Youth Taking Action



A Monaghan branch of the ‘Fridays For Future’ movement has been formed. Fridays For Future is a worldwide movement founded by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist. The aims of the movement are to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, ensure climate justice and equity, and to listen to the best climate science currently available. Local teenager and branch founder, Adam Lambe, tells us more about the establishment of the group in Monaghan and one of its campaigns.



The climate movement has involved over 13 million people worldwide and our neighbour, County
Cavan, has had many strikes. The local group here has had initial meetings over Zoom, and many young people in Monaghan have been keen to get involved. There are members from Ballybay, Clontibret and Emyvale as well as Monaghan town. With the movement being youth focused, there are members from over 5 secondary schools in County Monaghan so far.


With the climate situation being such an emergency, and with many young
people wanting to be a part of change, it was with no hesitation I set this group up to bring young climate activists together! We are eager for more members, so if you would like to get involved please email or message our Instagram page ‘Friday’s For Future Monaghan’.


As one of its first undertakings, the group will be putting its energy behind a local wing of the national campaign ‘Say No To The Mow’. This campaign is a lobbyist plan of action aiming to end the
unnecessary mowing of public places such as roadsides, that have no reason to be mowed, in order to
promote biodiversity and allow wildflowers to flourish for bees and other pollinators and wildlife.

“The truth is that we’ve somehow fallen into a pattern of managing our private and public grass like
golf greens. To humans, a neatly manicured lawn looks tidy, but without being dramatic, to our wildlife it must look a bit like the apocalypse. It would be like us returning to a desolate earth with almost all our food crops wiped out. To change this, we have to move away from what we’ve become
accustomed to. That is always hard. Longer grass is no different, it can jar a little until you get used to
it” [].


One of the beautiful benefits of not mowing lawns at home too is that it’s the best way to encourage wildflowers in your garden and provide a food source for your pollinators. Leave a patch of lawn to its own devices during spring and summer, and the chances are that at least some wildflowers will appear in your new mini-meadow. Left alone, a modest expectation from your turf would be pretty little plants such as daisies, speedwell, self-heal, buttercups, and clovers but less common species such as oxeye daisies, cowslips and even orchids might appear too. Once the grass and flowers have been allowed to grow, the key to maintaining your mini-meadow is through the bare minimum of strategically timed trims. Try to resist mowing until at least the middle of July or even into early September if you can. You could also try mowing different areas at different times and see how your wildflowers respond.


After you’ve cut the grass in late summer, it’s extremely important to remove all the clippings. If you
don’t do this, they will mulch down and fertilise the ground, encouraging tough grasses to take over
at the expense of the wildflowers you’re trying to help establish. The other reason is that the grass
clippings could smother germinating wildflower seeds that are trying to get a foothold during late
summer and autumn. It’s best to mow your mini-meadow a few more times until around Christmas,
removing the clippings each time. Then leave it alone and enjoy the flowers through spring and the
following summer. This basic regime of mowing the grass from late summer to the end of the year
mimics the traditional pattern of hay-cutting followed by grazing, to which many meadow flowers are adapted. Try a patch in your garden and see what grows!

Transition Monaghan and Friday’s For Future Monaghan invite you to participate in the
#saynotothemow challenge – take photos of your wildflower patches over the summer, share them to
social media using the hashtag and let’s see how many different wildflower species come to show us
their pretty faces.


Drumlin Nature Watch – by Liam Murtagh

Getting to know Yew and the Irish Yew

We have all been reminded lately that taking a walk among trees is good for our physical and mental
wellbeing. A recent TV programme on the Yew tree (Eo or Iúr in Irish) prompted me to get to know
more about one of our native trees. After Oak, the Yew is the most common tree in place names in
Ireland, as in Maigh Eo (Mayo) and An tIúr (Newry).

In ancient Ireland, the Yew was quite widespread but today this tree, known for its longevity, is mainly found in graveyards and demesnes. Crom Castle in Co. Fermanagh has one around 800 years old. I recall that on the farm where I grew up, we had just one Yew tree and it grew in the middle of a wide hedge and out of the reach of cattle – its leaves and seeds are poisonous to animals and humans. To view a Yew tree near me these days, I headed to Hope Castle, Castleblayney. Just inside the Castle gates is a large Yew (trunk pictured) and another was nestled in a grove to the rear of the Castle (pictured). Its mass of needle-like leaves was casting a dense shade that restricts undergrowth.







The dense shade under Yew trees meant that in pre-Christian
days, a Yew grove was an ideal place for open-air rituals and
probably explains why the Yew is regarded as a sacred tree. In a
later era, Christians used these places to build churches. This
association still continues. I saw a number of Yew trees in the
graveyard adjoining the First Castleblayney Presbyterian Church
(one pictured).

A mutation of the Yew was found in two seedlings in Co Fermanagh in 1767. These specimens had a
more upright shape than is usually found in yews and these became known as ‘Irish Yews’. One of these original Irish Yews still stands in the Florence Court demesne, Enniskillen. Cuttings from it has
led to millions of ‘Irish Yew’ ornamental trees being planted worldwide.

Yew timber is incredibly strong and durable. It has been used to make long bows and tool handles. The Yew bowl (pictured) was turned by Paddy Quigley, Tallanstown. The foliage of the Yew tree, which is poisonous, has been harvested to extract certain anti-cancer compounds. To propagate the Yew, the best option is to take cuttings. Propagating from seed can take a few years but the seeds that are eaten by birds and ‘pass through’ them are the ones most likely to germinate!

The 10-part TV series Crainn na hEireann is currently being broadcast on RTE 2. The full series is
available to watch back on



Staying Connected @ Home

Tidy Towns Spring Clean: Monaghan Tidy Towns group will be doing a Spring Clean on Saturday, 13
June. Meet at Diamond Car Park at 11am.

Principles of Soil Health for Horticulture (Online): Due to popular demand, NOTS are delighted to
confirm Part 2 of Principles of Soil Health for Horticulture (Online) with Niels Corfield. This will run
over two consecutive Tuesday mornings on June 9th and 16th, see for more details.

Saving energy and using renewables: SEAI have recently launched SEAI Academy, a free online energy training resource aimed at employers and employees. See Support under the SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities Programme is also available for communities involved in energy initiatives. For details contact SEC County Mentor, Liam Murtagh on 086 8130296.

Are you a reader of the column? Do you have something to say? Is there a particular
subject you would like to hear more about? Do you want to submit an article?
Contact us by texting 086 830 3392, even if it’s just to say hello!


“Flowers are the music of the ground. From Earth’s lips, spoken without sound.”

[Edwin Curran]


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