Science & Nature

Walks:Gartan Lake, Co. Donegal – A stroll through history

Leaving the Heritage Centre, turn right along the wooded shoreline, then left onto a road. Pause on the bridge over the river Leannan and relish lake views. Keep left at the next junction. The lakeshore road brings you to the Glebe, which the artist Derek Hill donated to the nation. There are periodic arts exhibitions at the gallery and the gardens are open to the public After the Glebe, cross the small Tehabber bridge.

Birds:The Wren - The Bird of Christmas

Meanwhile, here we are in the season of the Hunting of the Wren. Bunches of boys would hunt and kill a wren – not something likely to be a long-drawn out process when it was boys, stones and dogs vs. the wren. The dead bird would be tied to the top of a pole or holly bush and garlanded with coloured papers or ribbons.

Then, in straw masks or with faces blackened with burnt cork, the Wran Boys would call from house to house to raise cash for their dance that evening, chanting: