Woodpeckers thriving in Wicklow

Declan Murphy

The launch of the newly published ‘A Life in the Tress’ by Declan Murphy took place at the Glendalough Hotel  on Thursday 28th September at 7.30pm. The book is a personal account of the Great Spotted Woodpecker in Ireland and much of the story takes place in the oak woodlands around Glendalough near where the author lives. An audience of almost 150 people filled the room, leaving many people standing and guests were greeted with two presentations on arrival. A short film showing Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding their young at a nest and also a slideshow showing extracts from the book itself.

Pat Casey TD opened the evening by welcoming John Boorman, Garech de Brun, Minister Andrew Doyle TD, and various public dignitaries to the event. He commented on the fact that Wicklow was well established as a centre of artistic talent, a fact borne out by John Boormans presence there that evening. He introduced Declan Murphy, author of ‘A Life in the Trees’, by welcoming him as ‘the latest addition to Wicklow’s growing community of artists’ and invited him to speak.

Declan then gave an exciting 20 minute presentation which introduced the packed audience to the fascinating and quirky lifestyle of the Great Spotted Woodpecker before inviting John Boorman to speak. The foreword to the book had been written by John Boorman who then explained to the audience that the book was ‘highly visual’ and written as ‘an engaging narrative’. He pointed out that the author had used both artwork and photographs to accompany the graphically vivid narrative and although this was ‘most unusual’ the author had ‘pulled it off very successfully’. He finished by congratulating Declan on an excellent production.

Declan then gave a final short presentation introducing the artists and photographers and presenting examples of their work. Killian Mullarney, a bird artist of world renown,  Flemming Christofferson and Dick Coombes were all present in the audience and Declan concluded the evening by presenting them each with a copy of the book as well as to John Boorman.

‘A Life in the Trees’ by Declan Murphy is available in book shops in Wicklow and Greystones and Blessington and can be ordered online at www.birdwatchireland.ie

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