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Thurles Getting Closer To Mother Nature

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.”  (St. Matthew, Chapter 6)

Planet earth is the only planet, known to date, that presently supports life of many varieties. The word ‘nature,’ comes from the Latin word, ‘natura,‘ meaning ‘birth,’ and we use this word almost exclusively to refer to earth’s geology and wildlife.

In everyday conversations we often personify nature and its meaning, rightly therefore, as being female, as in Mother Nature renewing life. Our often descriptive reference to nature as ‘Mother Nature,’ therefore must also be considered as the very source and guiding force of our belief that our small planet earth and the life contained thereon, originate from a divine creator.

Regrettably because of Ireland’s current financial situation, many of us, today, are forced to go about our daily lives with thoughts clearly focused on basic day to day survival and Mother Nature is being placed much further down the line, on our daily list of priorities.

However, it takes just one skilled photographer, linked to an area of wetland habitat, latter supported by a group of forward thinking benefactors, who working together remind us of the true beauty that Mother Nature has to offer each and every one of us. The wetland habitat is Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles and the skilled photographer is Eamon Brennan, himself a native of Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Eamon Brennan

Eamon, by occupation, is a photographic printer and photographic technician.  As a long standing member of Thurles Camera Club, Eamon holds a Licentiate from the Irish Photographic Federation (IPF) and is recognised as being in the top three of Irish wildlife portraiture photographers, winning numerous medals, trophies and certificates in both open and closed, local and national competitions. Eamon came in 2nd place, in 2012; in the IPF all Ireland Nature Competition and some of his photographic work this year will represent Ireland in Europe.

Wildlife photography, at the very least demands the temperament and patience of a fisherman, requiring the photographer to remain silent, unseen and unmoving in a hide or other camouflage, for hours at a time, so as to get as close as possible to their intended photographic target, unobserved.  It is this innate ability by Eamon, which makes his wildlife stills and macro pictures so enormously appealing.

Cabragh Wetlands

The Cabragh Wetlands Trust was first registered in 1993 in an effort to save a vast area of wetland habitats from destruction, after the filling-in of the ‘settling pools,’ by the Thurles Sugar Factory following its closure. These lagoons used to be an oasis of wildlife, particularly bird life. The Trust was formed and acquired the land adjacent to the filled-in lagoons to ensure the continuation of this natural resting place, particularly for annual migratory birds.

EU funding for rural development was made available through the Tipperary LEADER programme, allocating a 50% grant on approved expenditures. Over the next couple of years fencing was put in place, ponds were excavated, two bird-hides were built and walkways developed, a car park was laid out and finally a Visitor/Education centre was built. Most of this work was undertaken by a small group of dedicated volunteers.

Benefactors in the past have included: Local People through membership, the North Tipperary County Council, Shannon Development, The Heritage Council, FAS, the Thurles Lions Club, Tipperary Hill Walkers, Lisheen Mining Company.

Day-to-day running expenses are covered through various fund raising activities organised by the membership. This project received national recognition through awards from Henry Ford European Conservation, AIB Better Ireland and the ESB Conservation Volunteers Awards Schemes. Here is one area of natural beauty well worth a visit by those expecting to travel to Tipperary this year.

Our thanks to Eamon Brennan and the Cabragh Wetlands Trust, both of whom allowed us to bring you this short high definition slide show, shown above.

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