Whooper Swans of Fermanagh- My BBC Radio 4 ‘Tweet of the Day’

There was great excitement in our house last Friday morning. I awoke like any other morning, forgetting, and my usual bleary eyed self. I had sat up far too late as usual, reading. Mum had an even bigger smile than usual as we all sat down to have breakfast. ‘Well, do you want to hear it?’ I was confused, ‘Hear what?’ I mumbled. She played two seconds of honking Whooper Swans and I knew instantly what she meant. It was my recording for Tweet of the Day! Every nerve ending screamed inside me as I realised that I would have to listen to my own voice. I was experiencing the sensory overload I felt when making the recording all over again. Listening, the sound was muffled by hands over ears, blanket and knees, all I heard really was the final clapping by my parents and siblings at the end. 

Mum and dad encouraged me to embrace my achievement and try my best to listen to it, I did and I was pleasantly surprised! Not by my voice, but by my words accompanied by the bugling Whoopers, majestically trumpeting. It was really lovely to have a duet ‘with’ them. Their sound really made it wonderful, the producer Maggie Ayre really did a fantastic job editing and adding the atmospheric wild song. 

I smiled, probably a bigger one inwardly and I did feel a swell of pride. Sometimes things work out just like they’re supposed to. Having Autism, my expectations are very high, when someone says something might happen, I think it will, that it should. I feel crushed when things don’t go to plan, you wouldn’t like to see me when that happens.  I’m unrecognisable, I melt down, scream out and close down. Since I started writing this blog, many people have made loose promises to me, they probably made them with not much thought but I took them literally and I waited. It wasn’t their fault, they don’t know ‘how’ I am. It really isn’t their fault. I felt hurt, disappointment and confusion. However, I am really grateful for the opportunities I have been given and to those who support and encourage me. You have no idea how much it helps. 

I have been so surprised by the reaction and response to my Tweet of the Day, people have been so kind. Thank you very much! There is definitely a magic that surrounds these graceful birds, and now that they’re gone, I hope I brought them back for a short time, to reignite a special memory (like my own) or experience. 

I’d like to share my Tweet of the Day on my blog as it’s a really big achievement for me and if I’ve learned anything by writing this blog, it’s acknowledging and capturing moments and this was a special one.


I also did an interview with my local paper on how I overcame obstacles and anxieties to record the programme. I agreed to this because it might just help someone else in the same position. I think it’s really important to raise awareness about the challenges people with Autism (and those who have anxiety, depression and mental health issues – these are also very prevalent in those with Autism/Aspergers) face. 


I also wrote an article last year about Aspergers and Nature. It was for younger readers and so meant as a positive piece (and I could only write 500 words), so I didn’t write about the bullying, the torment, the isolation…the loneliness you feel, having an interest that sadly not many seem to have. If I were living twenty years ago, I probably would have had a rescue menagerie but well, you can’t do that these days. Except for the bats (dad’s licensed) the beetles, the moths… Maybe I’ll write about it more in-depth some day, until then…


Thanks for reading and listening! 
Dara ☺️

Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook

9 Responses

  1. Thank you for this, Dara. You have a real gift for description -not only could I see the swans but the scene in your home while the Tweet was bring broadcast! Looking forward to your next blog.????

  2. Congratulations, Dara. I grew up in Co. Antrim and both my mum and dad instilled a love of nature in their children. I live in London now but it is amazing what you can see in a city back garden.

    1. Thank you! Yes, completely agree, you can make a space for nature wherever you are ☺️ Do you get urban foxes? My mum lived in London and she had them in her garden every day! I was a bit jealous because we rarely see them here. Thanks for getting in touch.
      Dara ☺️

  3. Dara there are lots of foxes, Our house is at the end of the terrace so they use our garden to access lots of other gardens. They have actually made a track to the back wall. I have also see a stag beetle and tiger moths. The thing I was most excited by was a woodpecker as I’d never seen one in Ireland. Oh and we also see bats!

  4. I’m a bit behind on the blog-reading front, to say the least, but, on this, I must say well done you.

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.