A couple of weeks ago we visited Union Wood in County Sligo. The bluebells were amazing.
Union Wood is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the presence of old sessile oak woodland. Today, the woodland is mixed and includes commercial forestry and is part owned by Coillte and the NPWS.
The wood was once part of the Cooper Estate, The Cooper family had acquired the land in the mid-17th century under the Cromwellian settlement. Prior to which it was owned by an old Irish family, the McDonaghs.
There are two looped walking trails to enjoy, one 4km and the other 5.5km long.
22nd May is International Day of Biodiversity. Here are just a few of the recent highlights from the garden and further afield. There is so much wonderful biodiversity out there. Go and explore.
Enniscoe House and Estate can be found near Crossmolina in Co Mayo, on the shores of Lough Conn. Steeped in heritage the Georgian house dates from 1790 and today is run as a family hotel. We visited a couple of weeks ago to take part in a bumblebee workshop (held by the National Biodiversity Data Centre). The second half of the day involved looking for and identifying bumblebees. It also allowed us to enjoy the grounds including the beautiful woodland, but especially the organic walled garden. The garden is divided into two; first the formal garden or pleasure grounds, and secondly the vegetable and impressive fruit growing area. Strawberries, apple trees and currants were all in bloom. The garlic was huge in comparison to my own! And the potatoes were coming on very well.
Enniscoe is also the location of the Mayo North Heritage Centre, where people can go and explore their North Mayo ancestors / genealogy. There is also a looped walk, a museum and all important tea rooms.
The simple beauty of mother nature.
So it is a new year. And I intend to start with an attitude of hope, that we are heading for a year that will bring, as a friend said, some calm. What can I do for 2017? I’ve been mulling over this question for a few weeks now and here is what I have come up with. (If you are interested this was my 2016 list and how I did).
17. Help seventeen people learn more about their environment.
As some of you may know, I do help run pollinator courses and I am sometimes asked to give wildlife walks/talks in a voluntary capacity. What I would like to do is reach seventeen people through these means and help them learn more about the natural world.
16. Send sixteen mammal records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
Last year my goal was relatively easily reached so this year I want to make it harder by concentrating on mammals, and upping the number of mammal records I send from the 10 in 2016, to 16 for 2017.
15. Give away fifteen homegrown flower or vegetable plants to worthy homes
Last year it was twelve so I should be able to manage 15.
14. Fourteen fun days out with the family
There is nothing better than finding somewhere nice to enjoy for all the family.
13. Learn thirteen new words
English words or even some foreign words I am not going to be too fussy!
12. Write twelve blog posts (ideally one a month) on an environmental topic
Many of us are aware how much our environment is suffering, so I hope to post blogs that will raise awareness and maybe give examples of things we can do as responsible citizens
11. Read eleven new authors
This year I’d like to read books by authors I haven’t read before. These could be new authors or just ones I haven’t previously read.
10. Complete ten butterfly and or bee monitoring transects this year
I have not changed this from last year as firstly I can’t think of a new number 10 plus this is something I want to continue to do, so I feel it is important that it remains.
9. Find 9 ways of encouraging more wildlife into our garden
8. Discover 8 new things
This has been inspired by Cathy at (https://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/17-for-2017-the-beginning/). It could be anything but I would like to focus on health and researching a couple of health topics that affect our family.
7. Send seven letters to friends
Proper letters, not just emails!
6. Try six new recipes
Okay as I failed miserably last year on this one, so I have lowered the number and will hopefully achieve a few more this time!
5. Have five swims
Ideally in the Atlantic – I hope the weather is good this summer!
4. Find four positive ways of helping those in need
3. Plant three new vegetables or fruit that I did not grown in the garden last year
2. Record two new species for the garden
1. Attend one cultural event
A play, concert or something like this.