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Sat Aug 7, 2021, 06:26 AM

'People think you're an idiot': death metal Irish baron rewilds his estate

Lord Randal Plunkett strides through the hip-high grass of Dunsany, a 650-hectare (1,600-acre) estate in the middle of Ireland, trailed by an invisible swarm of midges and his four jack russell terriers: Tiny, Lumpy, Chow and Beavis & Butt-Head.

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It is probably Ireland’s most ambitious attempt at rewilding on private land, an attempt to recreate a vanished landscape in a swath of County Meath, 20 miles north-west of Dublin.

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He still loves death metal, and sports a ponytail and (fake) leather jacket, but he decided seven years ago to turn over 300 hectares of his estate to nature – no livestock, planting, sowing or weeding.

Some people considered it disgraceful neglect of an estate associated with agricultural innovation, he said. “They just thought I was a complete waster. Decadent, a fool. One farmer said I should be ashamed of myself for destroying the farm.”

Plunkett says vindication has come in multiple forms. Before, the estate had just three types of grass, now it has 23. “I didn’t do it, the birds did.” Trees regenerated and multiplied – oak, ash, beech, Scots pine and black poplar. “I see a lot of saplings growing that I haven’t planted.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/07/people-think-youre-an-idiot-death-metal-irish-baron-rewilds-his-estate

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Reply 'People think you're an idiot': death metal Irish baron rewilds his estate (Original post)
rpannier Aug 2021 OP
Champp Aug 2021 #1
COL Mustard Aug 2021 #2
Celerity Aug 2021 #3
rpannier Aug 2021 #4
Roisin Ni Fiachra Aug 2021 #5
Hekate Aug 2021 #7
northoftheborder Aug 2021 #10
packman Aug 2021 #12
TxGuitar Aug 2021 #13
PatrickforB Aug 2021 #19
hatrack Aug 2021 #6
Hekate Aug 2021 #8
Beringia Aug 2021 #9
OnDoutside Aug 2021 #15
HAB911 Aug 2021 #11
StarryNite Aug 2021 #17
MagickMuffin Aug 2021 #14
StarryNite Aug 2021 #16
PatSeg Aug 2021 #18

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 06:29 AM

1. Lord Plunkett

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 06:34 AM

2. Good For Him!!!

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 07:23 AM

3. Lady Dunsany, his mother, died from covid last year

Lady Dunsany obituary: Colourful, stylish Brazilian architect

Tireless advocate of husband Edward Plunkett’s career as gifted painter, sculptor and designer

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/lady-dunsany-obituary-colourful-stylish-brazilian-architect-1.4230533



Maria Alice de Marsillac Plunkett, Lady Dunsany
Born: January 27th, 1942
Died: April 9th, 2020


The death has taken place from Covid-19 in Navan of Maria Alice de Marsillac Plunkett, Lady Dunsany. The Brazilian architect and designer, affectionately known locally as Lady D, was the widow of the late Edward Plunkett, 20th Lord Dunsany who died in 2011.

Though she claimed ancestry from the Portuguese explorers and navigators Vasco da Gama and Pedro Alvares Cabral, she was born in Rio de Janeiro to parents from two distinguished Brazilian families – the Villela and the Bandeiro de Mello with connections to France, Spain and Portugal. She was the youngest of three children.

Her father Scipiao de Carvalho was a colonel in the Brazilian army who became an architect on retirement and greatly influenced her own subsequent architectural career. He also taught her how to handle a pistol practicing on cacti. Graduating with distinction in architecture from the Federal University of Rio, her early talents were recognised by Oscar Niemeyer who awarded her first prize in an architectural competition.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 07:28 AM

4. Impressive woman

Interesting family

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 07:43 AM

5. Wood you like to know where the trees went?

Following the thaw of the last Ice Age 14,000 years ago, new tree species reached Ireland through wind dispersal methods and via land bridges that once existed between Ireland and Britain. The trees were culled by human activity over many centuries, including such groups as the native Irish, the Normans, and the Celts, for farming and craft purposes. These actions had only a small impact on forest cover, and until the mid-sixteenth century, the country was still choked with impassable forests. This was a problem for the ruling British who saw the woodlands as a considerable obstacle to their military pursuits on the island. In a reverse of the age old lesson of remembering to “never wage war in Russia during winter”, the British army could only travel through forests, tracking Irish rebels from town to town, in winter when the leaves fell from the broadleaves. In fact, there was a popular English proverb used throughout the 17th century that claimed “the Irish will never be tamed while there are leaves on the trees”.

From the British point of view, if they were to ever enact total control over the island, the forests of Ireland had to go. An additional motivator for Irish deforestation were the economic benefits that forestry clearings offered. The bounty of Irish woodlands proved extremely lucrative to the British, and a regrettable “two birds with the one stone” system prevailed. This Irish wood, taken without public consent, was used to furnish the budding of the British Royal Navy who required ships to defend the empire against the Spanish Armada. Buying estates in Ireland became extremely profitable as the price of land could be reimbursed simply through selling the trees which grew on it, while the harsh Penal Laws meant Irish Catholics could not take advantage of Ireland’s natural wealth.

The British preferement of the use of Irish wood stretched long into the following two hundred years. Hardwoods harvested from oaks, ash, and elms are of a high quality and perfect for manufacturing or fuel uses. Interestingly, the fine quality of the wood harvested lead to considerable romanticisation of the timber by some of the ruling elite. On some occasions, it was regarded as possessing almost mystical properties. In the seventeenth century, the roof of Westminster Hall was constructed of wood from trees felled in now extinct forests, which once grew near the Phoenix Park. It was remarked that “no English spider webbeth or breedeth to this day”. Ultimately, the trees were felled with relish, but not replanted with the same fervour. By the end of the eighteenth century, the landscape of the country essentially looked as it does today, largely devoid of the forestry that once earned the name of Emerald Isle.
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Only one quarter of current tree populations are made up of broad-leaved, hard woods such as oak, ash, and elm. Despite their relative scarcity, these trees are still favoured today for fuel use in homes across the country. Their high calorific value means that they have become an in-demand product. Native trees are more beneficial as they better support native wildlife. Their shortage across the country is a massive hindrance to Irish fauna. It is also relevant that inexperienced individuals can plant in tightly packed rows. This prevents sunlight reaching the new forest floor. In actuality a forest never truly forms because the ecosystem that develops lacks any diversity of plant life that would naturally benefit from the falling leaf litter. The result is that the area fails to support any broad plant life. In the public domain, the government body Coillte has been engaging in afforestation and reforestation schemes. These seem to have been only partially successful. Broadleaf planting has not been prioritised as strongly as many experts deem necessary, and the government body has missed annual planting goals several times.

https://trinitynews.ie/2019/02/wood-you-like-to-know-where-the-trees-went/

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Response to Roisin Ni Fiachra (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 08:03 AM

7. Very interesting context. Thank you.

☘️

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Response to Roisin Ni Fiachra (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 09:12 AM

10. Interesting history about Irish forests

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Response to Roisin Ni Fiachra (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 09:28 AM

12. Curious-- Is "wood" a deliberate, clever misspell in your post?

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Response to Roisin Ni Fiachra (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 09:34 AM

13. The British were really a scourge on the planet

But reserved special hatred and vindictiveness for the Irish. Guess they felt they couldn't measure up.

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Response to Roisin Ni Fiachra (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 01:01 PM

19. Honora Keeley Kelly, ca 1890

We wouldn't die, and that annoyed them. They'd spent centuries trying to kill us off, one way or another, and here we were, raising seven, eight, nine of a family on nothing but potatoes and buttermilk. But then the blight destroyed the potato. Three times in four years our only food rotted in the ground. Nothing to eat, the healthy crops sent away to feed England.

We starved. More than a million died - most of them in the West, which is only a quarter of the country, with Ireland itself just half the size of Illinois. A small place to hold so much suffering.

But we didn't all die. Two million of us escaped, one reaching back for the next. Surely one of the great rescues in human history. We saved ourselves, helped only by God and our strong faith. Now look at us. Doing well all over the world. We didn't die.

From Galway Bay, by Mary Pat Kelly


In August of 1649, Oliver Cromwell and his roundheads invaded Ireland and cut a bloody swath across the land. The objective was to give land on the eastern and northern sides of Ireland to British subjects. Parliament even passed a law, called 'The Irish Resettlement Act.' Basically they systematically stole land from the native Irish, and gave it to their own people. When he was asked where the displaced Irish should go, Cromwell replied, "To hell. Or Connaught."

Whoops! The English settlers, the Puritans and Calvinists, took a page from Cromwell's book when they came here to America too. That displacement gig is a recurring theme of the British Empire, and later the American one.

Now, the Irish, and many others, just regular people no matter where they came from, are trying to restore the balance on this planet. Unrestrained population growth, a capitalist economy based on shareholder primacy and profits above all else, the illusion of unlimited growth, industrialism, the Judeo-Christian doctrine dominion over the earth - these are cancers eating away at the future of our species. We are all parts of a great circle of life, and we must address the imbalances humankind has created NOW.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 07:58 AM

6. Cool!

So the fantasy writer would have been his . . . great-grandfather?

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Response to hatrack (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 08:05 AM

8. I caught that as well. -- good question.

Last edited Sat Aug 7, 2021, 08:57 AM - Edit history (1)




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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 08:48 AM

9. I have just read the book Call of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

She talks about how Ireland was covered in forests before the English came and turned the land into agricultural uses.


https://www.irishamericanmom.com/ireland-a-land-of-trees-in-the-time-of-saint-patrick/

“Ireland was once a forest culture, but following the development of agriculture practices, since the 1600’s, the proportion of Irish woodland has now reached an all time low. Unfortunately, Ireland has been almost completely deforested with merely 1% of native woodland left.”







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Response to Beringia (Reply #9)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 10:30 AM

15. The British navy was built from Irish forests.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 09:15 AM

11. The entire world will do that once we are gone

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Response to HAB911 (Reply #11)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 10:37 AM

17. Ain't that the truth.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 10:13 AM

14. We've done that with our yard



We let the birds decide where to plants things. It's kinda nice not having to buy plants and most of the plants the birds give us our drought tolerant which makes is an extra bonus.


WTG Lord Randal Plunkett!

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 10:36 AM

16. I love this.

We could make a good start here in the US by getting cattle and sheep off our public lands.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Aug 7, 2021, 11:02 AM

18. "I didn't do it, the birds did."

And nature tends to do it so much better than humans.

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