Conall Brutally Killed

Conall, barely 10 months old, was recently found brutally killed in the mountains of the Sligo Leitrim border.

Not the first child of his kind to have his short life savagely ended in this disgusting way, serious questions must be asked of the supposed law enforcement authorities in this country and of those charged with the care of such a young male.

How can people who poison the likes of Conall still be out there, rather than in prison, where they clearly belong ? How many people are there willfully poisoning their neighbours in this fashion ? How difficult can it really be to apprehend and punish severely those who willfully poison others ?

The communities in which this type of scandalous act of killing occur, whether Sligo, Leitrim, Kerry, or wherever, are small. Johnny knows Mick and Mick knows Billy. Get out and catch them and spare our society these criminals, who have no compassion, much less love, for those we share this island nation with.

But more questions :

How can Scotland and Norway continue to send their children to our shores, to be put up against this wanton destruction ? How can their governments allow the exporting of their defenceless sons and daughters to another country where, seemingly, nothing or not enough is done to protect them ?

Shame on Scotland. Shame on Norway. Most of all, shame on Ireland. I am disgusted by all three of you.

Read more here. And here.

Lovely Leitrim Outings

Nuala McNulty runs an eco self-catering apartment near Manorhamilton, north Co. Leitrim. There’s a link to Tawnylust Lodge in the right hand column.

She informs me of the following events during September. The mushroom foraging ones are, I’m sure, run by the wonderful Tina Pommer. Check them out.

Sept 11 & 13 : Green Generation walks.

Sept 19 : Archaeology walk.

Sept 20 & 26 : Nature and foraging walks.

Contact Nuala on 071 – 9820083, or e-mail her via her website.

Some Places to Visit in Ireland’s West

If you’re living in or visiting Ireland’s West, you might like to consider some of these places for a nice walk or some fun out with the family :

1. Moore Hall, near Carnacon, south County Mayo.

Ruined “big house” plus surrounding forests – much of it planted conifers, but also quite a bit of native broadleaves. Nice walks around Lough Carra.

2. Lough Key Forest Park, near Boyle, north Co. Roscommon.

Okay, there’s the paying part, but there is also loads to do without parting with your cash. Kilometres of forest walks, most of it through native and non-native broadleaves, parts also through conifers. Lakeside walks. Feed the swans and ducks. Look at the passing cruisers, etc.

3. The Suck Valley Way, Athleague, south Co. Roscommon.

Head for the lovely Visitor Centre in a former church. Walk along the bank of the River Suck as far as Castlestrange and its La Tene Stone. If you’re up to it, continue to the quaint and pretty riverside village of Castlecoote.

4. Mountbellew Demesne, Mountbellew, north Co. Galway.

Very large and dense conifer plantation has good walks. See its old forge. If you’re lucky, you might spot some deer, or test your skills in finding their footprints.

5. Arigna Mining Experience, near Drumshanbo, mid Co. Leitrim.

Perhaps Ireland’s best paying tourist attraction (in my humble opinion). Visit the old coal mine, guided by the actual miners themselves. If I remember correctly, mining ceased circa 1990 and the guys themselves now bring visitors around. When they’ve retired in the future, I doubt if the experience will ever be the same, so get there soon.

6. Old Head Wood, beyond Westport, west Co. Mayo.

Forget the beach (as pleasant as it is). Walk beyond the beach and discover the amazing, though small, Old Head Wood. Walk through it at a slow pace and take in this tiny piece of old Atlantic Wood. Then exit the far side and walk along the cliff top fields, until you get a clear view of the great Atlantic Ocean and Clare Island in front of you. Spot the Cormorants, Seals, Dolphins, etc. Take note of the poor trees, bent over at 90 degrees eastwards from the fierce and unrelenting Atlantic winds.

Autumn in the West

I’ve always loved autumn and so, what better time to start this blog ?

I was over in lovely Leitrim last week, spending some (limited) time in the woods after a meeting in Carrick on Shannon. As is my wont, when I have a spare slot of maybe 60 minutes, I went to a wood I know near Lough Key Forest Park, to look for some deer.

The last time I had been really lucky, spotting four female Fallow Deer. That was back in summer. They were drinking at the little stream. They quickly noticed my presence and fled into the surrounding plantation*.

Anyways, this time there were no deer. But just as my allotted time was nearly up, didn’t a gorgeous red squirrel pop out from the undergrowth, no more than four metres from where I was crouched down. He looked at me, paused for a second and then scurried off across the track and disappeared. Thrilled with myself, I was getting up when I heard a ruffle in the trees above me. I looked up and spotted another red jump from one tree to another.

This is a great spot. I have a great visit each time I go. The plantations have a covering of mushrooms the likes of which I have never seen anywhere else – even other plantations of the same species – Sitka Spruce.

The ground under the coniferous plantation is simply covered in, among others, Sickeners, Butter Caps and Common Puffballs.  Under the deciduous tress, I found Chanterelles, Common Yellow Russulas and slimy Porcelein Fungus, but like all others and because it was mid afternoon, I left them there.

Plantation * : Andrew St. Ledger and Aidan Corcoran suggested that we not grace what Coillte and private conifer growers have done to our national landscape with the glorious words “woodland”, “wood” or “forest”.