The cream candlesticks of horse chestnut blossom hung thickly where saplings once were planted as a weather shield in a monastery garden.
The great chestnuts, along with beeches and occasional oaks, gave a shrouded shelter of calmness to two small avenues of houses pleasantly secluded beneath the leafy canopies.
There was no human activity along a gently curving driveway leading to great cathedral doors of a famous church - firmly shut, by all appearances, in these times of human confinement.
A couple of cyclists and masked exercise walkers passed on pathways and gated links to new apartments and onwards towards a road returning to busier traffic. The tree canopies, however, were busy places for one species of wild bird, of striking livery but with the reputation of what one writer described as that of a "pimproll gangster".
Magpies (Pica pica) from a flourishing colony dropped brazenly to strut and ground-search their domain without any fear of predation and usually take off to hunt the quiet gardens of neighbourhood houses where the only challenges might be grey squirrels, domestic cats or irate householders in desperate bids to protect their bird-feeder songbirds.
There was no support from readers of an earlier mention here of a possible fall in magpie numbers. In fact, the opposite seemed the story from south Munster and onwards and upwards. There have been letters and texts about egg and chick snatching, squirrel confrontation, dawn window-tapping and domestic hen egg damage.
One reader, from a farm in Co Offaly, writes that if hen eggs are not promptly collected they will be smashed by these ruthless operators.
"I hate them with a vengeance," writes the reader, "they should be culled."
Another reader in west Dublin, reports of a magpie's attack on a song thrush and "flying off with it in its beak as a blackbird looked on". He also witnessed an attack on a juvenile squirrel where the animal "took a hit but escaped… but there was another hit on a blue tit which didn't". The reader describes the birds as 'Cackling Morrigans', after the Celtic earth goddess of war-fury and spells!
The most humane way of dealing with a surfeit of magpies is to disrupt their nesting early. This is not easy and may necessitate the use of a ladder and a sturdy pole. The nests are formidable structures, the bowls being of concrete density made from hardened animal faeces.
I have tried such control and I can report that a magpie nest is formidable. Game bird, or gun-club members, regularly deploy various anti-vermin methods some of which involve the use of Larsen traps. (Like lobster pots, the bird is enticed to enter by a lure such as a hen's egg, unable to leave and joined by other magpies (it is hoped!).
There is folklore that the birds are another 'Cromwell's curse' - but this is not so as they arrived in Co Wexford from Wales, following a major storm in the 17th century.
Their numbers may wax and wane but clearly they have had a bad press among householders because of their ruthless attacks on garden songbirds.