Growing Wild

With Dr Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist

Look out for herb robert, sometimes easily identified by its red stems. In exposed situations especially where water is scarce, the stems and leaves become bright red. The stems have prominent joints where they branch.

Herb robert was valued in folk medicine to stop bleeding and used to cure redwater in cattle. Triangular leaves are divided into lobes - five in upper leaves and three in lower leaves and each lobe is further lobed or toothed. Delicate pink flowers bloom from April to November. Five unnotched petals have lighter pink lines running into the centre of the flower where orange anthers protrude. Herb robert is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

Online pick of the week

Illustrator, Deborah Maguire

In this week’s Meet the Maker, Grace Hanna chats to Deborah Maguire about how she left her career in psychology to pursue illustration and set up her business, in 2017.

Consumer news

Irish consumers do more online shopping now than ever before. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) reports that 78% of us shopped online last year.

While it may seem obvious, it’s essential to know where, and who you are buying from. Many Irish websites have a ‘ie’ domain name. However, any website can buy one so you need to take the time to research the company. When browsing their website, check their ‘contact us’ information. It should give an official email address and phone number you can reach them on.

Check for a security certificate

The websites you visit should have a security certificate. Before paying, look for an ‘s’ after http’ at the start of the URL. Also look to see that there is a padlock symbol in the taskbar of the browser you’re using. This confirms the website is secure.

Beware of fake reviews, which can sometimes be difficult to spot as they may appear to be written by genuine customers. Telltale signs of fake reviews include an unusual number of similar statements or the reviews are written in a way that sounds like a product promotion.

Under consumer law, businesses must ensure their reviews are genuine and cannot pay anyone to submit false or misleading reviews or post false reviews themselves. •

Poetry corner

My Pen and Ink By Paddy Egan, From Rambles in Kilcommock (volume 8)

We elderly folk feel like fools

When we see our kin use high-tech tools

An email seen while we blink

While I resort to pen and ink

Snail mail, they call a handwritten letter

In the job when we had no better

The speed of email just makes me think

While I sit here with pen and ink

We had pencils, chalk and biro too

When deep in thought the tops we’d chew

Markers too in black and pink

While I make my mark with pen and ink

Computers now will keep our accounts

They always show correct amounts

Old bookkeepers used their brains to think

They kept their ledgers with pen and ink

We’ve laptops, iPads and simulators

Mobile phones with calculators

Robots now are geared to think

While I do my sums with pen and ink

Facebook and cyber just baffle me

An address for email,

Those hi-tech gadgets drive me over the brink

While I write this poem in pen and ink

The original handwritten version was written with a nib pen and black swan ink.

Joseph, (age 2) giving the lamb a bottle in Drumnakilly Co Tyrone \ Submitted by Joseph Girvan.

Number of the week

Over 660 additional student places have been provided in medicine, nursing and midwifery, pharmacy, and other key healthcare courses in the academic year 2023/24. This includes over 220 student places across nursing and midwifery and allied health professional courses in Northern Ireland

Quote of the week

I am very honest, everything we do is science-backed and we have thousands of anecdotal testimonials from people who have started eating our bread and now their digestive issues have been sorted. Doctors recommend our products to their patients and on a customer level there is huge trust [in us] - Karen O’Donoghue, The Happy Tummy Co.

Read more

Meet the Maker: Deborah Maguire

Bean & Goose: ‘we tell an Irish story with flavour’