Science & Nature

Blogging for beginners

Blog is short for "weblog". Wikipedia's definition is "a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order". A few years ago, they were just engines for web-crazy folks to publish their daily thoughts and commentary. An online journal, either public or private. Now, with the maturing of the internet and broadband, blog ownership has spread like wildfire, with millions of professional and amateur blogs and bloggers.

Birds: House Martin (Gabhlán binne), Delichon urbica

Often confused with its close relative the swallow, the House Martin is the bird that builds its cup-shaped mud nest under the eaves of houses in towns and villages all over Ireland. Strictly summer visitors, they start to arrive in April and depart again by October; it is known that they winter in sub-Saharan Africa, but, amazingly, the exact location of their main wintering grounds is still unknown.

The one St Patrick forgot

If our patron saint really did drive out the reptiles, he left one important one behind. Éanna Ní Lamhna on Ireland's native viviparous lizard

How to become a podcaster

The key attraction of podcasts is that, with the right tools, they can be created by professionals and amateurs alike. It is important to note that even if you don't earn money from your podcast, you are still subject to copyright law. This means you can't just use music or film clips without permission. There are several good websites with "pod-safe" music available free of charge to podcasters, as long as they give credit to the artist and the website.


Birds: Magpie (snag breac), pica pica

One of Ireland's most familiar birds, the magpie needs no introduction. A member of the crow family, it is an exceptionally intelligent bird which, coupled with its ability to eat just about anything and adapt to new surroundings, helps to explain its success.

Walks: Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

Superbly set, classically designed and carefully maintained, Powerscourt gardens suit various categories of walkers. An information leaflet for visitors includes a map with a choice of routes, including one suitable for wheelchairs and baby buggies.

One fine day

From chomping on cabbage to one day of glory. Éanna Ní Lamhna tracks the journey from caterpillar to moth

Podcasts: the next generation

Podcasts and vidcasts are audio and video shows available over the internet. Not to be confused with internet radio, podcasts aren't live or broadcast. They are downloadable content-on-demand, perfect for listening to or watching on an iPod or other audio/video device.


BIRDS: Kingfisher: (Cruidín), Alcedo atthis

Found along the banks of rivers, canals and lakes throughout Ireland, the Kingfisher is one of our most colourful and celebrated birds. Smaller than most people expect, at just 16cm in length it is only marginally bigger than a sparrow, but with a far longer bill and more robust build.