And so we reach the end of 2020. A challenging year on so many levels. Usually we try and get a beach walk in on the 31st December or the 1st of January. But knowing we were heading back into a new covid 19 level five lockdown today (our highest level lockdown here in Ireland), which includes a 5km travel restriction – we made the most of yesterday and went to Ross Beach.
A visit to the beach, no matter what time of year, brings cheer. The tide was out and the low winter light perfect.
I want to thank all those who have stopped by over the last year, particularly those that have taken time to comment. I know I haven’t been as good as other years in reading and commenting and I will try to do more in 2021. I do value this wordpress community, the support, inspiration and kindness you all offer.
I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope 2021 brings you some magic.
On a sunny day last week, I got a sneak preview of the new Teach Saileach or Willow Room at the Country Life Museum in Turlough, Co Mayo.
Sunshine through willow of Teach Saileach
On Sight 2017, was a community arts project, funded by Mayo County Council, in partnership with the National Museum. The Willow Room is one of several willow sculptures created in the grounds of Turlough Park, by the talented Mayo Art Squad. The artists used local willow and traditional basket making techniques.
I was privileged the following day to be the first person to use the Willow room as an outdoor classroom for a group of pupils from a local primary school. We used the space as our classroom before exploring the wood for bugs and other mini-beasts. The bug hotel is also a new addition to the woodland.
The room made a wonderful outdoor classroom. Pictured below are just a couple of the other willow sculptures that can be viewed as part of the Willow trail.
The artists involved in the project were: Mick Smyth (coordinator), Brendan Timlin, Kevin MacNeely, David McInerney, Saw Tun, Sanita Vecbrale, Paul O’Driscoll and Aidan Crotty
In the United States, they are celebrating Pollinator Week (19-25th June). In Britain, they have a Pollinator Awareness Week which runs in July. Isn’t it time we in Ireland did something similar? After all pollinators are in decline worldwide and we can all do our bit to help pollinators in our local areas.
So this week I hope to post a few extra pollinator posts to start an “Irish Pollinator Week” of sorts. I will post the posts here and on a blog I share with a friend, Wild Pollinator Gardens.
And I ask each of you, where ever you are in the world, to think about posting at least one pollinator post or photo over this next week.
In the final hours of 2016 it seems appropriate to look back and forward. On a personal level it has not been an easy year and I know that the same is true for many. For me there have been challenges I would have rather never faced, but there was no choice. It was sink or swim, so we’re doing our best to swim. The words of Dory in the film Nemo come to mind – “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
I know 2017 will bring more challenges. Some I already know, so I can be prepared, but there are the hidden ones that take us by surprise, that can knock us off balance. I just hope that I will find the grace and strength to meet all these challenges head on.
From a blogging perspective, I have enjoyed the experience of writing, commenting and engaging with the WordPress community. Thank you to all of you who take time to read and comment. It astonishes me that someone halfway across the world would be interested in reading what I have to say. It is humbling. In a world where it seems that we are becoming increasingly divided it is an important lesson. It shows me that we have more in common with each other than we think. Perhaps in 2017, we can spend a little more time finding similarities with each other, and in so doing learn to respect each other and the differences that will inevitability be there too.
There is no magic wand. But there is humanity and each of us in our small way can do a little to change things. It may be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger. Little steps. Often we are not even aware of the suffering of those around us. But by sharing a smile perhaps we can bring a little light, a little bit of hope into that person’s day.
Wishing you all a lovely festive season. Hope you get time to relax and spend time doing what you most enjoy. Thank you for reading and commenting over the last year. It has been a pleasure to be part of the WordPress blogging community.
We’ve been experiencing a lot of dark, grey, wet and windy days. So no hope of getting out in the garden. It’s frustrating but an inevitable part of this time of year.
We have started feeding the birds again and I have been delighted to find my seven year old son taking an extra interest in them this year. We’ve started doing the Annual Garden Bird Survey for BirdWatch Ireland. We’ve also been learning about birds in our local ladybird girl guide group (like girl scouts). So I ended up online looking for some resources. It got me thinking about children and nature and our role as adults in passing on the wonders of the nature world to the younger generation.
I’ve decided therefore to look at doing another wordpress blog promoting this idea. I know wordpress isn’t a place children will automatically go to but it is a place where people with all sorts of passions go. So perhaps those of us that are passionate about our kids and about nature can use it as a tool. The site is called naturekids.
I invite you all to check out what is a very fledgling site. I would welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have. My first post is on Garden Birds.