Science & Nature

Walks: Blackrock, Co Dublin

During short winter days, suburban walks help to maintain personal fitness. Blackrock is an interesting place for strolling. Sea views, parkland and Georgian and Victorian architecture contrast with modern shopping centres.


Ecology: The Irish hare and the 'flat mountain'

Much attention has been focused on the Irish hare recently and it is even the subject of an official survey. Is it an Arctic or a Varying hare? Enquiring minds want to know. It is certainly a unique endemic animal. Everywhere else that such hares are found, they turn white in winter, hence the name “Varying”. In Britain, they are called Blue hares, with “blue” meaning a type of white.


Singing in tongues

The birds aren't all gone! There are plenty of avian visitors who just love our soft winter weather, says Éanna Ní Lamhna



Walks: Cabinteely Park, Co Dublin

Near Cornelscourt and Cabinteely village, a park of about 45 hectares is an oasis in suburbia. In 1984, the county council acquired part of estate lands owned by Joe McGrath of Sweepstakes fame and fortune. The parkland around Cabinteely House retains the English-style landscape features of such Georgian properties, including informal groups of trees which create depth and perspective.


Birds: Black headed gull

(Sléibhín) Larus ridibundus
Ireland's smallest resident gull, the Black-headed gull, is also our most widespread and numerous. By no means confined to coastal areas – which demonstrates the inadequacy of the term “seagull” – it is equally at home on freshwater lakes, moorland, farmland and upland bogs. It is found throughout the country, often far inland.

Gadgets: Christmas novelties

Some must-have Christmas goodies for the office. By Malachy Browne and Grace Flanagan

What makes the perfect Christmas present? Diamonds or a Ferrari? What about an mp3 player that looks like it shops where Mr Claus gets his santa suits? With its shiny red case and snowy white earphones, it's like carrying Christmas around in your pocket.

Taking technology back to the hoover

An intelligent robot to do the vacuum cleaning, computer games with education as well as fun in mind and a platinum disc with your name on it. Well, everyone needs a little delusion, says Malachy Browne

Walks: Avoca, Co Wicklow

  • 29 November 2006
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Renowned from Tom Moore's melodies and the TV series Ballykissangel, the Vale of Avoca is a pleasant place for walking.