IRISH STOAT


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SPECIES OF THE WEEK

Irish Stoat

Mustela erminea hibernica
Easóg

The Irish stoat is widespread throughout Ireland and is a distinct sub-species confined to Ireland and the Isle of Man. They are often mistakenly called weasels in rural areas, but weasels are not found in Ireland.

The main difference in the Irish stoat is the dividing line between the chestnut-brown fur and the cream underside, which is usually irregular, and the hair on the upper lip is brown in the Irish stoat, also there is no white edge on the ear. The tip of the tail is always black. They do not normally become white (Ermine) in winter, due to our climate and lack of sitting snow.

Irish stoats have long thin cylindrical bodies and short legs. Males are larger than females with the average adult male measuring up to 40cm for the head and body while the females are shorter measuring up to 30cm. Stoats have long slender tails in proportion to their bodies which have a distinctive black tip at the end, males grow slightly longer tails than females which can measure up to 14cm in length. Adult males weigh up to 400 grams with females being much lighter weighing on average 200 grams. Unusually for mammals there is a noticeable difference in the size of the Irish population of stoats with individuals in the south being bigger and heavier than those found in more northern areas. Stoats have excellent vision and largely hunt by sight, their senses of smell and hearing are also well developed. They are good climbers, can swim well if required and able to run quite fast for short distances using a bounding stride interrupted to stand upright on their hind legs to survey the area.

They can be found in woodlands, hedgerows, marsh, heather, lowland farms, moorland, coastal areas and mountains. They prefer open woodlands and rocky scrub covered areas, on agricultural lands they would be near stone walls, ditches or hedgerows.

Irish stoats are skilled hunters they generally prey on rodents, birds, rabbits and insects. Male stoats will stalk and kill prey much larger than themselves, while females concentrate on smaller mammals like shrews, mice and rats. A single strong bite to the back of the neck is the favored method of attack for stoats. While they are largely carnivorous they will supplement their diets with berries and fruits depending on availability. While above ground stoats use their eyesight to locate prey such as birds, reptiles and voles while they use their sense of smell if hunting rabbits or rats below ground. Stoats are good climbers and will eat bird’s eggs from the nest, and as competent swimmers they can hunt fish in slow moving rivers.

The main breeding season for the Irish stoat begins in May and ends in July. An unusual adaptation for small mammals sees a long delay between mating and when gestation begins, this is done to ensure that the young are born the following year in early summer to avail of better conditions and food supply. Irish stoats produce one litter per year with each litter of five to twelve young known as kits. When born they are blind, deaf and have a light covering of fluffy white fur weighing only 4 grams. They are totally dependent on their mother and are fully weaned after five weeks. Rapid growth will see the young stoats becoming fully independent after twelve weeks by which time their mothers will have taught them several hunting techniques which they will need when establishing their own territories. Another unusual reproductive trait of the Irish stoat is that some female kits can become sexually mature after only a few weeks, if mating occurs with an adult male then the young stoat can become pregnant while still being weaned by her mother although the delayed gestation period of stoats means she will not give birth until the following year once she sets up her own territory.

The Animal Ecology & Conservation Group, NUIG, with the support of The Vincent Wildlife Trust, are carrying out a nationwide study of the Irish stoat. If you have any information on the Irish stoat, especially sightings, please fill in our online survey form at:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10UyAoo4jQH7553_P3KLvbDN_eisWQ2R0njnr_qHRF9k/viewform

Photo by Carrie Crowley

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just a little note to say thank you for following my blog and for looking and sharing things hope to keep it more updated and with new and exciting things from all over the world all the best

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Spin up Three Rock with TeamAwesome


Ok so yesterday all the lads got together as two of our team members are home from canada british columbia. We start at a point in dublin called taylors three rock its a  pub but has parking and is a free..
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Turns out 9 of us were there so it was going to be an epic spin.we set off all at our own pace on college road its a short 1km ride to get to our first climb. Once done we start a long gruelling cat 3 climb offroad up kilmashogue its 3.4-3.6km oh up hill indurance riding whats needed is big lungs and strong legs which i have neither hahaha. Once up the top we all regrouped and set off onto another climb its the bottom of a trail called ninja express way this will then lead us onto our final ascent to the top of fairycastle…
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At the top of fairycastle we again regrouped got some oxygen to the lungs and powered on like soldiers onto a trail called boggy descent.. Its self explanitory from the name but once the bog gets wet its a mucky wet trail of carnage… Even still its an awesome track.after that we rode a small bit of metro 1 and cut into another trail here i had a few over the bars moments but finally a deep rut chucked me over the bars… The ground was soft so it wasnt all that bad…

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Here is a pic of our team awesome member that has come home from canada and came out for a spin with us togged out in his steadcycles gear and using a full suss rocky mountain bike.

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Here is a pic of an amazing view of dublin with the light fading over the city. It was one of the best spins i have been on in a while.

Barney McKenna, last of original Dubliners, dies r.i.p


DUBLIN (AP) — “Banjo” Barney McKenna, the last original member of the Irish folk band The Dubliners, died Thursday while having a morning cup of tea with a friend. He was 72 and had just marked his 50th year with the troupe.

Irish classical guitarist Michael Howard, who was with McKenna when he died, said he was talking with his longtime friend at his kitchen table, when “all of a sudden Barney’s head dropped down to his chest. It looked as if he’d nodded off.” Howard said paramedics over the phone talked him through emergency revival procedures, but McKenna “was pretty much gone.”

“The comfort that I take from it is, he passed away very peacefully sitting at his own breakfast table having a quiet cup of tea and a chat,” Howard said.

“What a lovely way to go,” said McKenna’s Dubliners bandmate for a quarter-century, guitarist and singer Eamonn Campbell.

McKenna was considered the most influential banjo player in Irish folk music. He spent a half-century performing, recording and touring with the band ever since its 1962 creation in the Dublin pub O’Donoghue’s. The other three founders – Ronnie Drew, Ciaran Bourke and Luke Kelly – died in 2008, 1988 and 1984, respectively.

McKenna completed a United Kingdom tour with The Dubliners last month and performed Wednesday night at a Dublin funeral. Howard, who also performed there and drove McKenna home afterward, said his friend performed “absolutely beautifully. When he finished there was a spontaneous, thunderous round of applause in the church.”

Born in Dublin in 1939, McKenna tried to join the Irish army band but was rejected because of bad eyesight. He busked in the streets and pubs of the capital and developed a reputation as an innovative performer on a specially tuned, four-stringed tenor banjo, then a virtually unknown instrument in Ireland that he made an Irish folk favorite.

The gravel-voiced Drew recruited him to Friday night “sessions” – impromptu barside concerts – at O’Donoghue’s, a diminutive pub near the Irish parliament so famously packed that its barmen had to stand on stepstools to take orders. It soon gained a reputation as the country’s top venue for live folk music, with The Dubliners performing alongside such other rising folk stars as The Chieftains and the Fureys.

Many noted how McKenna always made time to help younger musicians learn the art of the tenor banjo, particularly the intricacies of his own strumming and tuning techniques.

“His influence on and generosity to other instrumentalists was immense,” said Irish President Michael D. Higgins, who saw McKenna perform last month in a Dublin cathedral at one of The Dubliners’ many 50th anniversary performances.

Friends and bandmates told anecdote upon anecdote Thursday of the many off-the-wall, comically illogical comments made by McKenna over the years.

“He was like a brother to me,” recalled fiddler John Sheahan, who joined The Dubliners in 1964 and remains in the band today. His favorite Barneyism: calling an optical illusion an “obstacle confusion.”

“He was very droll man and great company. You’d never know what he’d come out with next,” Campbell said. “My favorite song that he sang was `I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day.’ And that was true about Barney.”

His Dutch wife, Joka, died 28 years ago and the couple had no children. He lived alone in the upscale fishing port of Howth and spent spare time tinkering with his boat and fishing on the Irish Sea. He continued to perform, despite suffering from diabetes and a mild stroke.

McKenna is survived by his partner Tina, sister Marie and brother Sean, who is also a top Irish banjo player. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

Three rock dublin mountain biking pics


Ok so i decided to head out on the trail centre in the dublin mountains named three rock. I asked my brother inlaw to come with me to snap a few pics of me riding and jumping heres a few snaps we captured hope you like them…..

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The camera we were using is a cannon 400d with a wide angle lens this was our first time to try taking moving pics a bit more practice and a few closer shots and we’ll get there…