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Devils Bit Scabious, Bobby Bright Buttons or Pincushion Flower.

Its Irish name is ‘Odhrach bhallach’; its Scientific name is ‘Succisa pratensis’, but you may know it as ‘Devil’s Bit Scabious’;

Devils Bit Scabious is a tall plant with rounded purple-blue flowers that resemble a pincushion. It is a close relative of the Teasel family and like its relative, it is a rich and valuable late source of nectar and pollen for insects.

Tortoiseshell butterflies feasting on the nectar of the ‘Devil’s Bit Scabious’ plant.
Picture: G.Willoughby

As Tipperary wildflower and insect expert, Mr John Fogarty, explained to me yesterday; all butterflies love it as indeed do all bees, with same a major food-plant for so many insects, both as adults and larvae, attracted to its pincushion-like head. Indeed, this wildflower is the main larval food-plant of the now seriously threatened Marsh Fritillary butterfly, latter said to prefer where the ‘Devil’s-bit scabious’ plant chooses to grow.

Blue-violet Devil’s Bit Scabious growing on the Double Ditch, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Picture: G. Willoughby.

Blue-violet in colour, this medium sized perennial with deep green, blotchy, oval shaped leaves can be located in marshes and pastures, brightening up areas where it flowers, (in this case on the Great Famine Double Ditch, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary) from June to October. Sadly this plant can be scarce presently in areas where intensive farming in being carried out.

Mr Fogarty points out that the plant’s more common name ‘scabious’ comes from the herb’s traditional usage as a folk medicine to treat scabies, latter a rather itchy skin condition caused by a tiny burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. Legend states that this plant, ‘Devils Bit Scabious’ got its name due to the fact that it has an abruptly truncated, short root which folklore dictates that the Devil bit off in a fit of annoyance, at the medicinal properties of this most attractive plant.

The ‘Devil’s Bit Mountain‘, north of Thurles has no bearing on the plant’s name, but it does confirm that the Devil spent an inordinate amount of time here, over the years, in and around Thurles, with some people claiming that he has actually never vacated the area; and can be seen influencing political outcomes, during years when local and general elections occur.

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Covid-19 Cases On Irish Mainland Number 2,593 Today.

The Department of Health has confirmed a further 1,394 cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland over the past 24 hours.

The number of people in our hospitals with the virus now stands at 321, which is up 6 on the figure we reported yesterday. Of these patients, 58 are in intensive care, down 1 since yesterday.

In Northern Ireland, yet another 1,199 cases of coronavirus were reported over the same time scale. Alas, sadly 8 further coronavirus-related deaths have been reported also in the last 24 hours.

There were 457 patients with Covid-19 in northern hospitals today, with 41 patients in hospital intensive care units; 32 of which were on ventilators.

Meanwhile, current vaccines are sufficiently effective at preventing severe Covid-19, and there is no current need for the general population to be given a third booster dose, according to a report in “The Lancet” journal, published today, even with the threat of Delta. Available studies; the report claims, do not provide credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease, which was and is the primary goal of vaccinations.

World Health Organisation Chief, Mr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on countries to avoid giving out extra Covid jabs until the end of the year.

Vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death.

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Covid-19 Cases On Irish Mainland Today.

Covid-19 Cases Reach 2,377 On Irish Mainland Today.

The Department of Health here in the Republic of Ireland has confirmed 1,346 new cases of Covid-19, over the past 24 hours.

The number of people in our hospitals with the virus today stands at 315, up 4 on yesterday’s figures, while the number of people in our ICUs with the virus is 59, up 1 on yesterday’s figures.

In Northern Ireland, their Department of Health has confirmed 1,031 new cases of coronavirus, down from 1,424 cases reported yesterday.
Sadly, 6 coronavirus-related deaths have also been reported in Northern Ireland over the same period.

According to research led by King’s College London and published in The Lancet weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal; being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 not only cuts the risk of individuals catching Covid-19, but also of any infection turning into long Covid. [Long Covid materialises through symptoms including; tiredness; shortness of breath; joint pain; heart palpitations; chest pain; problems with memory and concentration (“known as brain fog”); changes to taste and smell.]

This ongoing research also indicates that in the minority of people who get Covid and despite having received two jabs, the odds of developing symptoms lasting longer than a month, are cut by some 50%.

Sadly, with deaths now reaching well over 4.5 million worldwide, many of us continue to stubbornly refuse to implement the measures necessary, in our own local communities, in bringing this killer disease to a sudden halt.

Vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death.

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Covid-19 Cases Reach 2,890 On Irish Mainland Today.

The Department of Health has confirmed 1,466 new cases of Covid-19, in the Republic of Ireland, over the past 24 hours.

The number of people in hospital with the virus stands at 311, while the number of people in ICU stands at 58.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, a further 1,424 Covid-19 cases were confirmed within the past 24 hours, with sadly a further 3 deaths recorded over the same period.

The Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Mr Philip Nolan has stated that the incidence rate of Covid-19, while still very high, has decreased over the last fortnight, and the numbers of people in hospital and ICU have stabilised.

Vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death.

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Covid-19 Cases Reach 3,307 Today On Irish Mainland.

The Department of Health have confirmed 1,620 new cases of Covid-19 here in the Republic of Ireland in the past 24 hours.

There are 328 patients currently in our hospital, having tested positive for Covid-19 as of 8:00am this morning. In all 59 of these patients are being treated in intensive care units nationwide, an increase of 5 on yesterdays reported figures.

In Northern Ireland, their Department of Health has confirmed 1,687 new cases in the last 24-hour reporting period. There are 461 Covid-19 patients in northern hospitals this morning, 43 of whom are in intensive care units. Sadly, 6 further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19, have now also been reported over the same period.

Meanwhile, within the 8 Co. Tipperary Local Electoral Areas (LEA’s), over the past 14 day period, between Tuesday August 24th 2021 and Monday September 6th 2021 inc., there have been reported a total of 651 COVID-19 cases; details of which are shown hereunder.

Clonmel: 216; Cashel / Tipperary: 95; Thurles: 93; Carrick-On-Suir: 74; Newport: 54; Nenagh: 49; Cahir: 40, and Roscrea / Templemore: 30.

The Republic’s Minister for Health Mr Stephen Donnelly has stated that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has recommended that booster vaccines be provided to residents of nursing or care homes who are aged 65 and over, as well as anyone aged over 80. Same would be eligible to receive a mRNA vaccine booster dose.

In more positive news; 9 in 10 adults in Ireland have now been fully vaccinated, with over seven million Covid-19 vaccines due to be administered by the end of today.

Vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death.

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