Trees Run Out at Galway City's first Community Planting since 2006!

I hope that yesterday’s enthusiastic public support of the first community planting of trees in a a city woodland since 2006 will encourage Galway City Council to re-introduce annual environmental and leisure events programmes for local parks and woodlands aimed at all age groups, schools and neighbourhood associations.

Even though the public planting of trees in Terryland Forest Park of March 28th was mainly promoted over two days by word of mouth, radio and by online social networking, so many people turned up that all stocks of trees ran out after 90 minutes rather than the 4hour period allocated for the plantings! So sadly, hundreds of volunteers never actually got the opportunity to plant trees on the day.

Still it was a great success which much credit having to go to Sharon Carroll (Environment Education Officer) & to Stephen Walsh of and his staff of the parks section of Galway City Council.

The residents of Galway City have yet again shown that they want to play an active part in the protection, preservation and enjoyment of our local beautiful natural landscapes. So City Hall should build on the excellent work that they undertook in organising Sunday’s event in conjunction with community campaigners and re-introduce a year- long programme of trees and hedgerow plantings, nature studies, outdoor arts classes and courses on such traditional crafts as coppicing and drystone walling.

Lost Hobby of Stamp Collection Returns to Galway!

I am hoping to revive the almost extinct hobby of Stamp Collecting in Galway city by hosting a meeting on the subject at 7.30pm this Wed (March 24) in the Menlo Park
Hotel. Everyone is welcome to attend.
A work colleague (Doug Foxvog) last year got me to dust down my old stamp albums that I last used when I was 12yrs old! As a child, it was a great way to get to learn about the politics, culture, geography & wildlife of countries across the globe. In spite of the Internet, states still produce fantastic thematic collections. So if you are in Galway, come along on Wed night to see some

great collections and maybe swap a few stamps with other enthusiasts

Stamp Collecting was a hobby that was once particularly popular with children across the world.Today’s youth tend to collect and trade soccer and cartoon hero cards. But for most of the 20th century, stamp collecting was probably the most popular hobby for children in Europe and America. Stamp swapping through the medium of international clubs connected people from so many nations. The pastime had a high educational value. For by viewing the images portrayed on stamps, collectors had a unique opportunity to become aware of the geography, history, biodiversity, politics and culture associated with far-distant places that, in the period before cheap international travel, they would probably never have had an opportunity to visit in their lifetimes.

By studying the differences in these stamp images as they changed over many decades, collectors also became acutely aware of how the status and values of countries could radically alter when for instance an African colony became independent. Or when once seemingly invincible empires such as that of the Habsburg or Russia broke up into numerous small nation states. Obviously the importance of stamps has declined internationally in modern times as traditional letter posting is being dramatically reduced by email and digital technology. But stamp collection is still a very interesting and intriguing endeavour as moscountries still produced annually a wide range of thematic stamps.At Wednesday's get-together, we will have on display a highly valuabl
e selection of vintage selections from the mid-nineteenth century when stamps were first produced as well as specialised collections on technology and wildlife.
Doug Foxvog, one of Ireland’s leading stamp collectors, will also be present. So anyone interested in reviving this almost lost hobby should attend. If possible, we would ask people to bring along their old albums, no matter how small, and be prepared to haggle, swap and trade! Further information can be obtained by emailing at

St. Patrick & St. Paddy's Day Festival -Not Irish After All!!

Great swathes of the world turn green on March 17th as people anywhere that have some ancestral roots to the Emerald Isle nosily celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the great festival of the Irish.

Yet, as with St. Patrick himself, so many of the traditions associated with our national holiday owe their existence to people and places far beyond our green shamrock shores.

Click here to find out more about this startling revelation from one of my previous articles!

For instance....
Famous Ballad 'Dirty Old Town' - Not an Irish Song!

Dirty Old Town is a song synonymous with Irish Pub Ballads, with most people believing that its title refers to Dublin.
Actually, it was written by Ewan MacColl, an Englishman of Scottish ancestry, about the grimy old industrial town of Salford near Manchester!
Click here to hear Pogues' brilliant version of Dirty Old Town.

Ireland's Forty Shades of Green - Invented by an American Rock 'n' Roller!

Forty Shades of Green has all the hallmarks of a story penned by an Irish emigrant fondly reminiscing about memories of the lover, the landscapes and the people that he left behind in rural Ireland.
In fact it was written by the Man in Black- Johnny Cash, the legendary American Rock 'n' Roll & Country star.  Every line in the song feels like part of an authentic television documentary on Ireland. So I have nothing but admiration for the man who could write such beautiful emotional lyrics about a country that was not his own. Who cares if it is sentimental. As an emigrant myself in times gone past, I can empathise with the feelings expressed.
Click here to hear a fine version song by his daughter Rosanne Cash