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Creaking gates in the dark of night

  It was the type of field trip Dúlra had been dreaming of. The patrons of the Roddy’s on Glen Road had been hearing some strange sounds of late – no, not the karaoke – but from amid the huge, dark trees that surround the club. As the smokers were enjoying the fresh mountain air, […]

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Count your starling blessings

It’s a bird that many people have in their gardens, but to be truthful, few appreciate. Starlings are noisy, aggressive and certainly aren’t house-proud when it comes to building a nest. They’re common – at the last count there were half a million of them in Ireland – but for some reason they have just […]

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There’s one fine county in Ireland

When you’re a city person, sights like this can really surprise you. Rows upon rows of gnarled, old trees, branches heavy with big, awkwardly shaped apples. Dúlra was in the heart of the Orchard Country, but he was still surprised that people actually make a living from growing these fruit. And a good living, it […]

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Coffee shop opens on top of the Black Mountain

If someone had said years ago that one day, someone will open a coffee shop at the top of Black Mountain, you’d have told them to get their head checked. Cafes are for towns and busy streets, the mountain top is for – well, a few scraggly teenagers and their dogs. No one else set […]

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Bring the sweet bird song back to your garden

If only workmen weren’t so damned professional nowadays, our birdlife would be in better shape. When Dúlra was a youngster, a starling nested under a slate at the left-hand side of his bedroom window, and a house sparrow nested in a gap between the gutter board and a slate at the right-hand side of the […]

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Nature bestows its bounty on our birdlife

MAYBE it’s something to do with growing older, with the knowledge incrementally increasing with each day that you’ll not be here forever. Because recently, the sheer beauty of our surroundings has blown Dúlra away. It’s been a fantastic summer with the sun shining most of the time, but rarely producing the sweltering days that make […]

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