The return of the Beatles

YOU could call it the return of The Beatles.

YOU could call it the return of The Beatles.

But this has more to do with the humble Water Beetle than John, Paul, George or Ringo.

An unusual wildlife recording by Naas resident Tom Lawrence reveals the intricate communication between water beetles beneath the water and shows that they are in fact highly intelligent creatures.

Anybody with an interest in how wildlife communicates with each other, ecology or filmmakers will find this a compelling journey into what is the real sound of nature.

Tom, a lecturer in sound and music at Dublin City University who lives at Broadfield View with his wife Angie and children Dan and David, has made numerous recordings of nature in its purest from.

His just released 70 minute CD “Water Beetles of Pollarstown Fen” has been lauded by wildlife experts including Michael Viney of The Irish Times who wrote: “To discover the underwater sounds of the insect world – to realise they exist at all – is a mind blowing event in one’s sharing of nature.”

Mr. Viney compared it with hearing whalesong, the unique sound produced by the sea mammals, for the first time or seeing Earth from space.

Mr. Lawrence made all of the recording at Pollardstown Fen, near Milltown, using specialised recording equipment to produce a unique sound. The fen is home to the springs which

“I also added overhead recordings to give the sound of the water beetles more context and the tracks on the CD also have sounds recorded from deep within the Bog of Allen,” Mr. Lawrence told the Leader.

These Bog of Allen recordings were were recorded at a depth of 30 metres below the bog’s surface over a period of 24 hours which was compressed into one minute.

The result is a genuine and authentic recording of nature.

Water beetles, also known as whirligigs, produce a variety of cliks, chirrupings, buzzes and whines and individual “performances” can go on for many hours.

The CD brings to life a very alien world, an unheard aural environment that breaks with preconceived notions of what underwater life should sound like. No mechanical devices were operating on the Fen during the period that the recordings were made so the CD is not contaminated by any electrical interference.

Other than an occasional overhead aircraft, no other sounds from above the water are present in the recordings.

The 550 acre Pollardstown Fen is one of the last remaining calcium-rich spring-fed post-glacial valley fens in Western Europe and is preserved by the constant flow of water from 40 springs.

The recording features ten individual tracks, many named after local townlands.

The CD is available from the online shop