A Successful Start to the Main Week of Bealtaine

The first full day of the Festival was a great success.

Monday was jam-packed with events and activities and marked the first full day of the Bealtaine Festival of Outdoor Science. Eric Dempsey started the day with two fantastic talks on the Wonderful World of Feathers for primary school students in the Waterford IT auditorium. Eric’s talks were full of interesting facts about native Irish birds.  Did you know that after leaving the nest, a swift flies to South Africa and spends the first three years of its life flying non- stop with out landing?  Eric showed us a barn owls wing and demonstrated how the barn owl’s feathers let it swoop down on its prey without making a sound. This is the seventh year that Eric has presented at the Festival and his talks get better every year.

Students from Waterford and Wexford travelled to JFK Arboretum for a guided forest and nature trail with Dr Nick McCarthy who talked about the habitats and Irish mythology of the different plant species.

Dr Colm McCarthy from Spellman University and a group of students in Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford had fun with Fibonacci numbers in nature.  Colm entertained the students during his talk  with observations about maths in nature and some card tricks. Colm then headed to Clonmel to give a workshop about measuring trees and rivers without actually getting your hands on them.

Later Colm and Dr Sheila Donegan gave an interview on WLRfm’s Ian Noctor programme about Colm’s work and the Bealtaine festival.

In the afternoon, there was a guided walk of some of the woodland area at the Waterford IT Carriganore Campus.  Eric Dempsey, along with horticulture and forestry experts from Waterford IT introduced the group to the varied wildlife in the area, from the house matins nesting under the eaves of Carriganore buildings to deadly hemlock growing by the streams.

The day finished with an evening walk around the Trawnamoe region led Sean O’ Connor of the Copper Coast Geopark. The walk turned out to involve a bit of climbing as well, but the effort was more than worth it for the beautiful views of the bay.