The Nire Valley Walking Festival based in the heart of the Comeragh Mountains, Waterford, Ireland.

Cinderella and the squirrel.

Ever wonder about Cinderella and the wisdom of wearing glass slippers? We'll more about that later. One of the great natural sights in the Nire Valley at the moment are its red squirrels. Squirrel 1Around October every year the squirrel population in the valley become more visible, they seem to be in a mad hurry to gather stores for the approaching winter. We are luck in the valley that the grey* squirrel has not, yet, invaded the area, but they have been seen at the edge of the valley about two miles west of Ballymacarbry.
The native red squirrel population was wiped out before but the species was reintroduced, one interesting feature of the Irish Red squirrel is the predominance of a white tip on their tail, watch out for it the next time you see one. Mammals in a Sustainable Environment (MISE)
are involved in studying the red squirrels in the Nire Valley and they use special tubes that gather samples of hair from the squirrel that can be used to collect DNA and give us an insight to the squirrel population in the valley.
Squirrel fur was once highly valued as a trim on clothing and this brings us back to Cinderella and her glass slippers. Cinderella is a fairy tale of French origin and in French Squirrel fur was called "vair" another word pronounced the same but spelled different is "vere" meaning glass. So was the tale of Cinderella mistranslated, who knows and there are several sites on the internet where it is debated. But an English word that has a common root with squirrel fur is "variegated". In heraldry squirrel fur is represented by blue and white pattern and is called variegated.

Squirrel 2

PS.* I started this blog ten days ago and in that time I have confirmed the sighting of grey squirrel in the Valley along the Nire Road. One hopes the local gun club can control the numbers.

More information on squirrels and how to spot squirrel activity in your area can be found on the MISE Facebook site.

 Original Blog Comeragh.Squirrel 4

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Nire Valley Walking Festival
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Michael Wall 086 7702544 | Mary Wall 052 6136134 | Ann Kelly 052 6136939