Science & Nature

Of mice and men, depression and schizophrenia

Fifty years ago depression, schizophrenia and many other psychiatric disorders were often attributed solely to one's present or past environment: one's upbringing, one's parents, early childhood experiences, alcohol, drugs etc. And while such factors continue to play a critical role, it is now accepted that many of these conditions also have an underlying genetic component. Furthermore, recent advances in genetics suggest that many human genes are replications of those found in fruit flies, worms, mice and our nearest primate relatives.


Paris is a great city for walkers because the main attractions are within a compact area. Use the metro for easy access to the best walking routes. Near the Abbesses station decorated in Art Nouveau style, climb steep steps or take the funicular to the top. 

Woodpigeon (Colm coille)

Found year-round throughout most of Ireland, save for some midland areas, the ‘Dipper' is something of an oddity amongst Ireland's birds.  Although a typical songbird in most respects, resembling an oversized, plump wren, it is a highly aquatic bird, rarely found far from fast-flowing rivers and streams.

Holly - Cuilleann

Because of its association with Christmas, holly is one of our more easily recognised native trees. It is probably the most ornamental of these native trees and many variegated and golden varieties are cultivated.

Foxes In Foxrock

What was a fox doing last week walking around the car park of a supermarket in the afternoon – in the suburb of Dublin, Foxrock? Shoppers were amazed to see it in daylight showing no fear of humans at all.

Online freebies

Talk is cheap, so they say. It certainly is if your boss pays for your Internet and you make use of the various means of free communication available to the savvy webwatcher

Delgany, Co Wicklow

Start in the village centre where naturalist and film-maker Eamon de Buitlear unveiled an information unit, including a Delgany Heritage Trail map. Follow the way-marked signs to the Gothic Christ Church. Opposite, descend on Jacob's ladder to Three Trout Stream, probably derived from ‘tri droichead'- three bridges.

Woodpigeon (Colm coille) Columba palumbus

Around a million pairs of Woodpigeon breed in Ireland every year but just around this time of the year (winter) their numbers are boosted by the arrival of hundreds of thousands more from the continent.

Green Gadgets

A large variety of green electrical equipment exists for those who like to travel, camp or assuage their guilty consciences about the amount of batteries they use. Luckily, they are far from a chore.