The yew - Taxus baccata

The yew is a native tree and is found in old woodlands but more commonly in the artificial surroundings of demesnes and graveyards. An evergreen, the yew is a dramatic tree with its dark foliage and red berries which encase a single seed. The foliage is poisonous to livestock but not to deer. The seeds are also toxic, although the red casing is not. This explains why it is so often seen in churchyards, where there are no animals.

Watching Channel 6

Channel 6 launched last year with a €14m investment, a €4m publicity campaign, and plans to conquer the lucrative but saturated 15-24 year market. Fourteen months on, it has only a 0.4 per cent share of the national market and just a two per cent share of the 15-24 year old market.

Enda Kenny on abortion: bringing Ireland back to the 1950s

Since Garret Fitzgerald's time, up to this week, I was an enthusiastic Fine Gael voter. I remember a real sense of disappointment when John Bruton's coalition was voted out of office. I will not be voting for Enda Kenny's flavour of Fine Gael, however. The reason is my total disgust at his effrontery in giving a guarantee to the The Irish Catholic newspaper that, if returned, his party will not legislate on the abortion issues highlighted by the "X" case.

Fine Gael and Dublin Airport

The Fine Gael General Election Manifesto 2007 says the party in government will conduct an independent study on the feasibility of either a third independent terminal for Dublin Airport or a second airport for the East Coast region. We also welcome the manifestos commitment to develop a national aviation policy.

Miss "D" case: legislation needed

Choice Ireland commend the High Court verdict in favour of Miss D's right to travel for an abortion. Nevertheless we are appalled by the treatment Miss D has received at the hands of our state. It is simply unacceptable that yet another woman has been dragged through the courts in order to vindicate her rights and her choice. It is also unacceptable that Miss D will now be forced overseas in order to obtain her choice of an abortion.

Giving something back to canvassers

I've been wondering for some time what to do when canvassers call to my door. In the past I've found myself engaged in acrimonious arguments with people against whom I bear no personal animosity, perfectly nice people who just happen to represent a party I dislike.

Transparency on Bertie's finances critical

Even if it obscures the debate on policy, the question of Bertie Ahern's finances is critical for our democracy. The reason is fairly simple : the cost of corruption is enormous. We know that nods and winks and bags of cash infected the core of our political culture and we know how chunks of our cities are disfigured as a result. We know how terrible decisions were taken that favoured old friends over the public good. It's a scar on our democracy that can only be healed by a vigorous commitment to transparency and accountability.

Dogs of many colours

Just after he called the election, Bertie Ahern mocked the pedigree of the alternative government - they'd be a mixed breed of blue, green, red, he said. Even allowing for Mr Ahern's notoriously bad memory, it is funny he cannot remember that, as well as the PDs, his 1997 government depended on a pack of independents whose agenda was as widely scattered as the constituencies from which they came. One wanted to fill pot holes in Kerry, and another to stop MMDS in Donegal! The FF party whip had to meet this little rump once a week to throw them a bone.

Indisputable historical significance of Tara

It comes as little surprise to many, as a result of the mechanical soil-stripping in advance of motorway construction, that yet more archaeological monuments have come to light in the Gabhra (Tara-Skryne) Valley, among which is the extensive archaeological complex at Lismullin. Central to this complex is the large hengiform enclosure, the sole monument along the entire M3 corridor that the National Roads Authority (in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) has felt compelled to declare a National Monument.

Time to break the silence on Tara

The long-running Tara/M3 controversy underlines how greedy and selfish we Irish have become since the advent of economic good fortune. A landscape that embodies the very soul of Ireland is about to be decimated.