain. There is substantial evidence for wolves in Ireland include archaeological, place names, , mythology, folklore and documentary data and the existence of the Irish wolf dog. The earliest archaeological data shows that wolves were a feature of the Irish landscape 25,000 years ago. The earliest writing in Ireland from the various monastic annals of the first millennium suggests that the monks were familiar with wolves. This book sets out to tell the story of wolves in Ireland, how long they have been around, where they occurred, how they existed, their relationship with humans and how perceptions of them changed with the arrival of the English in the 1600’s. The new English settlers were horrified to discover that many parts of the country were infested with wolves, as wolves had been eliminated from England prior to AD 1500. The book also plots the extermination of wolves from the Irish landscape and how this was achieved using legislation, bounties, professional wolf hunters and deforestation. Finally the possible uniqueness of the Irish wolf is considered along with the possibility of reintroduction.

Dr. Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in physical geography in the Department of Geography. His previous two books dealt with climate change which is his major area of expertise. These are 2008 Five Minutes to Midnight: Ireland and Climate Change, White Row Press, Belfast and 2010 Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009-2010, Dublin, Four Courts Press.

Kieran has published extensively in many other academic journals and chapters in edited books and atlases on many aspects of climate change with a particular interest in Ireland.

Spring Talks

We are currently working on a series of public talks. The aim is both to raise awareness of various issues in our environment, and to raise funds for our projects. There are no set entrance charges for these events, but those attending will be asked to donate what they can.

We have finalised the arrangements for the talk by Dr. Kieran Hickey of NUIG on the subject of Wolves in Ireland. It will take place on 22nd March in Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford, at 8pm.

For more info, please go to Upcoming Events.

GORDON D’ARCY TO LAUNCH A BIRD IDENTIFICATION SIGN AT

GREENFIELD,  HEADFORD CO GALWAY

ON SUNDAY 11 MAY AT 7.00 AM

Gordon D’Arcy, author, artist and environmentalist, will officially launch a Bird Identification Sign on Sunday 11 May at 7.00 am, following a dawn chorus walk, starting at 5.30 am, at Greenfield, Headford.

This sign was planned by the Headford Environment Group. following  a most enjoyable dawn chorus event at Greenfield in May 2013, when a total of 33 different species of bird were identified. The sign depicts and describes 21 species of bird which may be seen at Greenfield.  “The aim of the sign is to raise awareness and provide information about the rich bird life and biodiversity in the area” said Dr Kate McAney of the Headford Environment Group, “and we are delighted to have Gordon D’Arcy coming to mark the occasion”.

The sign also features information on fishing at Greenfields, a description of the bird life to be found, and personal recollections of life on Inchiquin before the Causeway was built in the 1960s.

This project is part funded under Galway County Council’s Local Agenda 21 Environment Partnership Fund 2013.

Refreshments will be available for all those brave souls who set the early morning alarm to come and join us.

Galway Birds: Seen, photographed and videoed in Galway.

by Tom Cuffe
Tom Cuffe is a Heritage Specialist with the Heritage in Schools Scheme. Bring avian fauna to the national schools of county Galway for the past 3 years. He has a large collection of bird photographs and videos all taken in Galway over the past 15 years. This will form part of his presentation. Tom is an avid bird watcher since an early age when he was in the cub scouts. He leads bird watching walks for Bird Watch Galway on a monthly bases at Nimmo’s Pier. He has given numerous talks and walks all around Galway for a wide range of interest groups.
 This talk will take place in the Anglers’ Rest Hotel, Headford on Wed 19th February at 8pm.
Entry is free, but donations, as always, are welcome.

Last year’s events..

‘Irish Bumble Bees’ by Dr Una Fitzpatrick.

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013 at 8.pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel.

Our final talk for this Spring will be given by Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Bees are Ireland’s most important pollinators and provide a vital ecological and economic service to society. However of the 101 different species of bee that occur in Ireland, around 30 are threatened with extinction and three have become extinct over the last 80 years.

Everyone is welcome. Our talks are free, but any donations given on the night are used for projects of the Headford Environment Group.

Biodiversity Training for Headford

Our next biodiversity meeting is on Thursday, 2nd May  in Angler’s Rest Hotel.

Help produce a Nature and Wildlife Plan for Headford.

Such a plan is simply a list of projects that will run over a three year period for the benefit of nature and wildlife in your area, and the environment, and the local community.

This project is funded by Galway Rural Development and supported by Galway County Council

Spring Talks 2013

‘Leather Wings and Bushy Tails’ by Dr. Kate McAney

Wednesday, 20th March 2013 at 8pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel

Following the success of our talk on Barn Owls, we are delighted to present this talk on bats, stoats and pine martens. Our speaker, works for the Vincent Wildlife Trust, and is a member of our group.

Kate has worked for the Trust in Ireland since 1991. She manages 13 lesser horseshoe bat reserves located along the west coast, from Mayo in the north to Kerry in the south. Since 2010, she has run pilot studies on the Irish stoat in County Galway. She promotes mammal conservation and research through lectures, bat walks and publications. Kate completed her PhD at University College, Galway, on the summer activity of the lesser horseshoe bat. She has a particular interest in the diet of insectivorous bats; her most recent study was on Bechstein’s bat. Kate was a founder member of the Galway Bat Group and is a committee member of Bat Conservation Ireland. Office: Headford, County Galway.

‘Irish Bumble Bees’ by Dr Una Fitzpatrick.

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013 at 8.pm in the Angler’s Rest Hotel.

Our final talk for this Spring will be given by Dr Una Fitzpatrick, Ecologist with the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Bees are Ireland’s most important pollinators and provide a vital ecological and economic service to society. However of the 101 different species of bee that occur in Ireland, around 30 are threatened with extinction and three have become extinct over the last 80 years.

Everyone is welcome. Our talks are free, but any donations given on the night are used for projects of the Headford Environment Group.

Spring Talks 2012

We are planning a series of talks in March, April and May of this year, based on various topics related to the environment.

First up, we have Dr. Kieran Hickey of NUIG, who is going to talk on Wolves in Ireland. This is now confirmed  for 22nd March, 2012, at 8.pm. (See below).

This talk will look at the natural and cultural history of wolves in Ireland. Our speaker has a reputation for being entertaining, and I suspect, we may leave with valuable trivia with which to astound our friends, and win table quizzes.

We are happy to announce that our speaker for April is Elaine O’Riordan, who will be talking on Thursday, 19th April on the topic of Invasive Species. More info to follow.

Finally, on Wed 2nd May, we will welcome Michael Henehan, who will speak on ‘Climate Change: The Science Behind The Spin’.

This talk will attempt to cut through a lot of the nonsense that surrounds the science of climate change and get down to the basics- how does climate change happen, has it happened before, and what has been happening since we’ve started burning fossil fuels. (See below for more).

All talks will take place in the Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford at 8.pm

Hope to see you there!

Wolves in Ireland

Dr Kieran Hickey has written a book on the subject of ‘Wolves in Ireland: A Natural and Cultural History’, Dublin Four Courts Press.

Wolves were a common part of the Irish landscape until 1786 when the last one was shot in Co. Carlow. Wolves had survived longer in Ireland than in any part of Britain. There is substantial evidence for wolves in Ireland include archaeological, place names, , mythology, folklore and documentary data and the existence of the Irish wolf dog. The earliest archaeological data shows that wolves were a feature of the Irish landscape 25,000 years ago. The earliest writing in Ireland from the various monastic annals of the first millennium suggests that the monks were familiar with wolves. This book sets out to tell the story of wolves in Ireland, how long they have been around, where they occurred, how they existed, their relationship with humans and how perceptions of them changed with the arrival of the English in the 1600’s. The new English settlers were horrified to discover that many parts of the country were infested with wolves, as wolves had been eliminated from England prior to AD 1500. The book also plots the extermination of wolves from the Irish landscape and how this was achieved using legislation, bounties, professional wolf hunters and deforestation. Finally the possible uniqueness of the Irish wolf is considered along with the possibility of reintroduction.

Dr. Kieran Hickey is a lecturer in physical geography in the Department of Geography. His previous two books dealt with climate change which is his major area of expertise. These are 2008 Five Minutes to Midnight: Ireland and Climate Change, White Row Press, Belfast and 2010 Deluge: Ireland’s weather disasters, 2009-2010, Dublin, Four Courts Press.

Kieran has published extensively in many other academic journals and chapters in edited books and atlases on many aspects of climate change with a particular interest in Ireland.

March 22nd, 2012 at 8pm in The Angler’s Rest Hotel, Headford.

Details on Elaine O’Riardan’s talk will be posted shortly.

‘Climate Change: The Science Behind The Spin’.

Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to differentiate the wheat from the chaff with regards climate change science. Too often, opinion is muddled with fact. Too often, climate change is viewed from within a political, or religious frame: a dogma that one may choose to identify oneself with, rather than an empirical fact.
What’s more, even among those who are comfortable that man-made climate change is a reality, there is a worrying lack of understanding about the fundamentals of climate change: how it happens, how we know it is happening, etc.
This talk will attempt to cut through a lot of the nonsense that surrounds the science of climate change and get down to the basics- how does climate change happen, has it happened before, and what has been happening since we’ve started burning fossil fuels.

Michael Henehan, a former pupil of PCH, is currently a Phd researcher, working on  “Ground-truthing the Boron Isotope Proxy” at University of Southhampton, having graduated with an MSci in ‘Paleontology and Evolution’ at University of Bristol.

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