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The Gathering Ireland 2013 - Doolin Cave

Biodiversity

Biodiversity encompasses all living things – humans, animals, plants, birds, fish and the habitats in which they live.  Globally, biodiversity is being lost due to increasing development, climate change, invasive alien species and the international trade in endangered species.

Our native trees are also an important part of Ireland’s rich natural heritage. Native trees and shrubs are adapted to environmental conditions in Ireland and for that reason grow best here. They tend to benefit a huge range of wildlife as they have been present on the Irish landscape for thousands of years.

For example, oak trees provide food and shelter to over 450 species of insects. Not to mention all the birds, bats, ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi that seek food, shelter on the mighty oak!

Native hedgerows act as a haven for wildlife. They form wildlife corridors that allow animals, big and small, to move through the landscape, while providing much-needed food and shelter.

Hedgerows also provide shelter and screening, improve the scenic appearance of the landscape are part of our historical and cultural heritage and thus help create a sense of place.
Hawthorn Blackthorn Blackthorn Guelder Rose
Honeysuckle Dog Rose Hazel Spindle

A Little Oddity

I came across this piece in a language-learning website. It made me laugh so much I wanted to share it. So although it has nothing at all to do with Doolin Cave, here it is:

The rules of the English language can be confounding. With one grammatical exception after another, idioms that will stump any non-native speaker, and plurals of nouns that that make no rhyme or reason, it’s no wonder that English language learners and native speakers alike stumble from time to time.

The following poem-cum-English lesson was forwarded to me from a friend, who got it from her friend, who got it from their friend. Being on the receiving end of a long chain of ‘shares’, and attempting to give proper credit where it’s due, I’ll refer you to the one web site that I found that attempted to give proper credit for the original author. (That’s about as confusing as the following post.)

Enjoy, and good luck remembering all of these.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in
eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England. We take English for
granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can
work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from
Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers
don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of
them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?

The Nature Trail

We created a Nature Trail at Doolin Cave earlier this year, which is free to cave visitors. The trail takes people to the original cave entrance set in a magical glade.
There are beautiful views of the glacial valley from the hillside and an opportunity to take a relaxing stroll through the peaceful surroundings of Doolin Cave among indigenous woodland plants, trees and wildflower meadows.
We wanted to let visitors encounter some farm animals, e.g., rare breeds of cattle, pygmy goats and Soay and Jacob sheep, ducks and chickens.
The cattle and sheep are rare or heritage breeds that were native to Ireland in the past.  Breeds used in intensive farming are bred to produce lots of milk or meat within confined facilities. Heritage breeds are generally better adapted to withstand disease and survive in harsh environmental conditions. They produce both good milk and good meat. They are typically hardier, healthier, better foragers, and better mothers than their more commercial relatives. These breeds are almost extinct now  so we decided to get some of these breeds to show people what they look like and to help preserve these ancient animals
We are very interested in maintaining the biodiversity of the area and have planted native trees,flowers and hedgerows to attract birds, butterflies and insects.This is a lifetime project that we have just started and we will continue to plant and maintain the trail. If anybody has any ideas on other things we could do to expand the conservation theme of the project, we would be delighted to hear from you. We will keep you posted on progress as we go.

A visit to Doolin Cave is good for your health

The busy summer season has passed at Doolin Cave and we are at a more leisurely, mellow pace as autumn touches the Burren.

Underground , in this beautiful landscape, the Great Stalactite continues to awe and fascinate our visitors.

There were reports recently in the media about the health benefits of taking part in ‘heart- stopping’ or ‘awe inspiring’ experiences.  Studies show that when people are ‘surprised by joy’ at something amazing, particularly in Nature, time stands still and they feel less rushed and hassled. It takes people into the present moment and leaves them calm and happy

Here are some quotes from our visitors at Doolin Cave after seeing the Great Stalactite.

“The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen” Laura, Kildare

Mind Blowing!!” Linda, Offaly

The cave was spectacular, magnificent and sooo cool!!!” Rionna, Scotland

“Excellent display of natural wonder. Honestly was gobsmacked at how impressive the stalactite is” Brendan and Rebecca, Downpatrick

Views of stalactite surprisingly astonishing”. Rock Power!” Tmli, Finland

A privilege to be amongst such beauty” Chris and Clare, Dorset, UK

“It was the superist, duperist tour I was ever on” Ashley (Aged 6), Cork

“Hits you like an apparition” The O’Keefe’s

“It was lethal and EPIC and awesome and AMAZING” Courtney McArdle

Spectacular and beautiful Site. A true Natural Wonder” Laura and Jeffrey, Germany

The common theme amongst all these visitors’ comments is the  wonder they felt at seeing this natural phenomenon.

So we can now say with certainty that a trip to see the Great Stalactite at Doolin Cave is good for the soul!

Links:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/awe-is-good-for-mental-health-study-claims-7965146.html

http://article.wn.com/view/2012/07/23/Aweinspiring_experiences_good_fr_moental_health_Study

http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/aaker/pages/documents/TimeandAwe2012_workingpaper.pdf

Nice Review

Doolin Cave made me to sing: Then sings my soul my Saviour God to thee. How great thou art, how great thou art. I was thrilled. Everyone must visit this place" S Michal, India