Monday, 13 October 2008


Having told readers about the good time hawthorn had in late spring this year here, I can’t resist showing some pictures of the fruits the good weather then has brought about now. Well, the pictures were taken during the recent dry spell that lasted for a bit more than a week. A lot of rain has come down since again, with just a few good days in between. But all was not well during that dry spell. You'll see below.

Here is the red feast that hawthorn bears for the birds for a good length of time.

Find the fly in the hawthorn? I only detected it when I saw the picture on screen.

I haven’t used red much in my swatches. I find it not easy to get good reds in yarn, not to speak of the beautiful red of these berries.

As I’m at it I also include a few pictures of the area.

Here is a view of Dowra taken from “under the hawthorn tree”. Well, not a tree it is really, rather a bush. Some people call them fairy trees and you are not allowed to remove them - that would bring bad luck:

This reminds me: I always wanted to give an update of the information in the page you get when you open the link to An Taisce in the side bar. This proposed development outside Dowra has been refused.

In the next two pictures you can see part of the Boleybrack mountain range in the background.

In the next picture part of the Slievenakilla mountain range peeps out in the background. It is also called the Playbank. People used to go up there once a year for a festival, still in the last century. I read they had donkeys to carry up beer. I also was told that in even earlier times the different tribes met up there - various borders met nearby - to discuss and solve problems. Could this not be achieved by a council, tournaments were held. Slievenakilla, as the other mountains in this area are covered in blanket bog, a rare protected habitat.

Here is a better view of Slievenakilla. See the alien sitka spruce plantations that have been planted at its flanks? Two of the mountain ranges in this area, Kilronan and Corry Mountain on the other side of Lough Allen, have already been covered with something else: wind power plants. Like many housing estates that have been planted in series around Irish towns and villages – many of these houses empty and unsold – without much consideration of their character, wind power plants now more and more accompany the alien sitka spruce plantations that are distributed on the peat soil of the mountains without due consideration for their environmental impact. The construction of these facilities has several times caused the blanket bog cover to slip. This happened over there during the short dry spell in September, when a road was constructed for such an industrial facility. The same occurred not long before in Co. Kerry.

The following pictures of the peatslide near Drumkeerin are copyright of Joachim Schaefer:

Here is also a video.

In a press release the Fisheries Board of this area says:

"This is the second major peatslide that the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board has dealt with during the past month - both of which led to extensive juvenile fish kills and destruction of the aquatic environment. The two slides occurred while roads were under construction on raised peat lands. The roads are to facilitate the construction of wind farms.These peatslides are occurring in areas of pristine fish habitats which have rich biodiversity. In this case not only have wild Brown Trout been affected but also Lamprey, Stone loach, Stickleback, and Eels. Eamon Cusack CEO of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board stated, “while the Board recognise the need for sustainable renewable energy, delicate ecosystems such as these must be protected”.

The specific causes of the peatslides have to be established, but the Board believes it prudent for developers and Local Authorities to review the road construction techniques currently in use and the preventative measures in place to minimise the possibility of further peatslides. Furthermore the Board would ask that guidelines on appropriate techniques and preventative measures for construction on peatlands be published. These guidelines should take into account the impact of increased rainfall and peat abstraction techniques."

Several Irish ENGOs, including our local group CLEAN(Cavan Leitrim Environmental Awareness Network), An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment have now written to the Ministers for the Environment to call for a moratorium on wind power plant construction on peat bogs until the Minister can be satisfied that more devastating incidents will not occur again. See here.

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